Monday, September 7, 2020

September 2020

 

‘…to yellow autumn turn'd…’ As we slide into early autumn we look back upon a summer of despair and hope in the name of Covid 19. Hal and I remain healthy, in isolation, but now there is hope that the pandemic, at least in Sweden, is waning. I hope it is where you live too. Stay safe, stay well.

 

As always, I start with a promo for the book Shakespeare calling – the book. Indie authors like myself need support more than ever when we cannot arrange book signings and lectures. Therefore, sales are down drastically. I do so hope you will help me by ordering the book online. Thank you.

The book is available for those of you in Great Britain and parts of Europe on this site:

https://www.amazon.co.uk/gp/offer-listing/9163782626/ref=tmm_hrd_new_olp_sr?ie=UTF8&condition=new&qid=1514378301&sr=8-1

 

Also available on http://www.amazon.com/Shakespeare-Calling-book-Ruby-Jand/dp/9163782626/ref=sr_1_1?s=books&ie=UTF8&qid=1436073737&sr=1-1&keywords=Ruby+Jand+shakespeare+calling

Or in Sweden

http://www.bokus.com/bok/9789163782626/shakespeare-calling-the-book/

or Adlibris. Or contact the publisher info@vulkan.se

 

Shakespeare sightings:

  • In Five Feet Apart by Rachel Lippincott, young Stella, suffering a chronic illness with little chance of survival, puts reading Shakespeare’s plays on her bucket list.
  • In Believe Me by J P Delaney Claire is an aspiring actor who had a disastrous affair with a man who could quote Shakespeare’s love poems as though they were written for him, and she’s painfully envious of her friend who has a part in A Midsummer Night’s Dream.
  • In Furious Thing by Jenny Downham the main character Lexi auditions for the part of Miranda but when the director asks her to read Caliban, she’s very upset. She does and does it so brilliantly that he wants to cast her, but she refuses to play a monster. Poor Lexi, she has problems.
  • In The Vanishing Half by Brit Bennet Desiree stars in the school production of Romeo and Juliet but loses out on the part of Viola to the mayor’s daughter. Do schools really do Shakespeare as much as novels indicate? Or do I just read the kind of novels where they do?
  • In the film Look Both Ways the disgruntled journalist Andy is forced to attend a production of Macbeth but he storms out in disgust during the ‘Tomorrow and tomorrow and tomorrow’ monologue.
  • In the novel The River Home by Hannah Richell Margot auditions for and get the part of Juliet in the school play, with disastrous consequences. 

Films with a Shakespeare connection seen this month - see reviews on https://rubyjandsfilmblog.blogspot.com/

  • Love and Pain and the Whole Damned Thing: Maggie Smith plays the mother of Ian McKellen’s Richard III.
  • Batman Begins: Christian Bale is in A Midsummer Night’s Dream, Prince of Jutland, Henry V. Gary Oldman is either Guildenstern or Rosencrantz in Rosencrantz and Guildenstern Are Dead. Tom Wilkinson is in Shakespeare in Love.
  • The Full Monty: Tom Wilkinson is in Shakespeare in Love.
  • The Dark Knight: Christian Bale is in A Midsummer Night’s Dream, Prince of Jutland, Henry V. Gary Oldman is either Guildenstern or Rosencrantz in Rosencrantz and Guildenstern Are Dead. Ledger is in 10 Things I Hate about You, teen spin-off of The Taming of the Shrew.
  • Get on Up: Octavia Spencer is in Being John Malkovich which has a Richard III theme.
  • Enough Said: Catherine Keener is in Being John Malkovich which has a Richard III theme.

 

Further since last time:

  • Ordered from the newly re-opened Globe Shop in London: two hoodies, five T-shirts and three DVDs.
  • Received from the Globe Shop: two hoodies and five T-shirts but no DVDs.

 

Posted this month

  • This report

 

 

Shakespeare Calling – the book is promoted by

http://shakespearesallskapet.se/

 

Read more about my alter ego’s books, in one of which Shakespeare appears live and in person, on:

 

Monday, August 3, 2020

August 2020


August 2020
‘A plague of sighing and grief’. Shakespeare describes it in Henry IV Part One. Fortunately, on a personal level, Hal and I are still only sighing in this the sixth month of Corona, but the pandemic has brought much grief to the world. Stay safe, friends, stay well.

As always, I start with a promo for the book Shakespeare calling – the book. Indie authors like myself need support more than ever when we cannot arrange book signings and lectures. Therefore, sales are down drastically. I do so hope you will help me by ordering the book online. Thank you.
The book is available for those of you in Great Britain and parts of Europe on this site:

Or in Sweden
or Adlibris. Or contact the publisher info@vulkan.se

Shakespeare sightings:
  • In Six Wicked Reasons by Jo Spain, Ryan tells his sister Clio, ‘There is nothing either good or bad but thinking makes it so,’ and their brother, the TV producer James, retorts, ‘You’re Shakespeare now, are you?’
  • In the brilliant The Hitchhiker’s Guide to the Galaxy Douglas Adams found those monkeys that typed Hamlet, beating that old classic improbability factor.


