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  • Tara Sonin 4:00 pm on 2018/04/13 Permalink
    Tags: , a wounded name, , , , , , darling beast, daughter of time, dot hutchinson, e.k. johnson, , , fool, , howard jacobson, i iago, , if we were villains, , , josephine tey, jude morgan, juliet immortal, katharine davies, m.l. rio, , , miranda and caliban, new boy, nicole galland, one perfect rose, rebecca reisert, , , , ros barber, saving juliet, shylock is my name, , , tessa gratton, the madness of love, the marlowe papers, the princes in the tower, the queens of innis lear, the secret life of william shakespeare, the third witch, tracy chevalier, vinegar girl, when you were mine, william shakespeare's star wars   

    25 Romances for Shakespeare Fans 


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    Between fairytales, Jane Austen, and revivals of favorite TV shows from yesteryear, retellings of classic stories for today’s readers are all the rage. Shakespeare is no exception! Here are twenty-five books you’ll love if you’re a fan of the Bard.

    Miranda and Caliban, by Jacqueline Carey
    Jacqueline Carey has the unique ability to blend beautiful prose, lush world building, and lots of fascinating character development. This retelling of The Tempest stars Miranda and Caliban: the daughter of the play’s main character Prospero, who has taken them to an island for mysterious reasons…and the slave described as a monster by his master. Carey reimagines them as star-crossed lovers caught in a web of powerful people they can’t escape.

    As I Descended, by Robin Talley
    A gender-flipped, YA version of Macbeth? Sign me up! Meet Maria and Lily; inseparable, in love, and desperate to carve out a future for themselves when they feel it is in jeopardy. Maria wants to win the Cawdor Kingsley prize, but to do so, they have to get Delilah, the star student, out of the way. When Lily comes up with a plan to do so, things get bloody.

    I, Iago, by Nicole Galland
    Why did Iago insert himself into Othello’s life, causing devastation to everyone he loved? To learn the truth, you have to go back. In this clever retelling, Iago’s past is explored—as is his role in the society he exists within, as a co-conspirator in the act of convincing a man to murder the woman he loves.

    A Thousand Acres, by Jane Smiley
    Larry Cook is retiring, and his land should go to his daughters—but his youngest, Caroline, refuses to accept his offer. King Lear is a story about pride, family, and revenge, and this retelling brings that to life. Buried family secrets are brought to the surface, and in the end, none of its members will be the same.

    The Third Witch, by Rebecca Reisert
    Macbeth begins with three witches, and this novel delves into the story of one of them. Gilly decides to do whatever necessary to ruin Macbeth’s life, including dressing like a boy, sneaking into the castle, and inserting herself into his business. But by putting Macbeth and his wife in her sights, has she unwittingly risked herself?

    Vinegar Girl, by Anne Tyler
    A comedy, for a change of pace! The Taming of The Shrew gets the contemporary treatment when Kate, generally dissatisfied with her life, gets thrown another curveball: her father wants her to marry his assistant, Pytor, without whom his scientific research would be lost, to keep him from being deported. Hilarity ensues.

    Hag-Seed, by Margaret Atwood
    We return to The Tempest with a retelling from the author of The Handmaid’s Tale. A meta-twist on the retelling stars an artistic director of a theater putting on a production of the namesake Shakespeare play itself…but when he is betrayed, Felix winds up alone, missing his lost daughter, wishing for the day vengeance can be his. When an opportunity to teach a theater course in a prison arises, Felix sees his chance to put on his play, and put out the people whom he thought he could trust.

    If We Were Villains, by M.L. Rio
    Sometimes we forget, but Shakespeare’s plays were put on by actors…and this interesting novel combines a narrative fit for the Bard himself with the theatrical backdrop. Oliver Marks has been in jail, but no one knows the real truth of why. He was once an actor surrounded by other talented performers, but something took a turn for the dangerous in their final year at the conservatory. What is the truth? Who is the villain? Only Oliver knows, and you must decide if you believe him.

    Fool, by Christopher Moore
    The court jester always stands on the sidelines, seeing all. In this novel, Lear’s jester is named Pocket, and the story unfolds from his point of view. While their family falls apart, the fool finds a way to make you laugh despite the tragedy that inevitably approaches.

