The 2023 Orem community read is Frankenstein by Mary Shelley. You can learn more about this yearly community event here. Have you already finished Frankenstein? Congratulations! Whether you loved the book and wanted more, or hated it and wished you had something different but with similar vibes, this list can help you decide what to read after Frankenstein. With Frankenstein retellings, historical information about Mary Shelley and her monster, and more stories written by Shelley, this list has something for every Frankenstein reader looking for a new book to enjoy during this spooky season.
By Sally Thorne
For generations, every Frankenstein has found their true love and equal, unlocking lifetimes of blissful wedded adventure. Clever, pretty (and odd) Angelika Frankenstein has run out of suitors and fears she may become the exception to this family rule. When assisting in her brother Victor’s ground-breaking experiment to bring a reassembled man back to life, she realizes that having an agreeable gentleman convalescing in the guest suite might be a chance to let a man get to know the real her. For the first time, Angelika embarks upon a project that is all her own.
But when her handsome scientific miracle sits up on the lab table, her hopes for an instant romantic connection are thrown into disarray. Her resurrected beau (named Will for the moment) has total amnesia and is solely focused on uncovering his true identity. Trying to ignore their heart-pounding chemistry, Angelika reluctantly joins the investigation into his past, hoping it will bring them closer. But when a second suitor emerges to aid their quest, Angelika wonders if she was too hasty inventing a solution. Perhaps fate is not something that can be influenced in a laboratory?
By Hilary Bailey
In this chilling sequel to Mary Shelley’s famous tale, Hilary Bailey imagines what might have happened if Frankenstein had created a female companion for his monster. The story begins in 1826 when a wealthy, young man by the name of Jonathan Goodall is introduced to Dr. Frankenstein, now living in London with a wife and small child. Jonathan soon becomes Frankenstein’s helper and friend, but when Frankenstein’s wife and child are brutally murdered, he becomes entangled in a horrific unfolding of events.
Hilary Bailey’s gothic prose is constructed with uncanny fidelity to Shelley’s original style as she describes the frightful consequences of Victor Frankenstein’s tampering with the laws of nature. Also included is a foreword by the author that describes how Lord Byron and Mary Shelley each agreed to compete and write “a ghost story” and why Shelley won.
By Addie Tsai
Unwieldy Creatures, a biracial, queer, gender-swapped retelling of Mary Shelley’s classic novel Frankenstein, follows the story of three beings who all navigate life from the margins. Plum, a queer biracial Chinese intern at one of the world’s top embryology labs, runs away from home to openly be with her girlfriend only to be left on her own. Dr. Frank, a queer biracial Indonesian scientist, compromises everything she claims to love in the name of science and ambition when she sets out to procreate without sperm or egg. And Dr. Frank’s nonbinary creation who, after being painstakingly brought into the world, is abandoned due to complications at birth that result from a cruel twist of revenge. Plum struggles to determine the limits of her own ambition when Dr. Frank offers her a chance to assist with her next project. How far will Plum go in the name of scientific advancement, and what is she willing to risk?
By John Kessel
Threatened with destruction unless he fashions a wife for his Creature, Victor Frankenstein travels to England where he meets Mary and Kitty Bennet, the remaining unmarried sisters of the Bennet family from Pride and Prejudice. The awkward Mary hopes that Victor will save her from approaching spinsterhood while wondering what dark secret he is keeping from her. Pride and Prometheus fuses the gothic horror of Mary Shelley with the Regency romance of Jane Austen in an exciting novel that combines two age-old stories in a fresh and startling way.
By C. E. McGill
Mary is the great-niece of Victor Frankenstein. She knows her great uncle disappeared under mysterious circumstances in the Arctic, but she doesn’t know why or how. The 1850s are a time of discovery, and London is ablaze with the latest scientific theories and debates, especially when a spectacular new exhibition of dinosaur sculptures opens at the Crystal Palace. Mary is keen to make her name in this world of science alongside her geologist husband, Henry—but despite her sharp mind and sharper tongue, without wealth and connections their options are limited.
When Mary discovers some old family papers that allude to the shocking truth behind her great-uncle’s past, she thinks she may have found the key to securing her and Henry’s professional and financial future. Their quest takes them to the wilds of Scotland; to Henry’s intriguing but reclusive sister, Maisie; and to a deadly chase with a rival who is out to steal their secret.
By Kris Waldherr
A retelling of Mary Shelley’s gothic novel, Frankenstein, from the point of views of the three women closest to Victor Frankenstein and his monster: his mother, Caroline; fiancée Elizabeth Lavenza; and servant, Justine Moritz, set during the historical events of eighteenth century Switzerland and France.
By John Kessel
After he constructs a corpse from body parts found on the street, Hadi wants the government to prepare a proper burial, but when the corpse goes missing, a series of strange murders occur and Hadi realizes he has created a monster.