Films with a Shakespeare connection seen this month (see reviews on https://rubyjandsfilmblog.blogspot.com/)
  • Muriel’s Wedding David Lapaine was in the production of The Merchant of Venice at the Globe, later released on DVD. We have seen both.
  • Unlocked: If I remember correctly there was a production of Richard III going on in Being John Malkovich.
  • Bright Young Things: This is so filled with Shakespeare connections it’s almost like watching a Shakespeare play. The ones I’ve seen in something Shakespeare are: Emily Mortimer, James McAvoy, David Tenant, Jim Broadbent, Simon Callow, Imelda Staunton, Harriet Walter.
  • Stockholm: Ethan Hawke played excellently in Cymbeline and Hamlet.
  • Event Horizon: Fishburne was an excellent Othello.
  • Daredevil: Affleck played Ned Alleyn in Shakespeare in Love.
  • The Children Act: Emma Thompson is classic in Much Ado About Nothing and Henry V. Tucci was very enjoyable in A Midsummer Night’s Dream. Watkins was in The Hollow Crown which was directed by Eyre.
  • The Mountain Between Us: Kate Winslet is Ophelia in Branagh’s Hamlet


Further since last time:
  • Started reading: Miranda Beverly-Whittemore’s Set Me Free about a boarding school on a reservation in Oregon putting on a production of The Tempest. I read it twelve years ago but borrowed it from the library by mistake. It’s worth reading again.

Posted this month
  • This report



Shakespeare Calling – the book is promoted by

Read more about my alter ego’s books, in one of which Shakespeare appears live and in person, on:



Monday, July 6, 2020

July 2020


Come, and take choice of all my library, And so beguile thy sorrow.’ Though Titus Andronicus is far from a comforting play, reading Shakespeare can help us get through this long-lasting sorrow of Corona. Stay distanced, friends, stay safe, stay well.

As always, I start with a promo for the book Shakespeare calling – the book. I do so hope you will help me. Thank you.
The book is available for those of you in Great Britain and parts of Europe on this site:

Or in Sweden
or Adlibris. Or contact the publisher info@vulkan.se

Shakespeare sightings:
  • In Diary of a Somebody by Brian Bilston, the narrator notes for ‘Monday April 23rd It is Shakespeare’s birthday today, not that he’s in any condition to celebrate.’ Then he goes on for a couple of pages, considering in his humorous way the subject of Shakespeare.
  • In The Poison Garden by Alex Marwood it’s the villains in the end-of-the-world sect who read and admire Shakespeare.
  • In The Rain Before It Falls by Jonathan Coe Rosamond has quotations from Shakespeare on her bulletin board.
  • The daily newspaper Dagens Nyheter reported that Stadsteatern will be doing a digital Hamlet and it also had a photo of Michelle Pfeiffer from A Midsummer Night’s Dream on Midsummer Eve (Midsummer is a big holiday in Sweden).
  • In the novel The Ghost Factory by Jenny McCartney, which takes place in Belfast in the time of the Troubles, young Jacky tells us that, ‘My existence so far had been like some bloody Shakespearean play, littered with corpses.’ Later in the book, when his aunt mentions one of his young friends, he fears the lad will get involved with the violent Protestants and says, ‘What’s that shivery line from that old play? Something wicked this way comes.
  • In Nell Freuenberger’s novel Lost and Wanted
    • the narrator astrophysicist Helen tells her friend Charlie that if she can read Shakespeare, she can read physics.
    • Charlie suffers from lupus and lists the drugs she’s taking: ‘I tried Lyrica, and now I’m on Cymbalta – the drugs all sound like women in Shakespeare.’
    • Charlie’s professor asks, ‘Why do we enjoy…Hamlet…? What do we get out of entering onto other people’s suffering in art, when we often avoid it in life?’

 Films with a Shakespeare connection seen this month:
  • Midsommar: Shakespeare connections: Jack Reynor was in Macbeth.
  • Widows: Shakespeare connection: Elizabeth Debicki was in Macbeth.
  • Paul: Shakespeare connection: John Carrol Lynch was in A Thousand Acres, a spin-off on King Lear.
  • The Godfather: Shakespeare connection: Brando was brilliant was in Julius Caesar. Pacino was brilliant in Merchant of Venice and Looking for Richard.
  • Underworld: Shakespeare connection: Beckinsale was in Much Ado about Nothing.
  • The Godfather Part Two: Shakespeare connection: Pacino was brilliant in Merchant of Venice and Looking for Richard.
  • Underworld Evolution: Shakespeare connection: Beckinsale was in Much Ado about Nothing. Jacobi was in Hamlet, Henry V, Hamlet, Richard II. Mackintosh was in Twelfth Night.

