Speaking Volumes: Seeking a creature feature? Here are some monster reads for Halloween

All Hallow’s eve is nearly here, when beasts and goblins roam the night.

While you curl up near the door and wait for masked creatures to collect their weight in candy, get into the monster mood by checking out any of these titles from the Manatee County libraries.

But which monster to choose from?

Take the patched-together creation, a man made from many men thanks to one mad, infamous scientist. The one and only, Frankenstein’s monster! Mary Shelley created this creature in 1818 and he continues to haunt our visions of science gone too far, while also demanding our sympathy.

Aside from watching the 1931 film or reading the original story, you could read “Making the Monster: The Science Behind Mary Shelley’s Frankenstein” by Kathryn Harkup, which follows the scientific history of the era as well as circumstances around which Shelley wrote the novel.

If you want a fictional story inspired by this creature, read the young adult novel “The Dark Descent of Elizabeth Frankenstein” by Kiersten White. It follows the perspective of the Frankenstein family foster child Elizabeth (and childhood sweetheart of Victor) but in a dark and delightful way as the events unfold to create the monster.

If you want to explore creatures from the unknown, try none other than that mysterious swamp monster living deep in the South American jungle — “The Creature from the Black Lagoon.”

This green, wet thing sometimes called “Gil-Man” inspired the Oscar award-winning film “The Shape of Water,” written and directed by monster-lover Guillermo del Toro. As del Toro says, “There is beautiful in the grotesque.”

Learn the history about designer of Gil-Man in “The Lady from the Black Lagoon: Hollywood Monsters and the Lost Legacy of Milicent Patrick” by Mallory O’Meara.

The author, a filmmaker herself, went on a deep search to find out more about the monster-maker because her narrative had been buried and forgotten on purpose. The story not only is about Milicent Patrick but also the history of monster films and sexism in the film industry.

One bloodsucking being is a favorite of many — Dracula, and all the vampires that have following in his footsteps.

There are tons of novels inspired by the original Bram Stoker tale and the mythos of vampires he sparked, but one artist who got to play in Stoker’s world was Edward Gorey, who designed the set and costumes of the 1977 revival “Dracula” play.

Gorey was an eccentric man whose art has covered hundreds of books. Read about him in “Born to be Posthumous: the Eccentric Life and Mysterious Genius of Edward Gorey” by Mark Derby.

Like all of the above? Try the novel “The Strange Case of the Alchemist’s Daughter” by Theodora Goss or the nonfiction book “Monster, She Wrote: the Women who Pioneered Horror and Speculative Fiction” by Lisa Kroger.

Both books cover more than one creature or their creators.

For all these and more haunting reads or spooky movie, visit a Manatee County library today.

Call your local branch for more information on available titles.

Central Library — 941-748-5555;

Braden River — 941-727-6079;

Island — 941-778-6341;

Palmetto — 941-722-3333;

Rocky Bluff — 941-723-4821;

South Manatee — 941-755-3892.

You also can access the library via the internet at

Olivia Tooker is a Braden River Library assistant. Speaking Volumes, written by Manatee County Public Library System staff members, is published each Sunday in the Bradenton Herald.

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