Wednesday, August 20, 2008

Books You'll Die to Read

Boxall, Peter, Gen. Ed. 1001 Books You Must Read Before You Die. New York: Universe, 2006.
As you remember, 1001 Movies You Must See Before You Die lists only one Shakespeare film (and two adaptations, both by Kurosawa) that we all must see. I thought that number was a little too low.
So I thought I’d see what 1001 Books You Must Read Before You Die had to offer in the way of Shakespeare.
By way of introduction, let me ask a question. Do you think you read more plays by Shakespeare or more novels by Dorothy L. Sayers before you die? Come on, now. Which? And bear in mind that I have nothing against D. L. Sayers—she’s amazing, and she wrote a total of eleven delightful novels (as well as numerous articles, translations, theological works, and so on—but we’ll just stick to the novels for now).

Well, you know what I think. You should read Sayers—but you should read more Shakespeare than Sayers. Especially if you’re thinking about what you should accomplish before you die.

1001 Books You Must Read Before You Die declares that we must read (before we die) not even one play by Shakespeare. By way of contrast, it says no less than two novels by Dorothy L. Sayers will be adequate before we shuffle off this mortal coil (a quote from, I believe, Murder Must Advertise).  

Get to it, everyone! You must read 18% of Sayers’ novel output before you die. But you only have to read 0% of Shakespeare’s plays.

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Bardfilm is normally written as one word, though it can also be found under a search for "Bard Film Blog." Bardfilm is a Shakespeare blog (admittedly, one of many Shakespeare blogs), and it is dedicated to commentary on films (Shakespeare movies, The Shakespeare Movie, Shakespeare on television, Shakespeare at the cinema), plays, and other matter related to Shakespeare (allusions to Shakespeare in pop culture, quotes from Shakespeare in popular culture, quotations that come from Shakespeare, et cetera).

Unless otherwise indicated, quotations from Shakespeare's works are from the following edition:
Shakespeare, William. The Riverside Shakespeare. 2nd ed. Gen. ed. G. Blakemore Evans. Boston: Houghton Mifflin, 1997.
All material original to this blog is copyrighted: Copyright 2008-2016 (and into perpetuity thereafter) by Keith Jones.

The very instant that I saw you did / My heart fly to your service; there resides, / To make me slave to it; and, for your sake, / Am I this patient [b]log-man.

—The Tempest