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The Arden editions have great notes, and I really like Isaac Asimov's reference volume - an excellent companion. Twelfth Night is a lot of fun. Use any and all forms to encourage your pleasure - nothing is cheating. If your library has any, old LPs of the plays while you're reading the texts can be a lot of fun. I also think that Macbeth, Henry IV part I, and Hamlet are all accessible plays along with the one you chose.


To add to Ted's comment, I also recommend Midsummer Night's Dream and As You Like It. My twelfth grade English teacher played the LPs of the plays while we were perusing the texts in class and not only that was fun, but hearing Shakespeare out loud helped understand the texts.


Try Sparks Notes online for Shakespeare...
I'm embarrased to admit I used this site a lot in university when I didn't have enough time to read a play...the website is so good i was even able to write a paper on a play that I still have never read! LOL!
Good luck!!!


Love the sound of this! Might do a little of this myself. Spent the day reorganizing books and came upon my Riverside Shakespeare. I am thinking comedies to start. Dangerous to read your blog!

Kristen M.

I'm in on the read. Let me know when we are starting! I need to re-read a lot of the Shakespeare that I haven't picked up since high school and college.


I've pretty well given up on reading Shakespeare, but I do volunteer at the Shakespeare Theatre Company in Washington DC and get to see the plays for free. (They did 12th Night this year, and it was fabulous.) I find watching the plays to be more enjoyable than reading them, but I still feel like I need a guide when it's a play I don't know at all. Shakespeare After All looks like it could be just the thing, actually.


Ted--I'll look for the Arden editions. I try and compare them when I'm in the bookstore, so am open to suggestions! When it comes to Shakespeare I'm open to any helpful resource to makes things clear! I thought Twelfth Night looked like fun, but I want to read a few others as well (Macbeth is definitely on the list), and will check out the ones you mention. Oh, and thanks for the reminder about Asimov--someone mentioned him the first time I tried this!!
Matt--I like the idea of listening while reading or listening after reading--I must try that! I wonder if my library has a recording of Twelfth Night! Midsummer Night's Dream is one of the two (only two!) plays that I've read and I enjoyed that one a lot, too.
Bex--I think I used them when I first started reading Shakespeare--I still want to read the plays, but I'm more than willing to use additional tools to understand. And thankfully this is for my own pleasure, so I don't have to write a paper later! :)
Frances--I let this go too long! Twelfth Night is a comedy by the way.... :)
Kristen--Wonderful! I think I'd like to start this weekend, on Sunday. I'm always at a loss on Sundays this year, since I'm not reading short stories every week. It might be fun to try and get in a little weekly Shakespeare. I'm in no rush--as I'd like to watch the plays as well that I read or maybe read other books that are reinterpretations. It will be a fun project if I can stick with it! What do you think?
Teresa--Reading the plays is really hard, but I know I won't get it just watching unless I try and work my way through the written play first. You're very lucky to be able to volunteer and see the plays for free! And the Garber book is great!


Before blogging I don't think I had too many reading plans but now seeing everyone come up with personal reading plans sparks an interest in me too so according to me, I'm planning to read more classics and short stories this year :)

I think you've got a wonderful project ahead of you and will look forward to your progress on it. I haven't read any Shakespeare since my university days!

Laminated Fragments

I love Twelfth Night; it is one of my favorites by Shakespeare. I would say the tragedies are the best, and I have to also admit that I like to watch the movies first so when I am reading through I already have an idea of what's going on.


Iliana--I'm the same, blogging has given me all sorts of ideas of what I want to accomplish with my reading. The nice thing about personal plans (rather than challenges) is you can change them or suspend them at will! Good luck reading more classics and short stories (I'd like to do both as well).
Laminated Fragments--I never know whether it's better to watch first or read. Maybe I'll just experiment this year and see what works for me. I've wanted to read Twefth Night for ages, and hopefully I can read a variety and figure out what I like best as well! I've only read two plays since I was in high school, which was a little longer than I care to admit.

Kristen M.

Sunday would be great for Shakespeare! I'll start Twelfth Night this weekend too. How long is it? I'll have to dig out my volumes.

Dorothy W.

The Shakespeare plan really does sound great, and I don't think it's a problem to miss a year! It's cool to have projects that are, well, very long term -- nothing wrong with that :) I wouldn't mind reading more Shakespeare, but I don't think now is the time.


Kristen--I probably won't get more than the introduction read on Sunday, but I am in no rush! I have the Folger Shakespeare Library paperback of it. It has 222 pages in total, but the play is about 182 pages--though the play is on the right side and the notes on the left, so I guess about 90-ish pages for the play. There are five acts. I'm really looking forward to this now.
Dorothy--That's the nice thing about reading at your own pace--picking up and setting things down depending on interest and time! I think to really read Shakespeare it does take a long time (well, for me it will--LOL). You sound pretty busy with teaching and training and your other reading at the moment--he'll be there when you feel like reading him!

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