Love’s Labour Lost By: William Shakespeare Format/Source: eBook
A King and his lords form an austere academy, swearing to have no contact with women for three years. But when the Princess of neighbouring France arrives with her female attendants, their pledge is quickly placed under strain.
Look how pretty the cover of the RSC edition is! This wasn’t the version I read, but I <3 their book covers, I think this is up there as one of my favourites 🙂
Anyways, the reason I decided to pick up this play? This:
Then I read the premise and thought, lol, you know this isn’t going to work 😉 So yeah, decided to read it 🙂
King John By: William Shakespeare Format/Source: eBook
Under the rule of King John. England is forced into war when the French challenge the legitimacy of Johns claim to the throne and determine to install his nephew Arthur in his place. But political principles. hypocritically flaunted. are soon forgotten. as the French and English kings form an alliance based on cynical self-interest. And as the desire to cling to power dominates Englands paranoid and weak-willed king, his country is threatened with disaster.
One of the lesser-known plays by Shakespeare, King John jumped up my to-read list after I had seen a few production photos floating around for the play. I’m curious to see how it plays out, especially as it sounds like there’s been no move to really rehabilitate the play and give it more attention (though there is a production happening right now…I can’t remember if it’s at the Globe or not though).
I may not be hosting or taking part in a re-reading challenge or anything this year, but I am continuing my efforts to re-read a few books I haven’t read in a while or re-read a few books before checking out the latest/last installment in a trilogy or series. There are spoilers for some of the following commentaries, so if you haven’t read the book yet, be sure to click on the link redirecting to my original review (which, if there are major spoilers, will at least be behind a cut) 😉
Utopia By: Thomas More Format/Source: Mass bound paperback; my copy
In Utopia Thomas More painted a fantastical picture of a distant island where society is perfected and people live in harmony, yet its title means ‘no place’, and More’s hugely influential work was ultimately an attack on his own corrupt, dangerous times, and on the failings of humanity.
I read this book some five years ago when it was released as part of the third cycle of Penguin Great Ideas books. I had been meaning to re-read it again for so long and was prompted to pick it up again earlier this year with Wolf Hall airing. Reading this time around I able to appreciate more why the piece was structured the way it was (structured in a dialogue format akin to the Greek philosopers (Plato comes to mind)) and where the element of criticising his own times came in. It’s fantastical, but at the same time you can see where his society and his beliefs influenced much of the constructs that this utopian society contained.
Macbeth By: William Shakespeare Format/Source: Paperback; my purchase
No dramatist has ever seen with more frightening clarity into the heart and mind of a murderer than has Shakespeare in this compelling tragedy of evil. Taunted into asserting his “masculinity” by his ambitious wife, Macbeth chooses to embrace the Weird Sisters’ prophecy and kill his king–and thus, seals his own doom. Fast-moving and bloody, this drama has the extraordinary energy that derives from a brilliant plot replete with treachery and murder, and from Shakespeare’s compelling portrait of the ultimate battle between a mind and its own guilt.
I first read this play back in my final year of high school. Power, murder, and madness is pretty ripe in this play, along with a strong supernatural element int he form of the three witches and prophecies abound. I decided to revisit it again recently; I think I’m slowly working through the plays we studied in high school, haha, but I think it was from reading a review of one of the many Macbeth productions out there that prompted me to pick up the book again.
As You Like It By: William Shakespeare Format/Source: eBook
This wisely funny comedy, which contains some of Shakespeare’s loveliest poetry, contrasts a court’s world of envy and rivalry with a forest’s world of compassion and harmony. In the Forest of Arden, the banished young heroine, Rosalind, disguised as a gentleman farmer, encounters an extraordinary assemblage of characters, including a fool, a malcontent traveler, her own banished father, and the banished young man she loves.
I already told a few people in passing but I seem to not be as into Shakespeare’s comedies compared to his tragedies and histories. I guess it’s partly because of some of the problematic elements of the story that emerges, and because a lot of the jokes go over my head. I noticed that watching some productions have helped me understand the humour in the presentation of some of them, but as I also have a number of comedies left to read, I’m slowly beginning to get a hang of them 😛
So up next in my Shakespeare reading list was As You Like It 🙂 I admit, I was sort of prompted to pick this play up next as I do want to watch the Globe production at some point: