Big Read, BYU-Idaho’s faculty and students book club, meets twice a semester and tries to encourage people to not just read classics but fiction in general.

“An enthusiastic engagement with fiction not only makes people smarter, wiser, more empathetic but it can also stave off the effects of old age and geriatric senility,” said Darin Merrill, the lead of this semester’s Big Read.

Frankenstein, by Mary Shelly, was first published in 1818 and has been deemed a classic since. Many of the attendants had already read and enjoyed the book so a lot of the presentation was pointed to discussing the background of the book, how the author’s life influenced the book and what culture it was written into.

“It’s a really honest exploration of the human condition,” said Emma Yukish, a junior studying history education. “It gets really interesting and just how Mary Shelly weaves that into a ghost story.”

After the presentation, the meeting was opened up to questions and discussions which had to be cut short as time ran out. Many different themes and lessons were discussed and pulled from the book.

“There is no downside to reading fiction,” Merrill said. “Fiction is not a dangerous thing. Jesus himself taught with fiction in the form of parables. People who fear fiction, they’re fearing something that shouldn’t be scary.”