If you do a cursory image search for “Shall I compare thee to a summer’s day” or “Sonnet 18,” you will find images that look like the following:
Young, heteronormative couples in love, kissing and holding hands
This, Shakespeare’s most famous sonnet, has long been interpreted as a quintessential poem about a man’s love for a woman.
It’s Pride month—know your history!
June is Pride month! It is a month in which the country honors the impact that lesbian, gay, bisexual, transgender, and queer people have had on our society, culture, and national identity. While the U.S. and much of the world has a long history of shaming and oppressing LGBTQ+ individuals with social stigma and violence, Pride focuses on celebrating sexuality and gender diversity while positively promoting self-affirmation, dignity, and equality for LGBTQ+ communities.
In honor of Pride, we’re focusing on the stories of famous writers who not only shaped Western literature as we know it today, but also improved, altered, or inspired the discourse surrounding sexual identity and gender expectations. Enjoy the following four stories and famous quotes from LGBTQ+ authors!
Hand over the Twilight—we’ve got something much better.
When I hear “public domain,” I picture the free books on my Kindle with the really, really boring primary-color covers and equally boring content assigned to my AP English classes in high school. I won’t name names, but reading four-page descriptions of how the wind looks just so on the grass never really held my interest.
So when my boss told me to comb through our library and find “guilty pleasures in the public domain,” I was shocked to find more titles than I could fit in this blog. Ghosts, sci fi dystopias, Mean Girls-esque revenge—the public domain has it all! Plus they’re all super low time commitments and will make you sound smart to all of your friends. Pull out your beach chair, throw on some sunscreen, and have a go at these five short stories that you won’t be able to put down all summer.
Many successful businesspeople, celebrities, and entrepreneurs release reading lists of their favorite books and texts. I’ve noticed that many of these books consist of nonfiction texts, such as biographies, essay collections, and other popular science and psychology works. Sometimes a work of fiction is included, but it’s rare. This can create a perception that reading only nonfiction helps us improve professionally and socially. However, fiction has just as much, if not more, to offer. Let’s look at how reading fiction can improve our personal and professional growth. Continue reading
Why would you look elsewhere for proper morals and expert life advice when you can just take inspiration from Shakespeare’s classic characters? Especially characters from his tragedies. Romantic ideals? Romeo & Juliet. Best dad ever? King Lear. Best friend you’ll ever have? Iago. Most loyal confidant? Brutus. You get the point.
And since we have so many great examples of other aspects of life, why wouldn’t we also consider how to get away with murder? Especially the murder of a king whose nosey son, and also your nephew, keeps trying to catch you in the act? Look no further than Claudius from Shakespeare’s famous tragedy, Hamlet.
Devils, Ghosts, and a Menagerie of Pets
Cramming for the AP has ended, you are well on your way to a relaxing summer, and your brain needs something fun to push that scantron form out of your head. After months of reading disembodied passages and stilted interpretations of said passages, I know I was ready to read something that would excite my imagination—something that mattered.
Here are six short stories that will get you geared up for fun summer reading. Don’t let the publication date fool you, these stories are just as clever, witty, and captivating as everything on today’s best seller list. And, if your brain has jumped off the analysis train for the summer, we have some easy-to-read annotations throughout these stories to keep you engaged!
There I was: coffee in one hand, book in the other, minding my own business. Then, our Marketing Coordinator ambushed me about writing a post for May’s National Get Caught Reading Month. Well played, Kate.
I’m about two-thirds of the way through a fabulously informative book called Reclaiming Conversation: The Power of Talk in a Digital Age by Sherry Turkle. Turkle’s work challenges the notion that “the more connected we are, the better off we are” by examining how technology and social websites have affected our conversations. Twitter and Facebook may appear to better connect us, but Turkle reveals what we lose when we primarily communicate across screens. Building off of the “three chairs” idea from Henry David Thoreau’s Walden, Reclaiming Conversation has been a rewarding read full of thought-provoking ideas that advance her panacea for the modern world: “Conversation cures.” Let’s look at a few of the highlights so far. Continue reading
Shakespeare’s Much Ado About Nothing is one of his most successful romantic comedies. It is ridiculously funny, in part because the banter is so absurd (the characters even more so), but also in part because unlike other Shakespearean comedies, there’s actually no major tragedy that ensues (shocking, I know.) Continue reading
Shakespeare wrote a lot of crazy characters in Much Ado About Nothing, but Dogberry is just ridiculous. Just ask Joss Whedon and Nathan Fillion.
Dogberry shows up at the end of Act III just when this comedy is getting a little bit too serious. So, I guess this makes him the “comic relief” of the comedy, if you will.
Ok, but did Shakespeare include Dogberry for something more than just “comic relief”?
Let’s look at what makes Dogberry so funny and hopefully decode this ridiculous Shakespearean character.
There’s no putting it lightly: Shakespeare’s King Lear contains so much tragedy that it would give Game of Thrones a run for its money. Continue reading