This year marks the 100 year anniversary of Franz Kafka’s Metamorphosis

by Meredith

Kafka’s classic novel details the agony of a man who awakens one morning to discover he has transformed into an insect and finds himself gradually alienated and ultimately despised by his loved ones.  I’ve always felt this novel works on two levels, both as a meditation in existentialism and as a gut-churning horror story.  In honor of Kafka’s achievement, reread the original Metamorphosis, available (for now) here at the Mary Jacobs Library, or check out my top picks for similar reads, depending which experience you are looking for:

pic crime and punishment pic horns pic no exit

pic warm bodies pic jekyll and hydepic stranger

For a taste of existentialism, check out:

The Stranger by Albert Camus

If you are of my generation, you learned about this one from The Cure’s 1980 hit.  What can I say about The Stranger? Nothing. Nothing matters…

Crime and Punishment by Fyodor Dostoyevsky

Clear your weekend plans before delving into this notoriously lengthy novel.  In my opinion, every exquisite word is worth it.

No Exit by Jean-Paul Sartre

This is a play, not a novel, so a performance is preferred.  If you can’t go see it, give it a read.  This play is the source of one of my favorite literary quotes “Hell is other people”.

For page turning tales of horrific transformations, check out:

Horns by Joe Hill

Joe Hill is the son of Stephen King (yes, that Stephen King) and a fine novelist in his own right.  The tortured main protagonist awakens with a pair of horns growing out of his forehead and some peculiar new abilities to go with them.

The Strange Case of Dr. Jekyll and Mr. Hyde by Robert Louis Stevenson

Short and sweet meditation on the duality of man and the nature of good and evil. Dr.  Jekyll goes to great lengths to purge himself of sin and, in so doing, creates his alter ego, Hyde.  The reader is left to determine which monster is worse, Jekyll or Hyde.

Warm Bodies : a novel by Isaac Marion

For a lighter read, check out Warm Bodies, a quirky, offbeat love story told from the perspective of a zombie.  Marion gives us a protagonist that is amusing, yet heartbreaking.

What we’re reading!

factory man

Meredith is reading Factory man : how one furniture maker battled offshoring, stayed local– and helped save an American town by Beth Macy. The discussion meets on May 28 2015 at 7:00pm.


Cynthia is reading The Museum of Extraordinary Things by Alice Hoffman.  The discussion meets on June 2 2015 at 7:00 pm.  Bring your needle work– this group likes to knit, crochet, and craft while they talk!