I recently had the opportunity to visit Copenhagen, Denmark and one day, I took a side trip up the North Zealand coast to the town of Helsingør. In that town lies Kronborg Castle, which is also known as Hamlet’s Castle after Shakespeare immortalised it in his tragic play under the Anglicised name “Elsinore.” Though scholars debate whether or not Shakespeare himself ever visited Helsingør and Kronborg Castle, they do confirm that he likely had heard stories of the town and its castle through various Renaissance actors who had performed at the castle before joining Shakespeare’s troupe in England.
Despite the somewhat tenuous connection to the Bard, Kronborg celebrates its Shakespearean roots with an annual Shakespeare festival and a daily tour for visitors that connects the castle to Shakespeare’s play. (The castle’s gift shop, of course, sells several Shakespeare-related items and memorabilia, including a “To Be or Not to Be” hooded sweatshirt that I picked up.) While Denmark’s literary history is often dominated (and rightly so) by Hans Christian Anderson, Kronborg Castle offers Shakespeare fans a bit of the Bard outside of England.
Below are some of the pictures I took while visiting.
Archway into the courtyard
Shakespearean Actors at Kronborg
So Book News was getting longer than I realized, so I decided to split it up into two posts. Double the reading fun for you, bookworms! Let’s get to it:
- In WTF news this week, Leila Roy (bookshelvesofdoom) reports for Book Riot that one South Carolina mother successfully got a book removed from her daughter’s Honors English summer reading list. The book in question, Courtney Summers’ Some Girls Are, deals with bullying, sexual assault and the sometimes uncomfortable truths of real teen life. As Roy wisely and correctly points out, this mother could easily object to her own daughter reading the book, but should not have used her complaints to deny other kids and other families the chance to read this book. The biggest problem with book challenges is that it often involves parents forcing their parenting choices on other people. That ain’t cool. (Roy also points out that one of the alternatives suggested was Laurie Halse Anderson’s Speak – a book that is often challenged itself.) A number of readers on Twitter will be reading Some Girls Are this week in support of Summers, using the hashtag #SomeGirlsAre.
- In unrelated and not as depressing news, Joss Whedon is bringing the world more comics. Now that he’s no longer tied to a Marvel contract, Whedon will be writing a new comic called Twist for Dark Horse Comics, focused on a Victorian-era housemaid who becomes a hero (heroine?). The six-part mini-series does not yet have a release date, but Whedon is no stranger to comics. Dark Horse has printed the Buffy comics for years.
- I always question the wisdom of this, but Amazon is apparently attached to the idea of doing a “best of the year so far” list in the summer. In late June, the Amazon editors published a list of 20 books they decided are/were the best books of 2015 so far. For better or worse, I only recognize the name of one book on that list and I haven’t read any of them. Maybe some day, someone will track these titles and see how they stack up both at the end of the year, and over time. As for me, my picks for “best of, so far” would all come from the romance genre – with the exception of Ms. Marvel and A-Force, two thoroughly awesome, female-centric comics.
- If you’d rather look forward than backward, just today Publishers Weekly released a list of the most anticipated books for fall 2015. I skipped right over the Jonathan Franzen one (ugh) and was delighted to see upcoming releases from N.K. Jemisin, Lisa Kleypas, and Sarah MacLean on the list. (If I’m being honest, MacLean’s is the one I want the most – I will read ANYTHING she writes.) Truthfully, though, there are a lot of genres included on the PW list and surely something for everyone. Meanwhile, my wallet just started crying at the thought of all those dollars I’ll need to buy all the books I want.
- As someone about to embark on a PhD dissertation specifically looking at digital media and electronic literature, I’m very intrigued by the interactive e-book Disney Hyperion recently published. Stemming from Rick Riordan’s Percy Jackson series and the Demigods of Olympus app, the book includes four original stories in which readers can become demigods themselves and interact with certain scenes from those stories. The reviews on Amazon are mixed, but it’s an interesting experiment and may potentially open the door for more interactive e-books in the future.
- Lastly, earlier this month, Book Riot published a collection of cool bookish maps, each highlighting the fictional world found in some novel. The Hogwarts map is helpfully detailed, the maps from Narnia and Middle-Earth could easily be artwork (my walls DO need a little something…) and the Game of Thrones / A Song of Ice and Fire map shows, once again, why it’s foolish to fight of little ol’ Westeros when Essos could clearly kick its butt.
As always, happy reading.
May you have a wonderful holiday season, whatever you do. And may it be filled with good books, cozy chairs and a warm drink.
“And the Grinch, with his Grinch-feet ice cold in the snow,
stood puzzling and puzzling, how could it be so? It came without ribbons. It came without tags. It came without packages, boxes or bags.
And he puzzled and puzzled ’till his puzzler was sore. Then the Grinch thought of something he hadn’t before. What if Christmas, he thought, doesn’t come from a store. What if Christmas, perhaps, means a little bit more.”
(Dr. Seuss’ How the Grinch Stole Christmas)