Category: shakespeare (page 2 of 22)

Book News, March 7th

March! My favorite months, bookworms! One week until my birthday (aka THE GREATEST DAY EVER even if I will deny my real age if anyone dares to ask) and 10 days until St. Patrick’s Day. Yes, friends, I will be celebrating St. Patrick’s Day IN IRELAND. As it’s a national holiday, I partly expect previously unseen awesome-ness, and I also partly expect a completely normal day if the Irish are like, “eh.” Either way, I’m exciting for what might happen. Hopefully, you’ll be excited about this week’s book new:

  • It’s been 400 years since the Bard himself, William Shakespeare, died and to commemorate this occasion, the Folger Shakespeare Library is launching a travel tour of Shakespeare’s First Folio. Every state in the US and the District of Columbia will have a specific library designated to receive the traveling tour and the delicate books. The tour will help give the average citizen a chance to see some of Shakespeare’s original works. In my home state of RI, Brown University received the honor, while Bostonians will have to travel west to Amherst to see the Folio in Massachusetts.
  • In honor of International Women’s Day (celebrated on March 8th), a number of authors, writers and coders planned a Wikipedia Edit-a-Thon, to increase the representation of women on Wikipedia and encourage female editorship. In the US, the Museum of Modern Art (MoMA) led the charge for the event. Book Riot suggested a list of female authors and writers (particularly women of color) who should have an increased web presence. Take a look at their suggestions, and think about who you would include.
  • And since we’re now in March (which is Women’s History Month) and we’re talking about awesome females, Book Riot again continues to awesome by compiling a list of the Best Feminist Books for Young Readers. I’m a big believer in encouraging feminism early and often, and these suggestions are perfect for girls (and boys!) who are elementary and middle grade readers, and/or who are perhaps not quite ready for young adult fiction. Shannon Hale’s The Princess in Blacktops the list (and she herself wrote an important post about why boys needs “girl” books or feminist books just as much). Jacqueline Woodson’s Brown Girl Dreaming is also on the list, so why haven’t you read it yet?!
  • Earlier this week – March 4th, to be exact – we celebrated National Grammar Day. (It’s okay if you didn’t realize it at the time. As far as I’m concerned, every day is National Grammar Day.) Even if you did forget, Grammar Girl has a list of the Top 10 Grammar Myths to remind you that you may not know what you think you know. I personally find #6 (the passive voice isn’t always wrong) to be interesting. As an academic, I’ve had the “no passive voice” rule drilled into my head. Now, though, I have a good point to make a different case.
  • The world of Divergent may have found something of a conclusion, but Veronica Roth is just getting started. Roth recently signed a new book deal for a duology (two-book series) “in the vein of Star Wars.” DONE! Sign me up! I don’t even need to know what else the books will be about. HarperCollins had me at “Star Wars.” Roth’s new novels will be published in 2017 and 2018.
  • Well, that didn’t take long. Mere weeks after Gayle Forman’s newest novel, I Was Here, was published and released, New Line Cinemas has picked up the film rights for the novel. Last year, one of Forman’s earlier novels, If I Stay, was released as a film and was fairly successful. I Was Here tells the story of Cody, who struggles for answers in the aftermath of the unexpected suicide of her best friend. So, basically, if you sobbed your eyes out this last summer, you’re going to need more tissues when the new Forman movie makes its way to the theaters.

As always, happy reading.

Word of the Week (170)

DictionaryHistory happens, and Shakespeare reinvents it. Turns out, his Scottish play did involve some truthful pieces of fact. On August 14, 1040, two cousins met each other in battle. Duncan I is killed, and his rival, Macbeth, becomes king. Of course, that version doesn’t evince as much joy as the Bard’s version, complete with witches, scheming and a crazy wife.

Evince (“ih-vins”)

Verb; from

1. To show clearly; make evident, prove
2. To reveal the possession of a trait or quality

“My old acquaintance,” Leo said. Although his tone held no rancor, neither did it evince any pleasure. (Mine Till Midnight, Lisa Kleypas)

With its first usage dating back to sometime around 1600, evince comes into English from both French and Latin. The French word évincer translates to “disprove” or “refute” and, in turn, stems from the Latin evincere, which means “conquer” or “elicit by argument.” The modern meaning of “to show clearly” dates back to the late 18th century. While it may not be perfectly clear to see how evince of the 1600’s became the evince of today, the original Latin meaning does refer to proving by argument, which could suggest the path of the word’s history.

