Each year, the Santa Barbara Public Library offers one book title to the community with the hope that everyone will read the same book at the same time. This is designed to spark conversations in the community about the themes of the book and how they relate to readers’ lives.

This year, to celebrate the bicentennial of author Mary Shelley’s Frankenstein: or, The Modern Prometheus, the library is offering her novel and related texts as the Santa Barbara Public Library System’s 17th annual Santa Barbara Read.

The community is invited to kick off Santa Barbara Reads, 6-9 p.m. Friday, Sept. 28, with an all ages after-hours MakeSB! event at the Central Library with music, crafting, and the giveaway of Frankenstein and related books.

Attendees will be able to bring to life their own creations with metal stamping, button-making, and typewriting, while listening to live music from Ezra Michel, Slanted Land, and Luminesse Divina. There will be refreshments and prizes.

Lauded as the first science fiction novel, Shelley’s 1818 classic explores themes such as prejudice, creation, the monstrous, and the ethics of scientific advancement.

In addition to Frankenstein, the 2018 Santa Barbara Reads program will offer free copies of related books for all ages, funded by the Santa Barbara Public Library Foundation.

The books run the gamut of forms and genres including board books, graphic novels, and non-fiction texts and provide several different entry points for readers to delve into Shelley’s life, the science of Frankenstein, and the themes of the novel.

The Santa Barbara Reads keynote event will be at 6:30 p.m. Tuesday, Oct. 23, at the Central Library.

Julie Carlson, UCSB professor of English, and Dr. Janis Caldwell, associate professor of English, will discuss how an unwed teenage mother brought a new writing genre — science fiction — to life and the ways in which her legacy reaches us today. The Central Library will close early at 6 p.m. that day.

The community can continue to celebrate Santa Barbara Reads at 6:30 p.m. Friday, Oct. 26, by attending Frankenstein’s Ghoul Ball and Costume Contest with DJ Orbs.

Prizes for costumes will be given in the categories of Frankenstein-themed and The Romantic Era, with an additional overall Grand Prize winner. Individual and group costumes encouraged.

The over 60 Santa Barbara Reads events being held throughout the community can be seen in the online schedule http://bit.ly/SBReads or pick up an SB Reads booklet at any of the Santa Barbara Public Libraries starting Oct. 1.

Frankenstein and the related texts will be given away at several Santa Barbara Reads events as well as at random bookdrops throughout the community over the course of the month.

— Santa Barbara Public Library.