Tonight you have the chance to get your head screwed on right with Book Buzz at the Carnegie Library of Pittsburgh in Lawrenceville.
This evening's book promises to spark a lively discussion: "Frankenstein."
You might be familiar with Book Buzz because we wrote about it back in September. But just in case you've forgotten, we're happy to dig up a few of the quotes and bring them back to life.
"The goal of Book Buzz is to take a traditional library service -- the book discussion -- and reconfigure it so that it appeals to younger adults, who may not be as connected with the library as they were as children," said Karen Brooks, the library's Lawrenceville branch manager and one of the organizers of Book Buzz.
"We are taking the traditional format, but we're using different types of books. There are no Oprah Book Club picks in Book Buzz. We're trying to do edgier nonfiction. Science fiction, graphic novels, a chef's memoir. And then we're taking those nontraditional books and meeting in nontraditional places.
"The name Book Buzz kind of reflects the fact that we are meeting in places that serve coffee or places that serve alcohol."
Well, not tonight. But in a couple of weeks, Book Buzz will creep down to House of the Dead, the little shop of horrors at the corner of Butler and Main streets, for a discussion of "Feed," one of the more popular zombie books by Mira Grant (Seanan McGuire).
"April is not necessarily a scary month," Ms. Brooks said earlier today. "But we wanted to do the partnership with the House of the Dead. And they're a zombie store. So we wanted to do a contemporary title there. Which is why we picked 'Feed.' And we wanted a classic to pair with that. So we picked 'Frankenstein.'
"But Frankenstein is more than a monster story. It's a look at how you can create life, and the meaning of life and the soul, which works well with zombies, which is what is left after death."
Well, yeah, everybody knows that.
The trouble with "Frankenstein" is that more people are familiar with the movie version than the more complex character in Mary Shelley's classic gothic novel. So how will Ms. Brooks keep Book Buzz from deforming into Movie Buzz?
"With something like this, we start with the book," she said. "We're speaking about themes. So if somebody wants to bring up something from a movie or something else they've read, that's OK, but we do a lot of prep work. Discussion questions, reviews, critical analysis. We're prepared, so if it starts to go off on tangents, we can rein it back in.
"For example, we might discuss how did Frankenstein's relationship with Elizabeth affect his quest to create the friend that he made. The monster. A lot of the retelling of Frankenstein has focused on the monster. But the first third of the book is about Frankenstein's childhood and this girl that his parents adopted, his mother's death, his scholarly pursuits. And then it moves into what he was ultimately doing in his laboratory.
"I'm curious to see how it goes. It's not something that people do in book discussions a lot."
The library is located at 279 Fisk St. in Lawrenceville. The event is free and open to the public.
If you have a suggestion for something to do some evening, let us know about it and we'll see if we can get some of our friends to join you. Contact Dan Majors at email@example.com or 412-263-1456. This story originally appeared in The Pittsburgh Press. To log in or subscribe, go to: http://press.post-gazette.com/