Mary Shelley expert Nancy Holder discusses the complex 200 year history of the novel Frankenstein via Skype with Lincoln Academy’s Books and Brunch participants.

On Wednesday, November 14 more than 30 members of the extended Lincoln Academy community celebrated the 200th anniversary of the original horror novel Frankenstein by Mary Shelley with a Swiss lunch and Skype discussion with Mary Shelley expert Nancy Holder. The lunch and discussion were sponsored by the LA Library as part of Books and Brunch.

According to LA Librarian Cathi Howell, the 200 year-old horror novel was a challenge for many readers, but the program was a success thanks to the speaker’s engaging presentation.

“Nancy Holder was fabulous!” said Howell. “Her depth of knowledge about Mary Shelley was incredible, and she was an extremely engaging speaker. She really drew the students into the conversation about Shelley and Frankenstein. It was particularly interesting to hear how her research behind writing for a comic book series titled ‘Mary Shelley Presents’ led her on an amazing quest to learn all that she could about Shelley, a journey that included a trip to Shelley’s birthplace, acquiring copies of Shelley’s handwritten manuscripts, etc.

“Holder’s admiration for Shelley as a writer and as a strong, intelligent woman who challenged gender roles in her time really rang out in her lively presentation about Shelley. Holder truly brought Mary Shelley to life for all of us!”

Participants included 25 Lincoln Academy students and faculty members, six students from Great Salt Bay School who came with GSB librarian Dawn Greenleaf, and several members of the community who are regular Books and Brunch participants.

Readers asked thoughtful questions of Holder including “What themes from Frankenstein do you think still hold true today?” In her response, Holder encouraged students to be inventive and creative and to follow their dreams but, taking a cue from Frankenstein, ultimately “take responsibility for what you create!”

Books and Brunch meets several times during the school year to discuss books over lunch in the LA library, with the goal of promoting literacy by drawing together students, faculty and staff members, administrators, and community members to talk about books in a casual and supportive environment. Each participant receives a copy of the featured book free of charge, to read and then keep for building a personal collection or to pass on to a friend or family member. Featured books are selected to represent a variety of genres and authors and to entice readers to expand their literary experiences.

Rising Maine author Gillian French will be the featured guest at the next Books and Brunch program in January to discuss her YA novel, Grit. For more information about Books & Brunch, please contact Cathi Howell at