Required Reading: Books I read in High School- Inspired by Kristin Kraves

orangutan list

Yeahhh I’ve been horrible at blogging this month! And I can’t blame school or anything like that, because I graduated years ago and only promise that I’ll be back to blogging properly soon! Since we are well into September though, I thought I might talk about the books that were my required reading way back when. While it may not be fresh in my memory, I still have plenty to say about all the books I studied and was totally inspired by the lovely Kristin Krave’s awesome post on the topic! (Also, dudes, her blog is jam packed with fantastic content and to top it all off is gorgeous to look at!)

the tempest

The Tempest– My first official go at a Shakespeare play in school… and I didn’t really like it. I blame the random person I met at my cousin’s drama college that said it was about “oh look at all the magic I can do… but I’m not gonna bother doing it now!” In fairness, that’s not the best summary of the play, though I still think of that every time I think of the play! Fortunately this wasn’t my only introduction to Shakespeare and had more to look forward to…

macbeth2

Macbeth– this was my favourite for quite some time, because, let’s be honest, it’s probably the most entertaining of Shakespeare’s plays!

othello

Othello– I had pretty mixed feelings about Othello- while it is dramatic, well written and has one of the best villains of all time, it never did capture my attention the way some of the others did.

merchant of venice.jpg

Merchant of Venice– I’m fairly torn about my feelings for this one. Part of me doesn’t know why every school teacher likes to be edgy by choosing it. Even if it’s not as anti-Semitic as Jew of Malta, thanks to the “Hath not a Jew eyes” speech, the villain is still a racist stereotype. That said it does explore the nature of prejudice, given what a-holes everyone else in the play is. Still, while it’s interesting to study, I’ve never been overly keen on Merchant.

jane eyre

Jane Eyre– I’ll admit, I was pretty dorky and had already read this by the time it came up on the syllabus, which meant I got to be that annoying kid that said “oh look at the foreshadowing” every so often 😉

to kill a mockingbird

To Kill a Mockingbird– this should be on the syllabus in every school- not only is it one of the richest texts you can choose to study, but the story is also deeply impactful and has stayed with me all this time… okay admittedly I do also remember it really well because I reread it a lot in preparation for my exam- yet one of the best things about this book is that wasn’t a chore in the slightest!

all my sons

All My Sons– I have to admit, I don’t remember as much about this one, though I do recall finding it dramatic and being very invested in it.

yellow wallpaper

The Yellow Wallpaper– this was such a great book to be set- entertaining, complex and ridiculously short (let’s be real- who doesn’t want that for an exam text?). There are so many reasons why I’m always recommending this one on here- but just in case you haven’t read it, it’s out of copyright, so you can check it out for free on Project Gutenburg (it’ll only take you half an hour and is perfect pre-Halloween reading!)

pride and prejudice

Pride and Prejudice– it was actually thanks to this being put on the syllabus that I ended up loving it. I’d already picked this up a few years earlier and hadn’t been taken with it. If it hadn’t been for the fact that I knew I’d have to reread it, there’s a chance I’d have given up on Austen altogether. Instead, I gave her books another shot and now she’s one of my favourite authors.  But if you want to read more about how that came about you can check out this post.

tess of the d'urbervilles

Tess of the D’Urbervilles– I was pretty ecstatic to be set this, because I already loved Hardy. I know he can be hit or miss for readers- he just so happens to be a massive hit for me! I love the drama, emotional intensity and evocative landscapes. Tess is easily one of his best works, yet I was also happy to use it as a springboard to explore Hardy’s Wessex and other works.

rapture.jpg

Rapture– this is the only poetry collection I’m including on here, cos most of them were from all different poets and compiled by the exam board. One poet that examiners all seem to love is Carol Ann Duffy…. because they hate children and want us all to suffer immensely. When I think of this poetry collection my brain still recoils with an UGH NO! I think of all the books on this list, this is the only one I truly DESPISE. Why? Because it’s pretentious, nicks all of the best lines from actually good poems and, contrary to what some critic I had to quote said, it did not “twist cliché into something new”, it was, quite simply, just clichéd.

TheGreatGatsby_1925jacket.jpeg

The Great Gatsbywhat Gatsby? Okay, if you can’t tell from my lame joke, I’m a fan. While this book isn’t long, there is a lot packed into it: tremendous characterisation, a layered story and exquisite prose.