    A Wounded Name, by Dot Hutchinson
    Hamlet is about the titular character, but in this retelling, Ophelia gets the star treatment. At Elsinore Academy, Ophelia sees ghosts that even medicine cannot banish. She finds comfort in the late headmaster’s son, Dane, but together, their connection proves tragic.

    The Queens of Innis Lear, by Tessa Gratton
    This book isn’t even out yet, but I’m so excited about it I had to include it! A magical fantasy inspired by King Lear? Yes, please! Three queens battle for the rights to the throne: one, who sees revenge for her mother’s death, another determined to get an heir to secure her position, and a third who sides with her father, determined to protect him from their war.

    The Princes in the Tower, by Alison Weir
    If you’re a fan of Shakespeare’s Richard III, you will love this historical fiction novel that envisions what occurred when Richard infamously made two young princes disappear since they were a threat to his crown.

    The Marlowe Papers, by Ros Barber
    If you love Shakespeare, you should know his greatest frenemy: Christopher Marlowe. Some call him a competitor, others a collaborator…and in this novel, Marlowe reveals the truth about his death…or rather, the death he faked so he could escape being a convicted heretic. And of course, the greatest forgery of them all: that he continued to write plays in Shakespeare’s name. A rich, imaginative novel about a time mired in mystery.

    The Secret Life of William Shakespeare, by Jude Morgan
    For all of his works and his enduring legacy, William Shakespeare is still something of an enigma. This novel unravels the mystery behind his childhood, his marriage, the death of his son, and much more.

    Shylock is My Name, by Howard Jacobson
    The Merchant of Venice is one of Shakespeare’s slightly more obscure plays (but one of my personal favorites.) About family, betrayal, faith and revenge, this story is re-interpreted for the present day where Simon Strulovitch takes the place of Shylock. His daughter Beatrice has fallen for an athlete with anti-semitic views despite the fact that she is Jewish, and eventually, Strulovich is driven to seek revenge.

    Darling Beast, by Elizabeth Hoyt
    This romance takes place in the theater, so of course Shakespeare would approve! An actress has fallen on difficult times while trying to take care of her young son. When she meets another inhabitant of the theater, a Viscount with a violent past, they both turn to one another to bring themselves out of the darkness of the wings and into the bright light of center stage.

    One Perfect Rose, by Mary Jo Putney
    Stephen has just been diagnosed with a devastating illness. Wanting to waste no time, he decides to leave the responsibilities of his life behind and travel, meeting a theater family and falling for their daughter, Rosalind. But even as they grow to love one another, Stephen knows that his curtain call is approaching…

    Exit, Pursued by a Bear, by E.K. Johnston
    This YA retelling of The Winter’s Tale involves the aftermath of one girl’s rape while at cheerleading camp. Hermione feels that she’s doomed to fulfill the legacy of every senior class in her school: a girl ends up pregnant before graduation. But instead, with her family, friends, and the community rallying around her, she defies expectations and makes the best choices for her future.

    Saving Juliet, by Suzanne Selfors
    Traveling back to Shakespeare’s time thanks to an accident of magic, Mimi and her acting partner on Broadway, Troy Summer, find themselves in the time of the Montagues and Capulets. There, she meets the real Juliet, and finds herself tempted to intervene and save the star-crossed lovers before tragedy strikes.

    New Boy, by Tracy Chevalier
    Othello takes a trip to the 1970’s in this gripping retelling. Osei is a diplomat’s son, used to traveling and never fitting in. But here, he fits with Dee, a popular girl in school…to Ian’s dismay. Many things remain the same, such as the investigation of racism, pride, and revenge. The twist? All of the characters are eleven years old, and what happens during school will change their lives forever.

    Wiliam Shakespeare’s Star Wars, by Ian Doescher
    See the story of Star Wars through a Shakespearean lens, with the Jedis, Sith Lords, and captive princesses all told through a re-imagining of Shakespeare’s play format as though it were being performed for Queen Elizabeth herself.

