True Confessions of Carla: While I do appreciate an occasional Shakespeare play along with any movie version involving Kenneth Branagh, I most love William Shakespeare when I’m watching 10 THINGS I HATE ABOUT YOU or SHE’S THE MAN.
This is not an impressive confession, but it is the truth.
Fortunately, this Saturday I have an opportunity to improve my understanding and appreciate of Shakespeare’s contributions to our language and culture by participating in an exciting live streaming event. April 23rd is the 400th anniversary of the death of William Shakespeare. To commemorate his amazing contribution to our world C-SPAN will broadcast The Wonder of Will Live. This presentation will include a diverse array of actors, community leaders, artists and scholars all sharing their connection to Shakespeare through compelling performances and personal stories. For the Shakespeare enthusiast, this is an amazing opportunity to celebrate and learn.
In my own attempt to observe this anniversary, here is a list of my favorite Shakespeare adaptations and why I love them.
Based on THE TAMING OF THE SHREW, this classic teen drama features young Julia Stiles, Heath Ledger, and Joseph Gordon-Levitt. I could never put my finger on exactly why this movie spoke to me but every time I hear Sinatra sing "I Love You Baby", I picture adorable Heath lip-syncing in the bleachers. And thus, a celebrity crush was born.
My sister and I have a strange obsession with this adaptation of TWELFTH NIGHT. Starring Amanda Bynes and Channing Tatum, this is a high school drama of the most cliché sort. And I absolutely love it! I can watch it over and over and I really don’t know why. The critics hated it and I’ll admit a bit of the humor is slapstick and silly. Still love it.
I cannot count the numbers of times I’ve watched John Wayne chase Maureen O’Hara around the small town of McLintock. We watched it frequently growing up and I don’t think I realized it was based on THE TAMING OF THE SHREW. I think Shakespeare would have appreciated The Duke’s hat tossing prowess.
While some of these adaptations may not be obvious, KISS ME KATE certainly is. This is a Cole Porter musical version of THE TAMING OF THE SHREW and I can still sing some of the songs even though I haven’t seen it in years. The sign of a great musical!
Shakespeare and zombies. Doesn’t get better than that. In WARM BODIES, zombie R saves Julie from certain death and falls in love with her, possibly because he eats her boyfriend’s brains, but you can’t blame him…he was hungry. I thought this movie was pretty charming and I think I liked the ending better than Shakespeare’s tragic original.
Thanks Will! Happy anniversary!!
In the Children’s Department there is a series of books where each title starts with “You Wouldn’t Want to…” This is a fun series in that it tells loads of facts in a fun (and often gross or gruesome) way to interested kids. They range from YOU WOULDN’T WANT TO BE A SALEM WITCH to YOU WOULDN’T WANT TO LIVE WITHOUT INSECTS (these books cover quite the range of topics).
In thinking about these books, I started thinking about the broader world of Children’s Literature. And really, there are a lot of books that I’m just not convinced I would want to live in (or could ever handle living in). In fact, I think they might be just a bit more horrid than I suspect when reading while sitting on a cozy spot on my sofa. So here is the list of my top five children’s books that I would not want to live in:
Not only does this world have an evil witch running around turning everyone to stone (or quite a lot of people) and manipulating and controlling hordes of bad guys…this world (at least for the majority of this book) is a world of Winter. I HATE being cold. I also hate bad guys ruling the world. But I can’t think if I am too cold. I suspect that in this world I would be basically a stone statue just from having to traipse about in a world of snow without really getting a chance to warm up. So I’m glad Peter, Susan, Edmund, and Lucy were all able to take care of things while I watched (or read rather) from the sidelines. For the rest of the CHRONICLES OF NARNIA I think I could possibly handle being in that world. Just not the Winter season.
Out of all of the books on my list, this one is actually a place (Philadelphia) and a time (1793) that actually existed. Which means that I am sure glad that I live when I do (since Philadelphia is actually a wonderful city and I have nothing against it…I just wouldn’t want to live in Philadelphia in 1793!). Mostly, I like some modern conveniences: central heating (see entry for THE LION, THE WITCH AND THE WARDROBE), plumbing, and modern medicine. That’s right, where would I be without doctors to help me feel well? I tell you what, I probably wouldn’t be around. And I wouldn’t want to live in that type of world and I probably wouldn’t want to see any of the people with those horrific diseases in that world, would you?
Yeah, I think most people probably saw this one coming. A world without trees and loads of smog in the air just isn’t any fun—especially if the world could have been a world with pink, yellow, and orange trees. I think the tragedy of this world is that you know just how amazing it could be…and then how sad life is when things get bad. I promise Dr. Seuss. I learned my lesson. I’m with the Lorax on this one.
Bugs, arachnids, and rodents tend to freak me out. That being the case, I probably wouldn’t do well in Gregor’s world. Not to mention that it is all underground (and thus sometimes very dark). I do like how Gregor becomes quite the hero…but this is one quest I am glad to read away from all the creatures that make me squeamish.
