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Vernon R. Alden Library (FILE)

Alden Library to host marathon reading of ‘Frankenstein’

Although the most traditional Athens Halloween festivity, the block party, has ended, students can still participate in other events around campus. 

On Wednesday, Alden Library will hold a reading marathon of the Mary Shelley novel, Frankenstein. This event, otherwise known as “Frankenreads,” will be held from for 12 hours on Alden Library’s fourth floor. According to the website, libraries and various other organizations around the world are hosting similar events to honor the 200th anniversary of the book, including the Library of Congress in Washington D.C. 

Nicole Reynolds, an associate professor of English who organized the event, said it has taken quite some time to make it possible. 

“I started organizing last spring when I first learned about Frankenreads,” Reynolds said in an email. “I approached the Technology and Society Certificate Program about sponsoring the event — they had generously sponsored the screening of Bride of Frankenstein — and I approached Alden Library about hosting. The Women's, Gender, and Sexuality Studies Program is also on board — they're providing the refreshments. I've been recruiting readers since early September.” 

During this event, 62 individuals, including students and staff, will come and read for 10 minutes each, or roughly three pages. 

“Seven OHIO colleges are represented, and at least 9 departments in Arts and Sciences,” Reynolds said in an email. “Alden Library and the Ohio University Press are also represented. And the English undergraduate honor society, Sigma Tau Delta, has filled in the lion's share of the reading slots from 7-9 pm.”  

Reynolds also added that those who come to this event are welcome to wear a costume to celebrate the occasion as well as Halloween.  

“We're also encouraging people to stop by, hang out, grab some food,” she said in an email. “I imagine a lot of people will catch the event on the fly — I like that idea, too, of passersby hearing a bit of the novel when they're least expecting it.” 

Although it is not an annually-occurring event, Frankenreads is a significant event. “Victor Frankenstein’s failings raise crucial questions about the moral and ethical responsibilities of scientists, about the limits of technology, and about the very nature of what it means to be human,” Reynolds said in an email. “I wanted to organize Frankenreads event to call attention to Mary Shelley's extraordinary achievement, and to see OHIO represented in the Frankenreads global network.” 

Kasey Haynes, a senior studying integrated language arts education and English, who will read during the event, has worked with Reynolds to get more people involved in reading for the event, including members of Sigma Tau Delta. Haynes is the president of the organization.

“It is an event put on by one of our amazing faculty members [Dr. Reynolds] and is a way to spread the joy and beauty of Literature to others across campus,” Haynes said in an email. “I definitely think that this is an important event because not only is it a fun event for those who love Frankenstein and Literature to come together and read such a canonical work, but also for others to experience this reading and text for the first time.”

Casey Machenheimer, a senior studying English and another reader for the event, said the event has been advertised well enough that people will stop by, especially because it is a nationwide event.

“I think events like this one open the door a bit wider to people who are interested in literature but might not necessarily be interested in English as a subject,” Machenheimer said in an email. “It shows that people can get excited for literature.” 


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