    Juliet Immortal, by Stacey Jay
    Here’s the truth: Juliet didn’t kill herself. Romeo murdered her to get something for himself: immortality. But in this re-imagining of the classic tragedy, Juliet may get the last word. Granted eternal life, she spends her centuries fighting back against Romeo—and that fight will become even more dangerous when she meets someone else she loves.

    Daughter of Time, by Josephine Tey
    Was Richard III as evil and cunning as history remembers him? Or was he misunderstood, forced into a difficult position by the circumstances of the time? This novel stars a Scotland Yard detective determined to find out the truth behind one of history’s most enigmatic and infamous figures.

    The Madness of Love, by Katharine Davies
    Twelfth Night is part comedy, part drama, and so is this novel about a girl named Valentina who misses her twin brother after he’s abandoned her to go traveling. She decides to disguise herself as a boy and travel after him, even if it means having to help a man she may have feelings for in his plan to find happiness with the girl he’s loved since he was young. Unrequited love, mistaken identity, and more collide.

    When You Were Mine, by Rebecca Serle
    Ah! Another character gets their turn in the spotlight. Serle’s When You Were Mine is a modern take on Romeo & Juliet, but focuses on the character of Rosaline. Remember her? She’s the girl Romeo was smitten with before meeting Juliet. In Serle’s reimagining, Juliet and Rosaline (or Rose), are former BFFs, and Rob (Romeo) and Rose have finally, finally shared a kiss. But when Juliet moves back into town, she steals Rob away from Rose, who is absolutely crushed. You get to watch literature’s most famous love story through the eyes of Rosaline, the broken-hearted, jilted former flame…and then the downward spiral Juliet sets herself on.

    What are your favorite Shakespearean retellings?

    The post 25 Romances for Shakespeare Fans appeared first on Barnes & Noble Reads.

     
  • Heidi Fiedler 3:30 pm on 2014/10/13 Permalink
    Tags: artists, , column mclann, dancer, eight girls taking pictures, f.g. haghenbeck, , girl with the pearl earring, irving stone, the agony and the ecstasy, the secret book of frida kahlo, , tracy chevalier, whitney otto,   

    8 Great “Fic-y” Bios of Writers, Artists & Dancers 


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    9780452282155_p0_v3_s260x420When you feel stuck at work, at home, or in love, sometimes it helps to take inspiration from the avant-garde artists that have walked among us. But if you’re a die-hard fiction lover and wouldn’t read a biography with a ten-foot pair of reading glasses, there’s still a perfect bio genre for you: the Fic-y Bio. You can read about everything from what it was like to become Marie Antoinette to how the wives of America’s top scientists survived living at Los Alamos when the atomic bomb was being built. My favorites are the fic-y bios of the writers, artists, and dancers who created the art that continues to inspire us today. Here are some of the best of the bunch:

    The Agony and the Ecstasy, by Irving Stone
    This story of Michelangelo is one of the earliest books in the genre, but it’s as juicy as any of today’s tell-alls. There are all the flourishes of the Renaissance. The infamous Medicis. Unpopular popes. Art made of gold, for goodness’ sake. You will be transported.

    Eight Girls Taking Pictures, by Whitney Otto
    Tina Modetti and Imogen Cunningham were two of the greatest photographers of the 20th century. Otto focuses on them and six other female photographers in her imaginative novel that examines what it meant to be an artist and a woman at a time when women were barely allowed to drive, let alone pick up a camera and show the world what they saw.

    Dancer, by Colum McCann
    Perfectionists will see themselves in this brutal book about Russian dancer Rudolf Nureyev. Covering Nureyev’s life from peasanthood to celebrity, the novel examines the dangerous obsession that professional dancers must embrace to pursue their passion. Read. Sigh. Pick up your pen. Grab your brush. Put on your shoes. Start again. Whatever our craft is, we are never done.

    Z: A Novel of Zelda Fitzgerald, by Therese Anne Fowler
    The glamorous bits of The Great Gatsby are all here: decadent parties, celebrity, and scandal. But this time the story is told not by the writer F. Scott Fitzgerald, but by his wife, Zelda. Sensual and glamorous, this novel will draw you in.