GAME OF SUNKEN PLACES
by Chris Van Allsburg
Wow. If you could see me right now you would notice that I am shuddering at the thought of living in these two similar worlds. Totally great stories; however, I do not think that I could be nearly as brave as any of these characters when they found out their world is a GIANT GAME BOARD. Just imagine playing monopoly and when a bit of bad luck comes your way you have to RUN FOR YOUR LIVES! Yeah. I’m glad I don’t have to roll the dice and hope for my life.
So there you have it, the five worlds of Children’s Literature that I would HATE to live in. Don’t get me wrong, these are amazing stories. I love them all. I just wouldn’t want to be characters in those stories. What about you? Are there any worlds I missed?
*There are also some horrific fantasy and dystopian worlds that tend to live in our young adult fiction collection. None of these have been considered (otherwise the HUNGER GAMES world would be #1 on my list).
The madness of March has ended, and with it so did Teen Booketology. Harry Potter reigned supreme, but I can’t say I was entirely surprised. That being said, I was fascinated to see the results every week. Who won their match by a landslide, and who tied (it happened twice!)? I thought you might find it interesting too. Here’s a breakdown of each week’s results.
The biggest victory was in horror novels with MISS PEREGRINE’S HOME FOR PECULIAR CHILDREN (86%) against SCARY STORIES TO TELL IN THE DARK (14%). The closest match was between the graphic novels NIMONA and IN REAL LIFE, which ended in a tie. I didn’t anticipate that happening when Booketology started! Only one could progress, so in the end I referred to the ratings on GoodReads and Amazon, both which pushed NIMONA onto Round 2.
For most rounds, clear winners became apparent halfway through the matches, but this week there were several turnovers that lasted right up until the midnight voting deadline. The biggest victory was HEIST SOCIETY (82%) against THE CLOCKWORK SCARAB (18%). There were no ties this round, but it came close with the classics LITTLE WOMEN (52%) versus FAHRENHEIT 451 (48%), and romances THE FAULT IN OUR STARS (53%) versus ELEANOR & PARK (47%).
When favorites are up against each other, how do you choose? It was heartbreaking this round to see some of my favorites lose, even though other favorites won. The biggest win this round actually had the biggest win from all rounds. CINDER (89%) beat out THE FAULT IN OUR STARS (11%). By Friday, HEIST SOCIETY was beating LITTLE WOMEN by a single vote, but everything got tied up once again by the voting deadline. GoodReads and Amazon served as the tie breaker, and LITTLE WOMEN snuck by HEIST SOCIETY by a hair, making its way to the Final Four.
Ahh, the Final Four. HARRY POTTER (83%) easily beat LITTLE WOMEN (17%), and HUNGER GAMES (66%) had a comfortable lead above CINDER (34%), but only after the Teen Minecraft Club cast their votes. Until that point, CINDER barely had the upper hand.
The championship! HARRY POTTER (68%) had a pretty solid victory over HUNGER GAMES (32%), which didn’t entirely surprise me. Both are pretty iconic teen series, so I expected to see them against each other in the end, but HARRY POTTER has been around longer and had more time to ingrain itself into our lives. Personally, HARRY POTTER is the series that taught me to love reading.
Thanks to everyone who voted in Teen Booketology! As a librarian, I love to see what the favorite books in our community are. I must say, you have great taste!
Ever wonder how librarians hone their recommendation skills? Sometimes, our librarians play a game we call the 6 Degrees of reading. The rules are simple: choose six books, each connected somehow to the book above it, with the last book in the list connecting to the first. Periodically, we like the results enough to share them with you.
We're celebrating Shakespeare this week (it's his birthday, after all!), and you might surprised with how easy it was to connect him to some of our favorite stars of THE OFFICE.
This novel is a portrait of a marriage with the various secrets and deceptions of the husband and wife unfolding as the story progresses. The first half focuses on the husband, Lotto, a struggling actor who achieves considerable success writing plays instead. The second half focuses on Matilde as she grapples with tragic loss and her own dark past.
Arthur and his sister Dana are presented with a play, purportedly written by William Shakespeare, by their dying father, still serving prison time for fraud. Their father’s dying wish is for his children to publish this never before seen work.
This book explores the rise of William Shakespeare from his humble background to become the most famous and influential English playwright in the world. The author paints this portrait within the context of the Elizabethan world in which he grew up and which shaped his theatrical works.
Starting with her upbringing in Iowa, Kate Mulgrew tells her story of moving to New York to study theater, getting her first television role in the soap opera RYAN’S HOPE and later, her most famous role as Captain Janeway in STAR TREK: VOYAGER. However, she places more emphasis on her personal life, relationship challenges and her attempts to reconnect with the daughter she gave up for adoption.
Mindy Kaling, television writer and actor best known for her work in THE OFFICE, offers an array of humorous observations about her work, family, relationship challenges and her struggles with body image issues.
Well known for his writing and acting in the television series THE OFFICE, this is a collection of short stories varied and brilliant. The titular story is about a young boy who wins a sweepstakes contest only to discover that collecting the winning may prove more harmful than good for him and his family.