 Further since last time:
  • Started reading aloud to Hal: Macbeth by Jo Nesbo.
  • Stopped reading aloud to Hal: Macbeth by Jo Nesbo. No no no. I’m all for spinoffs of Shakespeare and some of this series have been brilliant but I just could not endure this book. Definitely DNF! Sorry.

Posted this month
  • This report



Shakespeare Calling – the book is promoted by

Read more about my alter ego’s books, in one of which Shakespeare appears live and in person, on:




Monday, June 1, 2020

June 2020


The summer's flow'r is to the summer sweet’. Sonnet 94. Summer has come and with it the possibility to be outside despite the pandemic and quarantine. We go out, we stay distanced. I hope you are all well.

As always, I start with a promo for the book Shakespeare calling – the book. I do so hope you will help me. Thank you.
The book is available for those of you in Great Britain and parts of Europe on this site:

Or in Sweden
or Adlibris. Or contact the publisher info@vulkan.se

Shakespeare sightings:
  • Stephen King uses the famous ‘More things in heaven and earth’ quote and his character Holly responds: ‘I guess Shakespeare said it best. He said pretty much everything best, I think.’ Good old Holly. At the end one of the characters reflects that, ‘Now the hurly-burley’s done, now the battle’s lost and won.’ Good old Stephen King.


Films with a Shakespeare connection seen this month:
  • Johnny English Reborn. Shakespeare connection: Dominic West was in A Midsummer Night’s Dream and Richard III. Tim McInnerny was also in Richard III.
  • Book of Eli. Shakespeare connection: Denzel Washington is in Much Ado about Nothing. Gary Oldman is in Rosencrantz and Guildenstern Are Dead. Michael Gambon is in The Hollow Crown.
  • Born Romantic. Shakespeare connection: Adrian Lester is in As You Like It, Love’s Labour’s Lost and Hamlet. Jimi Mistry is in Hamlet. David Morrisey is in The Hollow Crown. Paddy Considine is in Macbeth.


Further since last time:
  • Not too much Shakespeare.

Posted this month
  • This report 

Shakespeare Calling – the book is promoted by

Read more about my alter ego’s books, in one of which Shakespeare appears live and in person, on:

Monday, May 4, 2020


Rough winds do shake the darling buds of May. Oh yes, it has been windy and cold so far in May, but things will get better. As we hope it will with the Corona pandemic. Maybe there are faint signs already? I do hope you are all safe and well.

As always, I start with a promo for the book Shakespeare calling – the book. I do so hope you will help me. Thank you.
The book is available for those of you in Great Britain and parts of Europe on this site:

Or in Sweden
or Adlibris. Or contact the publisher info@vulkan.se

Shakespeare sightings:
  • In the film Galaxy Quest Alan Rickman’s character complains about his stupid role as an alien with the words, ‘I’ve played Shakespeare!’
  • In the book by Michael Morpurgo, illustrated by Barroux, In the Mouth of the Wolf, the brother of the main character was a Shakespearan actor before being killed in WWI.
  • In Magonia by Maria Dahvana Headly Jason says when Aza reports seeing a floating ship in the sky, ‘There are more things in heaven and earth, Horatio,’ to which she replies, ‘Hamlet. Really? I’m not Horatio. This is med side effects…..’
  • In Dagens Nyheter there is a column called ‘Dear Librarian’. One of the readers asked, ‘Must I learn Shakespeare’s insults to deal with people who won’t keep their distance?’ The Dear Librarian’s answer: ‘Yes.’


Films with a Shakespeare connection seen this month:
  • Galaxy Quest. Shakespeare connection: Alan Rickman in Romeo and Juliet. Sam Rockwell in A Midsummer Night’s Dream
  • The Winter Guest. Phyllida Law in Much Ado about Nothing, The Life and Death of King John. Emma Thompson in Much Ado about Nothing, Henry V.
  • Harry Potter and the Goblet of Fire. Almost everybody in the film has done Shakespeare so I will just mention one: the brilliant David Tennant in one of the absolutely best Hamlets ever. Oh yes, we’re doing the HP films again for the 6th or 7th or 8th time.

Further since last time:
  • Not too much Shakespeare.

Posted this month
  • This report


Shakespeare Calling – the book is promoted by

Read more about my alter ego’s books, in one of which Shakespeare appears live and in person, on:


Monday, April 6, 2020

April 2020


 ‘A plague on both your houses.’ One of the strongest quotes in Shakespeare. Who would have ever believed that ‘both your houses’ was too small? A plague on the world is what we have. I hope you are well and able to deal with this Corona crisis. I am in isolation, no doubt like many of you, but well and healthy and cared for. I wish and hope the same for you.