Your turn, bookworms – Were you to evince a particular personality trait or characteristic, what one thing would you want to be known for? Obviously we can’t be boiled down to just one characteristic, but what’s the one defining thing about you?

[Photo Credit: Google Images]

Just One Year

Just One YearOne summer day in August, Willem met Allyson. Only he didn’t know her as Allyson then. All he knew was that it was a remarkable day. But when events conspire to keep Willem from getting back to Allyson, everything changes. Suddenly, Willem is back home in Amsterdam, the one place he has spent years avoiding as he tries to outrun his past. Over the course of the year, Willem will travel around the world and back as he tries to figure out his own fate, come to terms with his less-than-perfect family and find his own definition of happiness. Through it all, Allyson – Lulu – is in the back of his mind, pushing him to reconsider what he thought he knew.

Just One Year is Gayle Forman’s companion novel to her previous novel, Just One Day. Like the coins Willem flips between his fingers, they are two sides to the same story. Just One Year tells Willem’s half, his experiences during the year between his fateful meeting with Allyson and the surprising day when their paths finally reconnect again. To read and love one book is (in my opinion) to read and love the other just as much, because while Allyson and Willem have their own individual – and complete – stories to tell, together the novels reveal an even greater tale of love lost and love found. There isn’t anything overly fancy or stylized here; just Forman’s honest, unflinching rawness and her uncanny ability to make her readers feel intensely (or, as I’ve previously described it, “the urge to smile and cry at the same time”).

It’s nearly impossible to talk about Just One Year without talking about Just One Day. So much about my opinion of Willem was informed by Allyson’s experiences in Just One Day. But Just One Year finally gives us Willem’s perspective and we begin to see just how much more there is to him than maybe we first thought. In some ways, he is still the charming, dashing young man, determined to wander through life and flit from place to place. But Forman slowly pulls back the mask Willem seems to wear and shows the emotion simmering underneath the surface.

Throughout the year, Willem struggles to admit just how much his day with Allyson affected him. His reluctance to share with his friends and his trouble with letting other people in reveal a character long used to relying on himself. It’s only when Willem starts to fully admit to all that happened (and all that it means) that he realizes just how much he has changed – and just how important Allyson is because of that. In Just One Day, Allyson needed to learn how to find herself, after a lifetime to letting others make decisions for her. In Just One Year, Willem needs to learn how to stay in one place, to find a sense of peace within himself, instead of giving into instinct and running away.

“It was like she gave me her whole self, and somehow, as a result, I gave her more of myself than I even realized there was to give. But then she was gone. And only after I’d been filled up by her, by that day, did I understand how empty I really was.” (Pg. 208)

Both Just One Day and Just One Year are billed as Willem and Allyson’s love story and readers will root for a happy ending. But what I loved best about this duet of novels is that Forman makes it clear that Willem and Allyson reconnecting and riding off into the sunset isn’t necessarily the “end game.” Of course, we want the happy ending, but both Just One Day and Just One Year make it clear that Willem and Allyson don’t need to be together. Their individual journeys help them become the people they want to be; they are whole and complete, each on their own. Should they decide they want to be together, though, they will have something remarkable because they have each given the other the push that forced them to change for the better. In this way, Willem and Allyson’s relationship is one of choice – they both go to extraordinary levels to find another again because that they want, even if they don’t need.

Forman weaves a number of themes throughout both books and they serve to both tie the stories together and to stir up certain emotions. Allyson’s story of double happiness, the near-epic retelling of Bram and Yael’s love story, even Willem’s obsession with interlocking puzzle pieces – all add incredible depth and richness to the story, giving readers something to hold on to as much as Willem and Allyson. But it is Forman’s integration of Shakespeare – most especially the integration of As You Like It – that takes Just One Day and Just One Year to another level. The overlapping parallels between the Bard’s play and Willem and Allyson’s story not only add another level onto Forman’s books, but also serve as bookends: Shakespeare is what brings Willem and Allyson together for the first time, and it’s what pulls them to reconnect all those months later.

There will never be enough adequate words to describe a Gayle Forman novel, or the experience of reading one. So, lest I try and fail, I’ll simply say that Just One Year, and its companion Just One Day, are books that leave you stained – for the better. 

[Photo Credit: Goodreads]

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