Thursday, April 23, 2015

Bard on the Blogs || My Love for William Shakespeare

In case you missed it, I'm teaming up with Alyssa of Books Take You Places for Bard on the Blogs! Alyssa and I share a mutual love for William Shakespeare and his work, so we decided it would be an excellent idea to celebrate with a little blog event. I'm so thrilled to have so many wonderful people guest posting on both my blog and Alyssa's blog, so a big thank you goes out to those who volunteered to share with us! (PS - It's the Bard's birthday today!)

To kick things off, I thought it'd be fun to share a little bit about how I fell in love with the works of the Bard when I was 14, and why I love Shakespeare's stuff. As I've mentioned before, the first Shakespeare play I ever read in its entirety was Romeo & Juliet - and it was not for class, but simply for leisure. I struggled with the writing at the start, but once I found my footing, it was all too easy to get swept up in the romance, the feud, and the tragedy. It was unlike anything I'd ever read before - and I was ready for more.

You won't be surprised to learn that the next time I visited a bookstore (National Bookstore was my happy place in those days!), I snagged as many Shakespeare works as I could find. If I recall correctly, I snagged one of those compilations of a few of his plays, as well as Twelfth Night, Much Ado about Nothing, The Tempest and A Midsummer Night's Dream in play form. And from the moment they came home with me, I became a girl obsessed.

I read the compilation first, utterly engaged in particular with Macbeth (which I thought was absolutely fascinating). And then I read the others and fell head over heels in love with Twelfth Night (which I thought was engaging and hilarious). I reread these books (along with Romeo & Juliet) over and over again, always entertained and in love with the stories and the characters.

These days, my Shakespeare reads have dwindled down to fond memories. I haven't actively read a Shakespeare play in ages (and just thinking that makes me want to remedy the fact immediately), but I know that were I to pick up one of them (particularly a personal favorite), I'd easily slip back into the mindset of absolute love I had when I was younger. Here are a couple of reasons that I quite adore the Bard and his work, no matter how much time has passed since I read his stuff. (He's an important author and his works are classics for a reason, y'all!)

  • the writing - I may have struggled with it initially, but really, objectively speaking, Shakespeare's writing is wonderful. Reading Shakespeare is a wholly unique experience because of the words he chooses and how they are strung together. It's got this really appealing musicality, excellent turns of phrase and very poetic descriptions (which is honestly not surprising because he has written some beautiful sonnets too).
  • the characters - Who could forget star-crossed lovers Romeo and Juliet? Or emotional, impulsive Hamlet? The clever, headstrong Viola? The mischievous fairy Puck? Shakespeare has a long list of memorable characters, whether for good reasons or bad.
  • the stories - Shakespeare's plays are often divvied up into tragedies, comedies and those based on actual history. The sheer variety of the plots he offers consumers of his work is astounding, and definitely something to be excited about.
  • the emotions - I giggled at the jokes, swooned at the romance, swore at the frustrating bits and cried at the sad ones. Considering the amount of investment I was lucky enough to have in his plays, I was often emotionally affected when I would read about things happening to characters I cared about (and I definitely recall crying the first time I read Romeo & Juliet).
  • the themes - This, my friends, is why I think Shakespeare's works have stood the test of time. He tackles things like identity, ambition, conflict, fate, love and more, which are all things that people of any society or age can really relate to. 

Just thinking about all the reasons I love Shakespeare makes me want to revisit his plays (and maybe read more of his sonnets) even more than I already did prior to starting this post! He's definitely in possession of a talent that needs to be celebrated, and I really do feel like his works will always stand the test of time. If you've never read Shakespeare before, I highly encourage you to give it a shot; if you have and you're a fan, we can totally chat about his stuff together!

For the duration of the event, Alyssa & I are hosting a giveaway. We're going to be picking TWO WINNERS to pick the SHAKESPEARE RETELLING of their choice. Best part? It's open INTERNATIONALLY (as long as Book Depository ships to your country). For an idea of what retellings you can pick, here's a handy list. You can enter via the Rafflecopter form below:

1 comment:

  1. Totally agree with everything you said here! From his amazing cast of characters to the universal themes we can relate to, he certainly deserves the title of the Greatest Writer in the English Language. My only wish is that more people discover the mysterious power beneath Shakespeare's words!

    ReplyDelete

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