By Jeanette Winterson
Lake Geneva, 1816. Nineteen-year-old Mary Shelley is inspired to write a story about a scientist who creates a new life-form. In Brexit Britain, a young transgender doctor called Ry is falling in love with Victor Stein, a celebrated professor leading the public debate around AI and carrying out some experiments of his own in a vast underground network of tunnels. Meanwhile, Ron Lord, just divorced and living with his mom again, is set to make his fortune launching a new generation of sex dolls for lonely men everywhere. Across the Atlantic, in Phoenix, Arizona, a cryogenics facility houses dozens of bodies of men and women who are medically and legally dead … but waiting to return to life. What will happen when homo sapiens is no longer the smartest being on the planet? In fiercely intelligent prose, Jeanette Winterson shows us how much closer we are to that future than we realize. Funny and furious, bold and clear-sighted, Frankissstein is a love story about life itself.
By Stephanie Thornton
1792. As a child, Mary Wollstonecraft longed to disappear during her father’s violent rages. Instead, she transforms herself into the radical author of the landmark volume A Vindication of the Rights of Woman, in which she dares to propose that women are equal to men. From conservative England to the blood-drenched streets of revolutionary France, Mary refuses to bow to society’s conventions and instead supports herself with her pen until an illicit love affair challenges her every belief about romance and marriage. When she gives birth to a daughter and is stricken with childbed fever, Mary fears it will be her many critics who recount her life’s extraordinary odyssey.
1815. The daughter of infamous political philosopher Mary Wollstonecraft, passionate Mary Shelley learned to read by tracing the letters of her mother’s tombstone. As a young woman, she desperately misses her mother’s guidance, especially following her scandalous elopement with dashing poet Percy Shelley. Mary struggles to balance an ever-complicated marriage with motherhood while nursing twin hopes that she might write something of her own one day and also discover the truth of her mother’s unconventional life. Mary’s journey will unlock her mother’s secrets, all while leading to her own destiny as the groundbreaking author of Frankenstein.
More Stories by Mary Shelley
By Mary Shelly
A futuristic story of tragic love and of the gradual extermination of the human race by plague, The Last Man is Mary Shelley’s most important novel after Frankenstein. With intriguing portraits of Percy Bysshe Shelley and Lord Byron, the novel offers a vision of the future that expresses a reaction against Romanticism, and demonstrates the failure of the imagination and of art to redeem the doomed characters.
The Mary Shelley Reader: Containing Frankenstein, Mathilda, Tales and Stories, Essays and Reviews, and Letters
By Mary Shelley
In addition to the original and complete 1818 version of her masterpiece Frankenstein, the book offers a new text of Mary Shelley’s novella Mathilda — an extraordinary tale of incest, guilt, and atonement that was not published until 1959 and has been out of print since then. Also included are seven of Mary Shelley’s short stories that range from gentle satire to fantastic tales of reanimation, diabolical transformation, and immortality. Eight of her essays and reviews are reprinted here for the first time since their original publication, and eleven representative letters help bring to life a remarkable literary and historical figure—author, daughter of William Godwin and Mary Wollstonecraft, and wife of Percy Bysshe Shelley. An illuminating introduction, a chronology, explanatory notes, and a bibliography make The Mary Shelley Reader an indispensable resource for students of English Romantic literature.
Learn about Mary Shelley
By Dorothy Hoobler
One murky night in 1816, on the shores of Lake Geneva, Lord Byron, famed English poet, challenged his friends to a contest: to write a ghost story. The famous result was Mary Shelley’s Frankenstein, a work that has retained its hold on the popular imagination for almost two centuries. Less well-known was the curious Polidori’s contribution: the first vampire novel. And the evening begat a curse, too: Within a few years of Frankenstein’s publication, nearly all of those involved met untimely deaths. Drawing upon letters, rarely tapped archives, and their own magisterial rereading of Frankenstein itself, Dorothy and Thomas Hoobler have crafted a rip-roaring tale of obsession and creation.
The Lady and Her Monsters: A Tale of Dissections, Real-life Dr. Frankensteins, and the Creation of Mary Shelley’s Masterpiece
By Roseanne Montillo
This book blends nineteenth-century science with literary creation to trace the origins of the classic horror story, exploring how Shelley and her contemporaries were intrigued by scientists who were obsessed with the inner workings of the human body.
By Fiona Sampson
We know the facts of Mary Shelley’s life in some detail, but previous books have ignored the real person—what she actually thought and felt and why she did what she did. Sampson pursues Mary Shelley through her turbulent life, and answers the question of how it was that a nineteen-year-old woman came to write a novel so dark, mysterious, anguished, and psychologically astute that it continues to resonate two centuries later.
Written by Taryn P. (Circulation)