Arkham cover D final

Picture of Dorian Gray– I chose this as part of an independent study, because obviously I already loved it- yet I will also say that this is always one of my go-tos of “a book that everyone will love”, because I feel like there’s something in it for everyone.

dr faustus

Doctor Faustus– I chose this to go with Dorian Gray for the independent study and I found it incredibly inspiring- well in terms of writing, I’m not taking notes on how to live my life from a man that sold his soul to the devil!

never let me go

Never Let Me Go– my teacher suggested this and it was supposed to compliment the more anti-hero led works I’d chosen for my independent study, though I can’t say it was a lighter read. If anything, it was the most depressing of the bunch! That said, it was an excellent pick and my favourite Ishiguro to this day.

And that’s about it! What were your favourite books you studied in school? Which books did you hate? Let me know in the comments!

The Shakespeare Awards- And The Winner Is….

the shakespeare awards 2

Okay, so I’m later than planned with this post- firstly because of Game of Thrones in all its glory and secondly because I was reading the most incredible book (more on that later!) But for now, it’s time to wrap up my Shakespeare Awards and announce the winners! As voted by you!

Special thank you to all my contributors: eclectictales, Pages Unbound, Captain’s Quarters, Claire @ Art and Soul, Kat @ Life and Other Disasters, Annette @ Book Blather, Sammie @ Bookshelves and Biros, Read Diverse Books, Nicole Alter @ Thoughts on Fantasy, and Samfalston

And thanks to all the people outside of the Blogosphere who I roped into doing this!

So without further ado- here are the results:

most tragic

Both Romeo and Juliet and Hamlet had the same number of votes- which I’m kind of happy about because they’re both tragic for their own reasons- one is the power fate as to destroy us, the other is the power we have to destroy ourselves- both are tragic in their own way and who am I to decide which is worse.

best comedy

Midsummer Night’s Dream won hands down! Which makes me happy because it was my first ever Shakespeare! I mean, what’s not to like: fairies, idiot actors and love are all clearly the recipe for the best comedy!

most romantic shakespeare

Romeo and Juliet grabbed a second win- understandably so- because it is one of the most romantic stories of all time.

most entertaining

Macbeth– and I agree with this wholeheartedly too! I mean, who doesn’t at the very least enjoy watching the “forests move” at the end of the play? It’s like the Ents smashing Saruman! (gosh- just when I thought I couldn’t get more dorky- I compare Shakespeare to Lord of the Rings!)

best history

Richard III– which I was also happy about, because nothing beats the shenanigans in this play.

best sonnet

“Let me not to the marriage of true minds
Admit impediments. Love is not love
Which alters when it alteration finds”
Sonnet 116

best film adaptation

Branagh’s uncut Hamlet

An honourable mention goes out to 10 Things I Hate About You– which I loved as an answer for ingenuity and Heath Ledger alone!

most beautiful language

Hamlet– let’s face it the language in this one is exquisite so totally deserved. And if I had a category for the most deep, this play would have won hands down too.

weirdest

Measure for Measure– because let’s face it, it’s one weird play/story/thing (I mean what even is this?!?)

most unpopular

Tempest– which “won” because clearly a lot of the people I know feel the same way about it as I do. But a “dishonourable” mention goes out to Henry VIII, which I’m sure if more people had read would have taken the biscuit.

And that’s it! Until next time Shakespeare has a big birthday in a hundred years or so…. :p

I’m Not OK With The Ending to Henry IV

henry IV

So as I mentioned some time ago, I struggled to get through Henry IV Part 1 and 2. Even though I was supposed to read it at uni, I really was not a fan, and just couldn’t finish them. But now I’ve finally got through the whole thing and I have to say I AM NOT OK WITH THAT ENDING!! Goddamn you William Shakespeare for making me feel like this!!

(Apologies cos I’m about to get a little ranty and spoilery)

Because you cannot stab Falstaff in the back like that- it is not okay! No, just no. Of course it makes sense and was realistic that a king would act like that- but I just couldn’t bear to see it unfold. Especially after the hope Falstaff had expressed that they would have a king who was finally on his side- only to have said king stab him in the back!

Of course it was realistic that a king would do something like that. In fact, it speaks volumes about the divide between the aristocracy and the poor. At the end of the day, the poor were just there to be ridiculed and were not to be taken seriously. Much like Shakespeare’s other work, the lower classes were just there to be mocked. They are seen as lesser people on a lower rung of society. It is a tragic indictment of the society Shakespeare lived in. No matter how funny Shakespeare gets, there’s often something sinister going on under the surface.

