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review 2020-06-09 20:20
Hamnet - Maggie O'Farrell

DNF @ 20%


I have issues with historical fiction, but that was not my main issue here. My main issue was the writing. 

If I'm 20% into the book, I should be hooked or loving the language, or be interested in any of the characters. 


I should not have to wince at over-written descriptions, try to remember which character we're talking about, or be annoyed by a precocious child who just declared herself an atheist sometime in the 80s. The 1580s. 


I'll be giving this one a miss and redeploy my audible credit elsewhere. 

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text 2020-06-09 19:06
Reading progress update: I've read 12%.
Hamnet - Maggie O'Farrell

12% into the book, and I can tell that this will not be a favourite with me.


It's overly descriptive, and yet, I currently don't even quite know which character we're following. 


If this keeps up for the next 8%, I'll return this and claim my credit back.


I'd like to read about the story of Hamnet, which is, I grant you, difficult to write because of the lack of information about him. But I really don't care for reading how O'Farrell imagines village life at the time and the history of every other imaginary villager at the time.


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text 2020-06-09 16:12
Next up in the Will's World Project...
Hamnet - Maggie O'Farrell

Well, I know I am behind in jotting down my thoughts on some of the previous plays and books related to the Will's World Project, but... I need an audiobook to listen to while I do other things. 

And since Hamnet at least in part features the plague (or it should...because...reasons) what better time to start this book, right?

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text 2020-06-01 11:21
Next up in the Will's World Project...
The Complete Works (Oxford Shakespeare) - William Shakespeare,John Jowett,Gary Taylor

My plans of reading the plays in order have been thwarted again, but since the NT at Home will show Coriolanus (the Donmar Warehouse production starring Tom Hiddleston) this week, I'll try to read the play before Thursday. 


This is also one where I do not have the Arkangel audiobook to accompany me (and I don't have a spare credit at the moment). So, this will be "text then play" reading. 


I'm excited about the Hiddleston production, tho. I was really impressed by his portrayal of Prince Hal / Henry V in The Hollow Crown


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review 2020-04-26 23:19
As You Like It
The Complete Works (Oxford Shakespeare) - William Shakespeare,John Jowett,Gary Taylor

Love is merely a madness, and I tell you, deserves as well a dark house and a whip as madmen do; and the reason why they are not so punished and cured is that the lunacy is so ordinary that the whippers are in love too.

I loved this quote. As You Like It is probably most famous for its "Seven Ages of Man" speech, which is fabulous of course, but it was the above quote that called out to me most in this play. 


As You Like It started out as an interesting story, with the old Duke exiled by his brother, the Duke's daughter being best friends with the new Duke's daughter. 

And of course, there we a few young men, who had no idea what they were doing or what they were looking for really - and there was a fool. Or were they all fools?


The theme of exile had promise for development into something, but Shakespeare didn't take up the challenge here. I guess he wasn't ready for that play, yet. The Tempest would develop later, so would The Winter's Tale.  


The idea of star-crossed bonds had promise, too. And this is an idea that Shakespeare used before, yet again only hinted at but chose to not really develop in this play. 


So, what was left?


Not a lot. 


Despite an interesting start, Shakespeare seemed to have lost interest, or time, or both, and basically fell back on the same formula of farcical and really, really dumb romantic comedy that made Comedy of Errors look like a bonkers but inane masterpiece. 


I am seriously done with Shakespeare's comedies. ... Tho, I know, I still have at least one more to suffer through (The Merry Wives of Windsor). 


Nevertheless, there is one thing I would like to recommend: I mentioned  the Arkangel Shakespeare productions in reviews of previous plays, but with respect to As You Like It, the Arkangel audio production really was what held my interest on the play until the end. 

The production included musical pieces for all of the songs included in the play, and those were brilliant. 


So, I feel like I should rate the play and the production separately:


Original Play - 2*

Arkangel Audio Production - 3* 

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