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DO give Shakespeare a try. I found that once I got used to reading Shakespeare, hardly anything daunted me, hehee. ^_^ I would highly recommend reading The New Folger Library's editions because they give you an explanation of all the "strange" language of Shakespeare throughout the book; for each page of play there is a page opposite it of helpful explanations! ^_^ Perhaps other versions are like this, I don't know, but anyhow ...
I also found that sometimes reading the play aloud helped me get a better feel of what was happening.
Happy reading.


P.S. Your blog is amazing. ^_^


Two summers ago I read Four Comedies. I was just looking at my copy of Four Tregedies and am thinking about it.

Oh, can you please let me know when you're reading James Joyce, for I share your fear. I've got the book but I have yet to summon enough courage to tackle it. Maybe we can read it together some day. :)


I've no doubt you can tackle Shakespeare! And, hey you can say you read some of the sonnets in honor of national poetry month :)


My favorites are Much Ado About Nothing, A Midsummer Night's Dream, Hamlet, and Macbeth. There are wonderful films of all of these as well, and it is fun to compare them. Shakespeare's use of language is wonderful, and in Hamlet, especially, each time you read it there is more to be gained.


Ashlee--I think if I take it slow, and not try and race through, it will be easier than I think. Other people have also recommended those New Folger Library editions, and in the future I will look for them. I just have a little Bantam classic paperback, but it does have definitions of words at the bottom of the pages, which should be helpful. I have thought about reading it aloud--it sounds so melodious--even if I don't understand all the words. Lately I have watched some movies set in Restoration England (which I realize is a bit later than Shakespeare's time), and the language is so elegant I want to read it and hear it!
Matt--I think the only way I will read Ulysses would be if I read along with someone else!! I'm not sure when I will undertake such a project, but I will definitely let you know! :) I'm not sure I would stick to it otherwise! I say pull out those tragedies!!
Iliana--I might just try and read a sonnet. I think I can find some that have explications along with them. I do need to read something poetic this month!
Jenclair--I have a feeling that Shakespeare should definitely be reread! I am really looking forward to this. I will have to give Much Ado About Nothing a try as well. My library has quite a few of the various performances of Shakespeare's plays. I think it would be fun to read the play and then watch a traditional performance, and then something more modern--a new retelling of the story!

Dorothy W.

That sounds like a great project -- I'm sure you'll enjoy it!


Enjoy reading Shakespeare! Also, I can heartily recommend watching Baz Luhrmann's film version of 'Romeo + Juliet'- I thought it was an excellent interpretation of the play.


I love reading Shakespeare, but it's a different kind of reading process--multi-stepped for me. Reading a play the first time (slowly, for me, because it's a little like reading in a foreign language), then listening to it or watching a version of it (it was written to be heard and seen!), then rereading parts of it or the whole thing again. The more exposure to the play, the more you can feel and enjoy the magic of the language (and understand it better). It IS intimidating at first, but soon becomes a pleasure.


Count me in for Ulysses!!! A reading group such as Isabella put together for Middlemarch and War and Peace last year would be the only way I could even try to read Ulysses, have read the first chapter at least twice, and failed to continue. A great idea! Good luck with The Bard, he's really not so bad once you wade in and start splashing around. I have always found watching the plays live a good way to break in, and films help too. There's just a lot there.


One of the best bits of advice about reading shakespeare i received from my dad - pause just like you would with 'regular' reading - when there is a comma, 'read' the comma, when there is a period, 'read' the period - don't pay attention to the line breaks. He wrote in full, understandable's the line breaks and iambic pentameter that screw people up. Happy reading!


You're going to find that Shakespeare isn't near as hard as you've imagined, Danielle.

(And may I mention that I just ordered tickets to see Hamlet in Washington, DC, in June? Squee!!! My favorite play and I've never seen it performed live before.)


I usually find it easier if I watch a movie adaptation of the play, or the play itself, before actually reading Shakespeare's stuff... It usually gives me a good idea of what's going on, and makes it a bit easier to follow... And there are quite a few good movie adaptations for his stuff.

I hope you enjoy the Shakespeare! :)

Les in NE

I haven't read a lot of Shakespeare, either. However, I would recommend Hamlet as it has so many recognizeable lines that's it's quite fun to read (and then watch the movie - I enjoyed the one with Mel Gibson).


I always avoided Shakespeare, too. I've read a handful of the plays and they really aren't that hard once you get going. I still prefer to see the plays performed. Have you seen Al Pacino's Looking for Richard? That gave me a better appreciation for the Bard. As for Ulysses, I tackled that a few years back. I found an unabridged version on tape and read and listened at the same time. It helped. I also got a guide to reading Ulysses. I think it was called the Bloomsday Book, but I'm not sure. I just went chapter by chapter. I know I only "got" about 1/3 of it. But, I can say I did it. Good luck!


Very insightful blog. You are hitting upon something I have recently been discussing with my reading partner. Our lack of Shakespeare in our curriculum. Of the past 125 books we have read, only two have been Shakespeare stuff.
Yet, he is my favorite "author" really.
Why do we neglect him, to our peril?
Because he is a bit difficult.
One must get in the Time Machine a bit.
I have found the Signet Classics, the cheap little paperbacks to be really the best format to read Willy.
The footnotes at the bottom of each page are JUST ENOUGH... just what you need, to get you through.


Dorothy--I am looking forward to finally reading Shakespeare!
Jess--I just ordered that version of R&J at the library where I work. I plan on watching it and the Olivia Hussey version, too!
Robin--I think rereading the play after watching the film sounds like a good idea. I am still reading the Garber essay, but I did read a bit of the play, and I think it is going to be slow reading for me at first at least.
Citronyella--I think a group for Ulysses would be a good idea! Sometimes I think I work myself up for nothing when it comes to reading some books! Like you say it is a matter of just jumping in and reading!
Courtney--Thanks for the advice. I think I have been trying to read it for some sort of rhyme and that is messing me up! I will try to read the sentences and not just the lines!!
Susan--I think you are right--I tend to build up authors and books sometimes in my mind and they become unapproachable! Lucky you to see Hamlet performed live! I may try and go to Shakespeare in the Green here this summer, too. I'm not sure which plays they are doing, but I don't think it is Hamlet!
Court--I have seen R&J, but not so many of the other plays. There is really an amazing number of film versions of his plays. My library has a pretty good collection, so I should be able to pick and choose as I go.
Les--I do plan on reading Hamlet eventually (I think it is one of the biggies, isn't it?).
TA--I have not seen the Al Pacino movie. I will add it to my Netflix queue! That's something to have read Ulysses. Maybe eventually I will too.
Cip--I have the little paperback and it does have footnotes, so that should be helpful. I actually like the idea of getting into the time machine. I am really in the mood to read about that place and time!! I think it is cool you have a reading partner. You should share a list of the books you have read. That's quite a lot--125!!


Yay, I love projects like this, when it's almost like you're a class of one and the teacher also. And it's so fun to kind of plan out your "curriculum" as you go along. Good luck on your project and I look forward to hearing about it as you go along.


I feel exactly the same as you do about Shakespeare! I did it at school and was thoroughly put off. I've read some since - Romeo and Juliet I enjoyed more as a read than I did as a play - but it's a big hole in my reading too. I'm looking forward to following your project!


Camille--Yes--this sort of project is fun--and I think I will pass on writing any papers! :)
Litlove--Poor Shakespeare has been terribly neglected by me. I just remember King Lear from school (and not the details of the story), and not ever really wanting to pick him up again. I wonder how many other people do the same thing? All of a sudden it is really appealing to me!

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