When you see this cruelty played out in Henry IV you finally get to see the harshness of Shakespeare’s universe. In the moment when Falstaff is cast aside laughter turns to tears. What could have been such a joyous, triumphant moment ends up leaving a bitter taste in the mouth. Because the reality of the play is too harsh for words.

And that is the power of Shakespeare- even 400 years after his death- he has the ability to get under your skin as if he wrote it yesterday. The drama of it is insanely accurate- which is a true testament to his genius.

Okay, so I know that was fairly ranty and had little to do with the play as a whole, but I just had to get that off my chest. Do you ever feel like that about books? And who’s your favourite non-contemporary author that just taps into your feelings perfectly? Let me know in the comments!

And, just to let you know, I’m posting my results for the Shakespeare Awards tomorrow, so today’s your last chance to vote on your fave Shakespeare plays!

Quote Challenge- Shakespeare Style: Day 8

This is it! I’ve reached the last day of this! As many of you know, I’ve been doing this for a few extra days so that I can thank the people that tagged me. And in honour of 400 years of Shakespeare, I’m solely quoting Shakespeare.

Here are my (altered) rules:

  • Thank the person who nominated you.
  • Post a quote for three consecutive days however long it takes
  • Nominate three new bloggers each day

Thank you so much to Embuhlee for tagging me to do this. She is absolutely one of my favourite bloggers out there- I adore her posts- she is so funny and entertaining to read! And she creates so many of her own tags and shares them around. I can’t recommend her enough!

And cos I’m expressing all this affection, I think I’d better end with one of the best quotes about love in the universe:

love shakespeare quote.png

I TAG:

Angie books blog

K E Garland

Hey Ashers

Thanks so much for following along- if you would still like to vote on my Shakespeare Awards it’s still up and running for the next few days, so you can do so here

Quote Challenge- Shakespeare Style: Day 7

Hi all! So I’m coming to the end of my quote challenge! After this there will only be one more day and one last quote (*sobs*) so I better make these last two count.

As many of you know, I altered the rules slightly so I could properly thank all of the people who tagged me- and here they are:

  • Thank the person who nominated you.
  • Post a quote for three consecutive days however long it takes
  • Nominate three new bloggers each day

Thank you so much to Rant and Rave About Books– firstly how incredible is that name- because don’t we all love to do that? Secondly, she is really fun to read and has such fabulous advice- like her post about lending kindle books, which you can read about here. I highly recommend checking her out!

And since it’s my second to last day doing this, I’m going to share one of my all-time favourite Shakespeare quotes:

king lear flies quote.png

I TAG:

PoojaG

Telltale What

The Sweet Review

Quote Challenge- Shakespeare Style: Day 6

Wow- can’t believe I’ve actually managed to do this for 6 days! There’s not so many more days to go now (which is a good thing cos I might run out of quotes soon :p ) but I’m gonna keep at it till I’ve thanked everyone that tagged me!

So for all of you that don’t know, here are my altered rules:

  • Thank the person who nominated you.
  • Post a quote for three consecutive days however long it takes
  • Nominate three new bloggers each day

Thanks so much to I Wuv Books. Her blog is the most incredible blend of memes, lists and reviews- it’s such a fun place to hang out- so make sure you have a good look around!

And considering the title of her blog, what better quote could I choose:

midsummer night's dream quote.png

I TAG:

Parawl perwyl

Annette

Vickgoodwin

Quote Challenge- Shakespeare Style: Day 5

Yup- I’m still going with this! Hope all my fellow brits are having a fun bank holiday!

As many of you might already know, I’m doing an extended version of this so I can thank everyone who tagged me. Here are my altered rules:

  • Thank the person who nominated you.
  • Post a quote for three consecutive days however long it takes
  • Nominate three new bloggers each day

Today I’d like to thank the Sherlockianbooklover for tagging me! I’m really excited to thank her cos she was one of the first people I ever followed on here and I’ve always loved her posts! Since she’s a huge Sherlock fan, here’s one of Shakespeare’s more mind-blowing quotes:

hamlet quoteThat’s all for now- I tag:

Laurenest

Lois @ My Midnight Musing

Ana