Thursday, August 30, 2012

Happy Frankenstein Day!

Did you know today was Frankenstein Day?

It's to honor Mary Wollstonecraft Shelley who was born on August 30, 1797.  Considered by many to be well ahead of her time, she wrote Frankenstein aka The Modern Prometheus in 1818.

Short bio? Mary fell in love with one of her father's political followers, Percy Bysse Shelley.  He was married.  She took a trip to France with him and a friend, Claire Clairemont, and when they returned back to England, she was preggers with Percy's baby.  Baby is born prematurely, dies.  Percy and Mary get hitched when Percy's first wife, Harriet commits suicide.  They travel across Europe, even spending a summer with Lord Byron.  Their second and third children die in infancy.  Then the fourth one, Percy Florence lives.  But Percy Sr. doesn't.  He drowns.  Mary takes P. Flo back to England where she focuses on being a mom and her career as an author.  She dies of a brain tumor at age 53.

Read Frankenstein for free at Project Gutenberg

Friday, August 24, 2012

Grahamstown, South Africa Book Scene

You'll have to forgive me.  I haven't posted in a while because I was on a three-week vacay and my pictures went to work with my Monster on accident.  But to make up for it *fingers crossed* I am featuring some photos from Grahamstown, Eastern Cape, South Africa and their book scene.  Yes.  My time away was in South Africa.  And in Colorado, but we'll save the US for another day.

Grahamstown (renamed Makana by the new South African government, but no one calls it that) is what we would call a college town in the US.  College as in University because college and university are not interchangeable there like they are here.  College there is like high school here.  So weird.  Anyway.  Rhodes University makes its home in Grahamstown. We stepped on campus for like a millisecond to take this picture.

The first bookstore I came across was a college bookstore called Fables.  Seeing the sign from down the street, I was excited, but then when I got to the storefront and saw the chalk sign that asked for Organic Chem books, I decided to skip going inside.
But when we came up on Van Schaik Bookstore, with all of its pretty colors and circles, I had to go in.  Mostly, Van Schaik is a college bookstore too.  But it did have a semi-healthy YA section.  Observe:

Yes, there are definitely books there that don't show up in an American YA section, but hey. They've got Paolini, Kate, Anderson, Armstrong, and of course Meyer... so I guess that's the bare bones, right?  Right behind this shelf on the wall is the used section.  I found one YA book there.  Bumped by Megan McCafferty.  I thought that was a kind of odd book to be there, but hey.  Props to HarperTeen, yo.

After we exited (nothing purchased as there were not any books there that I hadn't seen or didn't own), we headed down the other side of the street where we saw the Library for the Blind.  Um.  It's my first time seeing a braille library.  And I think it's super cool.  I didn't go in because it was closed, but I think the sign in braille tells us enough. (That's my niece feeling the braille down there)

So anyway.  That's the book scene in downtown Grahamstown, Eastern Cape, South Africa.  And if you're curious... here are some other pictures of the city...
Clockwise from top left: Standard South African Bank, R.E.T Butler's Pharmacy, Fort Selwyn canon, Downtown Grahamstown storefronts, Space Invaders is everywhere, Wimpy (convenience store), inside Cafe Delizzia, Albany Museum, Cathedral of St Michael and St George (Anglican)

The End.  Thanks for reading.