Sunday, May 17, 2009

A Shakespearean Summer

photo credit

One of the most influential and renowned authors of all time.

Hundreds of years after being written, Shakespeare's works are still read and adored by millions of people. And with good reason. They provide the basis for modern literature - everything from comedy to tragedy. There's no storyline out there that's not tainted by Shakespeare's influence. Tragic love, selfish rulers, magical and conniving creatures. It's everywhere.

The sad thing is, is that more and more our generation is passing Shakespeare off as too hard to understand, too old, too cliched. My own first foray into his works was just a few weeks ago and then only for school. I just didn't even consider reading Shakespeare an option for me. I thought it was above me.

How wrong I was.

It's perverted. It's hilarious. It's romantic. It's witty. It's great.

I need some more of it. The cool thing is that it's not meant only for the snooty literary types. It's meant for everyone.

And it's now a summer goal of mine. To read some Shakespeare. See what all of the fuss is about.

I think you guys should join me on this little adventure. It wouldn't hurt you. Shakespeare doesn't bite. And you'll get to feel a little more sophisticated and knowledgeable by saying that you've read a few of his works.

So onto the rules.
1. You must read three plays by Shakespeare between June 1st and August 31st. There's a list of all of his stuff toward the bottom of this page.
2. After you've finished reading one, do a post about it on your blog. Link back to this original post in your own post so people can see what it's all a part of.
3. If you don't have a blog, leave your thoughts in the comments of this post so there's some sort of documentation.
4. The Sparknote versions of the plays can count. Because yes, Shakespeare is hard to understand and sometimes we might need a little help along the way. I know that I'll be reading some Sparknotes.
5. Have fun.

And to make this all even better, this challenge has a sponsor! Doesn't that sound official?

spon-sor -noun:
a person who makes a pledge or promise on behalf of another.

Lisa Mantchev is that person. She is making a pledge on your behalf.
Her book, Eyes Like Stars, is coming out on July 7 and is centered around the theater and magic and all sorts of other fabulous things.

All her world’s a stage.

Bertie Shakespeare Smith is not an actress, yet she lives in a theater.
She’s not an orphan, but she has no parents.
She knows every part, but she has no lines of her own.That is, until now.
Enter Stage Right
NATE. Dashing pirate. Will do anything to protect Bertie.
COBWEB, MOTH, MUSTARD SEED, and PEASEBLOSSOM. Four tiny and incredibly annoying fairies. BERTIE’S sidekicks.
ARIEL. Seductive air spirit and Bertie’s weakness. The symbol of impending doom.
BERTIE. Our heroine.
Welcome to the Théâtre Illuminata, where the actors of every play ever written can be found behind the curtain. They were born to play their parts, and are bound to the Théâtre by The Book—an ancient and magical tome of scripts. Bertie is not one of them, but they are her family—and she is about to lose them all and the only home she has ever known.
(Summary from Amazon)

Doesn't that sound delicious? And quite appropriate, no?

Lisa's pledge to you is that if you fully participate in and complete this challenge, you will be entered into a drawing to win
1. a signed hardcover of Eyes Like Stars
2. a fabulous prize, TBD
3. an invitation to do a guest post on the series' website, Théâtre Illuminata.

So...yeah. You should participate. Because not only will you get to read some of the greatest literary works of all time, you might also win some awesome swag from Lisa.

Sign up, spread the word, and enjoy some Shakespeare!

^ a little picture/icon for your use ^

Leave your link to enter!


  1. WTH is that picture?

    And what the heck, I'll join you. To Sparknotes!

  2. O, sure I am, the wits of former days
    To subjects worse have given admiring praise.

    Sounds like a lovely challenge. I bet DailyLit has the plays, too.

  3. I'm in! I'm looking forward to it :) Should I be brave and try new-to-me plays?

  4. Ooh, I think I'll join you in this. :) I've only read two of Shakespeare's plays, Romeo and Juliet and Twelfth Night and both for school- but I really would like to read more. Hopefully this contest will push me to do so! Maybe I can convince Lauren to do so also...

    Great challenge!

    - Alex

  5. You should know that I'm doing a full month of Shakespeare-related posts in June over at my blog, which is decidedly going to include conversations about some of his plays.

  6. Oooh I want to enter :) I've read Romeo and Juliet, Hamlet, and Julius Caesar for school, but I want to read more Shakespeare.

  7. I've officially deemed this a wonderful idea. I haven't read any Shakespeare, and I'm sure it's fantastic. :)

    I'll totally enter, once I manage to start a blog of my own. ;D

  8. Yay! Can't wait.. Have my plays picked out and everything. :)

  9. This will give me a good push this summer! I'm excited to dive into this one. Thanks. :)

  10. Yay! I think I will put my own twist on this and include production plans in my posts. (Like, if I were producing this play, here's what I'd do...)

  11. I'm in.
    I took a Shakespeare Class last Spring so I've recently read a few plays but I'll do 3 more this summer =)

    1. Midsummer Night's Dream
    2. The Taming of the Shrew
    3. Twelfth Night

  12. I'm joining! I've hardly read any Shakespeare before, so I think it'll be fun.

  13. I'll sign up please!

    1) Hamlet
    2) MacBeth
    3) Midsummer Night's Dream

    I tend to like the tragedies moreso, but Midsummer is a favorite of mine as well :)

  14. Ok count me in! I love Shakespeare and wouldn't mind re-reading some


  15. I would love to participate, count me in!

    shelcows AT gmail DOT com

  16. I've read my first play, All's Well That Ends Well. It was super-fun to read. :)

  17. The only play I've read by Shakespear is Romeo and Juliet. I enjoyed that one, so I definitely want to be a part of this!

    My blog is:

  18. Shakespeare and Lisa are my literary heroes! I will MOST DEFINITELY participate in this event! Thank you so much for doing this. It's a great idea to get people reading more Shakespeare.

    My blog is

  19. I love Shakespeare (I can't help it; I'm an English lit major)! I will definitely be participating in this. I think I feel weird writing an actual review for such classic plays, but I'll certainly post my thoughts one way or another. My blog is at: and I'll tag all of my posts related to this.


  20. I'll glady participate! I've been thinking about diving into other (non-school related) Shakespeare plays.

  21. I'm in! After reading Eyes Like Stars I feel like I'm missing out!

  22. I'd like to join in, too, please! :)

  23. I'll join. (I have to read 2 of his plays during summer as homework). :)

  24. over at I Heart Monster. Oh so fun. I heart it!

  25. Ok, my link didn't post for some reason... As You Like it...

  26. I don't really understand the linking bit, so here's the link to my post about The Taming of the Shrew:

    This was a lot of fun! I can't wait to do more :)

    Kristin (email =

  27. Since I'm so good at doing things last minute, even though I read this weeks ago, I didn't get my thoughts up until today. It's my second read, Othello:

    Kristin (

  28. I finished the challenge! I read Macbeth, Hamlet, and A Midsummer Night's Dream. Thanks for hosting it. :)

  29. Finished! with a few hours to spare haha

    So my third and final post was on Much Ado About Nothing :

    Anyway, this was a blast. It was so much fun rereading some Shakespeare plays and introducing myself to new ones. I've even enjoyed looking at other participants' posts! Thanks for hosting this and thanks to Lisa Mantchev for sponsoring!

    Kristin (email =

  30. Fantastic work! The data provided was invaluable. I hope you keep on the good work accomplished. Corona Locksmith


Pour your heart out. :)