So this month we are tackling Shakespeare. On January 6, we’ll each have the opportunity to link up and share our thoughts and opinions about Hamlet.
Have you started? I have — just barely, but I think that I may resort to checking out a movie before I read it to help me with the plot and story. Lauren mentioned that she found watching Jane Austen movies aided in reading the unfamiliar language.
Mental Multivitamin (a great books’ blogger who happens to love Shakespeare) wrote a couple of entries about tackling Shakespeare that I came across and bookmarked so that I could share them with you. She agrees with using audio and performance to help as well. Please check them out:
Shakespeare. Yes, Again. And Again. addresses introducing Shakespeare to children, but also understanding it on your own.
Hamlet (oddly appropriate, eh?), in which she gives some quotes and links and recommended references on this work.
I am using Sourcebooks Hamlet, which has been helpful. The text is side by side with notes clarifying the language when necessary (translation from English to English if you will). There are also audio recordings of key scenes — some performed by several different actors.
My favorite part of this guide is the background and history that prefaces the play. When I was in school, I always loved that part of jumping into a new book or author — when the teacher gave us biographical and historical and social information that would help us to better understand the work of literature. This Sourcebooks Hamlet includes relevant information, plus stage renditions and even evaluation of movie versions.
So, some questions to think about as you get ready to report:
- Did you read and/or listen and/or watch Hamlet?
- Was this your first attempt at this play or at Shakespeare in general (outside the confines of a school assignment?
- What did you enjoy or dislike about it?
- What themes resonated with you?
- Were there any resources that helped you understand this play, or that you’ve used with Shakespeare in the past?
- Will you be trying out more Shakespeare in the future?
- If you didn’t finish it, did you learn something anyway?
Whether or not you’re joining us for Shakespeare on January 6, check into our schedule for upcoming months:
February 3: I Know Why the Caged Bird Sings by Maya Angelou
March 3: Les Miserables by Victor Hugo — You are welcome to read all 1488 pages of an unabridged version, or you can check out a “shortened” version such as the one that I ordered, Les Miserables (Enriched Classics). I also ordered Les Miserables (A Stepping Stone Book) which is child-friendly in content and length, and I’m going to try to get Amanda to read along as well.
Next week is a fifth Tuesday, so you can take the quarterly opportunity to tell us that “I Read It!“