Shakespeare – Weeks 1 and 2

Hello again readers!

I know, every time I come post I think, I should post more often.  Then, I don’t….

In any case, I have started my first few weeks of studying Shakespeare!  The plays and sonnets we are going to read are all new to me.  The reading, analysis, and discussion has been really interesting.  I am certainly enjoying it!

Here is what we’ve read so far!

Week 1 – Comedies
A Midsummer Night’s Dream

Can you believe I have never read this comedy?  It was pretty funny.  I enjoyed the whimsical nature of the plot.  It reminded me a lot of Aristophanes and his comedies.  In fact, I learned that Shakespeare was educated using Greek and Roman plays.  I analyzed Act V and discussed the meta-theater of the “Pyramus and Thisbe” play.  All in all, a good play.

The Merchant of Venice

One of our focuses during these five weeks is the comparison between performance and reading the plays.  Our first week we watched a production of The Merchant of Venice as we read along.  I really didn’t care so much for this play.  I felt like the characters were just trying to get the better of each other.  Not my favorite, but certainly another interesting comedy to read.

Week 2 – The Histories
The Tragedy of Richard III

We started our week of history plays with Richard III.  The opening soliloquy was the topic of much discussion.  Shakespeare has Richard open by laying out his entire evil plan.  Shakespeare’s Richard is apparently very deformed, so instead of finding a girlfriend/wife, he wants to manipulate others and work his way to be king.  Now, being a “tragedy”, you can guess what happens.

It dawned on me about halfway through the week that some archaeologists analyzed a skeleton that they think is Richard III.  What I found intriguing is that the osteology shows the person suffered from serious scoliosis, but was not a disfigured as Shakespeare’s Richard.  That led to interesting thoughts and discussion about the literary purpose that Shakespeare had for creating an even more disfigured Richard.

The Life of Henry V

Our read/watch play for this week was The Life of Henry V.  Henry is painted as the “mirror of a Christian king”.  He leads his people into battle in France.  We watched a performance with Lawrence Oliver as Henry.  Again, the second play this week was not one of my favorites.


On the side, I’m reading a hilarious comedic collection of essays called Furiously Happy.  The author, Jenny Lawson, presents a honest, cynical look at her life with anxiety, depression, and a crazy family and loving husband.  If you are interested, you should certainly check it out.  She also has a blog you can read here.

Seriously, read it.  (Warning:  moderate amount of cursing, some possibly triggering portions for those who struggle with self-harm, depression, and other mental illnesses.  However, a great, positive look at the nature of surviving a mental illness!)

Reading Update

I really, really wish that I had more discipline when it came to updating the blog!  Oh well, I’m going to change it now by letting you know what I’ve read in the last three or so weeks!

I have posted reviews/stars on my Goodreads feed, so if you want to know more about these books and what I thought, visit the sidebar to the right!  —>


Novels and “Fun” Reads

I haven’t quite kept up with my Book a Day plan, but I have read some amazing books!

The Devil Wears Prada, by Lauren Weisberger – a deliciously indulgent read and different from the film.  If you liked the movie, read the book!

We Were Liars, by E. Lockhart – a twisted and turning book about a teenage girl and her crazy family.  Read this if you liked The Girl on the Train, Gone Girl, or other psychological explorations/thrillers.

 

Flora and Ulysses:  The Illuminated Adventures, by Kate DiCamillo – follow young Flora, her romance writer mother, crazy neighbor, odd nephew of crazy neighbor, her odd father, and a super squirrel (!) as they embark on some adventures.  Cute and engaging.  Read this if you are ready to step up from graphic novels or illustrated novels like Wimpy Kid, or if you believe in superpowers.

Nine, Ten:  A September 11 Story, by Nora Raleigh Baskin – I’ve never been one to read extensively about the events of that fateful September – neither fiction nor nonfiction.  However, my YA Lit social media was absolutely blowing up with reviews of this work.  I got it on release day (thanks Amazon!) and I was not disappointed.  The book follows four middle school students in the days leading up to the attack.  The book was brilliant, touching, honest, and real.  Enough said!

Order of the Wicked, by Danielle Paige – another prequel installment from the amazingly twisted Oz of Danielle Paige.  I can’t wait for the next novel – or for her new series beginning up soon with Stealing Snow.  Read this if you enjoy twisted tales, revisits of some of your favorite characters, or if you want an intense and amazing read!

 

What Alice Forgot, by Liane Moriarty – imagine waking up 10 years in the future and not remembering anything in between.  That’s what happens to Alice.  Moriarty takes us through Alice’s life in snatched memories of the last 10 years.  A perfect summer read filled with confusion, clarity, and self-discovery.


Well, that’s enough for now.  Check out my Goodreads feed to see the textbooks I read in the last few weeks too!

How is your summer reading going?  Let’s chat!