    The Secret Book of Frida Kahlo, by F.G. Haghenbeck
    There are lots of books told from the perspective of a wife, mistress, or other idle woman living with a Big Bad Powerful Artist Man. This isn’t one of them. This is the story of the great painter Frida Kahlo as imagined by Mexican novelist Haghenbeck. He imagines the writer’s favorite recipes, love letters, and musings as though he has uncovered a diary. The result is unforgettable.

    Girl with a Pearl Earring, by Tracy Chevalier
    This book about Vermeer’s famous painting may have started the modern craze of fic-y bios. It does what the best of them do: pulls the reader into the chaos and beauty of life as an artist; creates a rich world with real and imagined historical and personal details; and inspires the reader to see the world differently. And it does all three absolutely beautifully.

    What’s the best fictionalized biography you’ve read?

     
  • Joel Cunningham 6:00 pm on 2014/07/24 Permalink
    Tags: at home in the world, beth macy, crash course, , , everything connects, factory man, , , paul ingrassia, remarkable creatures, the alliance, , the mockingbird next door: life with harper lee, , , , tracy chevalier, ,   

    What to Read Next if You Liked The Book of Life, The Mockingbird Next Door, The Signature of All Things, The Alliance or Factory Man 


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    IMG_7207By now you’ve no doubt torn through The Book of Life, the concluding volume in Deborah Harkness’ trilogy about a historian whose discovery of an ancient manuscript clues her in to a reality of witches, vampires, time travel, and a whole hidden world of monsters and mayhem (you’d think those ancient manuscripts would have warning labels). If you’re looking for a book that will extend the magic a little further, try Katherine Howe’s The Physick Book of Deliverance Dane, about a graduate student who stumbles upon a host of witchy family secrets and a magical tome called a “physick book,” a volume that holds terrible lost secrets from hundreds of years in the past (seriously, people just leave these things lying around?).

    The Mockingbird Next Door: Life with Harper Lee, by Marja Mills, recounts the writer’s years living in the house next door to one of the world’s most famously reclusive authors. It has become a must read not only for the promise of revealing details about why Lee never published anything after To Kill a Mockingbird, or because of the controversy it’s generated (the ailing Lee has denied agreeing to participate), but also because it paints a vivid picture of a changing South. If you’re looking for another book that provides an unusual window into the life of a great, reluctantly famous writer, Joyce Maynard’s memoir At Home in the World includes details of her relationship, at age 18, with then-53-year-old J.D. Salinger, and caused a similar furor when first published.

    With The Signature of All Things, Elizabeth Gilbert (Eat, Pray, Love) proves herself as adept a novelist as a memoirist. Rich in historical details of the 18th and 19th centuries, the book follows the life of Alma Whittaker, the daughter of a wealthy botanist who becomes a scientist in her own right, unearthing discoveries that challenge the way people think about the world. For another story of a woman who defied the thinking of her time, not just about science but about what a woman could accomplish in a world built for and by men, Tracy Chevalier’s Remarkable Creatures recounts how Mary Anning, a girl living in rural England in the early 1800s, became one of the world’s greatest fossil hunters, her discoveries of ancient dinosaur bones changing much about Victorian ideas of science and religion. (For the record, Alma is fictional, but Mary was the real deal.)

    The Alliance: Managing Talent in the Networked Age, by LinkedIn cofounder Reid Hoffman, Ben Casnocha, and Chris Yeh, is an essential handbook for dealing with the challenges of managing an ever more connected, ever more mobile workforce. For more insights into sparking creativity and innovation in a world that is redefining the idea of “career,” look to Everything Connects, by Faisal Hoque and Drake Baer.

    Amid omnipresent headlines of companies closing down manufacturing in the U.S. and moving jobs overseas, Factory Man, by Beth Macy, reveals how one dedicated businessman managed not only to keep his hundred-year-old Virginia furniture business’s doors open, but actually managed to grow it even while competing with cheaply manufactured imports. For a less colorful but still fascinating look at the way the global economy has changed American industry, read Paul Ingrassia’s Crash Course, a comprehensive review of what led to the near-collapse of the U.S. auto industry, and how, post-bailout, it has begun to thrive again.

    What are you reading and recommending this week?

     
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