Shakespeare on Goodreads

Holy Trinity Church - The Place of baptism and burial of William Shakepeare
Holy Trinity Church – The place of baptism and burial of William Shakespeare

There is a lot that has been said about William Shakespeare.  Everyone has an opinion on who he was, who he was not, what he wrote etc.   The debate goes on, even after 400 years of his passing in 1616.  Therein lies the true brilliance of literature – the compelling force to continue the conversation.

Goodreads is celebrating Shakespeare Week (August 18 – 23, 2016), which includes quizzes, book lists and an invitation to write a “deleted scene” from one of the Bard’s plays. Shakespeare would be pleased, no doubt.

I first met Shakespeare when I read Macbeth and confess that I had a partiality to the unfortunate Lady Macbeth.

“But screw your courage to the sticking place, and we’ll not fail.”
William Shakespeare, Macbeth

Then came The Taming of the Shrew (wasn’t Elizabeth Taylor magnificent):

“Sit by my side, and let the world slip: we shall ne’er be younger.” 
William Shakespeare, The Taming of the Shrew

Followed thereafter by Hamlet, Romeo & Juliet, Twelve Night, King Lear, Julius Caesar, and Henry V:

“We few. We happy few.
We band of brothers, for he today
That sheds his blood with me
Shall be my brother.”

William Shakespeare, Henry V

Peter Ackroyd’s, Shakespeare, the Biography brought it all together for me.  This is not an easy read, by any stretch of the imagination, but after all, he is writing about William Shakespeare.  My husband, my son and I listened to the audio-book version while driving in the car, which allowed us to integrate knowledge incrementally.  We were taken back to the sixteen century and imagined that we were part of the audience.  Even more exciting, we followed William from his childhood to his final night, when he met with friends for the last celebration before the curtain closed on a life well-lived.

This last quote is one that I embrace as I move forward in my timeline…

“With mirth and laughter let old wrinkles come.”
William Shakespeare, The Merchant of Venice

8 Comments

  1. Ms Frances

    It would seem that no other name in literature has become a household name quite like Shakespeare. Even if a person has not read any of his outstanding classics everyone has heard of him. The audio book of his story sounds very inviting–I must check it out!

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Clanmother

      I think that you would enjoy this book immensely, but it is better to listen rather than read because of the amount of detail. And there is plenty of detail. I admire the ability of writers to complete research on this broad scale. And this author is prolific!!

      Liked by 1 person

  2. cindy knoke

    When, in disgrace with fortune and men’s eyes,
    I all alone beweep my outcast state,
    And trouble deaf heaven with my bootless cries,
    And look upon myself and curse my fate,
    Wishing me like to one more rich in hope,
    Featured like him, like him with friends possessed,
    Desiring this man’s art and that man’s scope,
    With what I most enjoy contented least;
    Yet in these thoughts myself almost despising,
    Haply I think on thee, and then my state,
    (Like to the lark at break of day arising
    From sullen earth) sings hymns at heaven’s gate;
    For thy sweet love remembered such wealth brings
    That then I scorn to change my state with kings.
    Plus there is the “Love is an ever fixed mark….” which the minister read at my wedding.
    There are no adjectives for him. No words worthy.

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Clanmother

      I love that sonnet!!! “For they sweet love remembered….” What a defining moment to know that being loved is far more important than power, wealth, pretige! Cindy – thank you, dear friend for sharing these words. Happy Shakespeare week. You made it even more memorable!

      Liked by 1 person

  3. Liz

    Fabulous! I have not yet used this month’s Audible credit, so I now know which book to get. I had always suspected that Ackroyd’s memoire woul be an interesting read, but had not thought about getting it in audio version. Thanks for the tip! 😀❤️

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Clanmother

      You will enjoy listening to the narrator on this one. I would strongly recommend the audio version – so much easier to integrate, especially if you share the moment with someone else. So many discussions comes out of this book. Shakespeare comes alive as a real person, which is not easy to do given our propensity to view him as a literature god.

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      1. Liz

        I was just searching for this audio book when your comment arrived! Do you have the version narrated by Simon Callow? This seems to be what is on offer via Audible. Callow is one of our finest Shakespearean actors, so I can imagine that having the text read by him would be very satisfying. If not this version, though, which one do you have?

        Liked by 1 person

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