As always, I start with a promo for the book Shakespeare calling – the book. I do so hope you will help me. Thank you.
The book is available for those of you in Great Britain and parts of Europe on this site:

Or in Sweden
or Adlibris. Or contact the publisher info@vulkan.se

Shakespeare sightings:
  • In the novel The Ninth House by Leigh Bardugo, the magically gifted protagonist Alex (her real name is Galaxy) also likes Shakespeare. She refers to Ophelia and her flowers, she dresses as Mab for a Halloween party, she prefers her Shakespeare class to Modern British Novels and uses her Shakespeare notebook to write magical formulas, and she has a roommate named Miranda, like in The Tempest.
  • In Anne Tyler’s Clock Dance the main character Willa’s mother is in an amateur acting group who always play Shakespeare in the summer. In the same conversation Willa’s fiancĂ© Derek calls her mother Lady Macbeth for serving rabbit stew on Easter.
  • Sharon Bolton uses Shakespeare quotes to start each part in her creepy detective novel The Craftsman and one of her characters is in an amateur production of Macbeth.
  • In Release by Patrick Ness, young Adam loves young Enzo and reflects that at least ‘they were older than those two idiots in Romeo and Juliet.
  • On Facebook: ‘For the first time in 200 years, Shakespeare is not being performed anywhere in the world.’ Because of Corona. But by now there are a lot of Shakespeare performances being sent via Internet.
  • It has been mentioned in several places, including Swedish TV’s Kulturnytt, that Shakespeare wrote Lear and Macbeth while quarantined because of the plague. Kulturnytt also pointed out that Juliet didn’t get Romeo’s message because the friar delivering it was quarantined due to the plague, and went on to remind us to wash our hands.

Films with a Shakespeare connection seen this month:

Further since last time:
  • Finished reading aloud with Hal: Julius Caesar.
  • Wrote the text ‘Caesar, Brutus and Greenblatt in Julius Caesar

Posted this month
  • This report
  • The above-mentioned text


Shakespeare Calling – the book is promoted by

Read more about my alter ego’s books, in one of which Shakespeare appears live and in person, on:


Caesar, Brutus and Stephen Greenblatt in Julius Caesar


Caesar, Brutus and Stephen Greenblatt
in
Julius Caesar

     Stephen Greenblatt has done it again. In Tyrant – Shakespeare on Politics he has written a brilliant analysis of Shakespeare from still another angle. This time, as the title suggests, on politics but not in the way one would expect. This is, in actuality, a book about Donald Trump the tyrant, without once mentioning Trump’s name. With many quotes from Macbeth, King Lear and other plays Greenblatt shows how tyrants come to power through manipulation and fear, through the support of people who believe they will benefit only to find themselves victims of the tyrant themselves. Reading this book makes one want to read the plays all over again. The first one Hal and I chose to reread was Julius Caesar.
     Greenblatt writes: ‘There is one play in Shakespeare’s whole career that features a systematic, principled attempt to stop tyranny before it starts,’ (page 147)  and goes on to show how some of Rome’s tribunes are angry at Caesar’s willingness, perhaps eagerness, to be made king and destroy the Roman republic.
     Cassius especially is angry, and he convinces Brutus that he is right. Brutus too is convinced but much more troubled by his determination to assassinate Caesar. Greenblatt points out that Brutus’ dilemma is unique in Shakespeare: ‘Brutus invokes “the general” – that is, the common good – as opposed to a “personal cause”, but his long soliloquy undermines any attempt to draw a clean line between abstract political principles and particular individuals, with their psychological peculiarities, their unpredictably, their only partially knowable, opaque inwardness’ (pages 149-150). Don’t you love the way Greenblatt writes? He’s almost as good as Shakespeare himself!
     Greenblatt goes on to analyse the Roman psyche as one that prefers action to thought but that Shakespeare wants to show those behind the scene, ‘troubled, vulnerable, conflicted people uncertain of the right course to take and only half aware of what was driving them to act. The danger was all the greater because they were acting on a world stage, and their obscure private motives had massive, potentially catastrophic consequences’ (page 150).
     Is Brutus then noble but misguided? Greenblatt doesn’t think Shakespeare meant him to seem that way. He points out that Brutus was more noble than the self-serving Marc Antony but what good did that do? ‘…the dream of purity is hopelessly unrealistic and hedged about with irony. And it utterly fails to take into account the volatility of the mass of ordinary Romans,’ Greenblatt tells us (page 154).
     He also tells us that Shakespeare doesn’t offer ‘any solution to the psychological and political dilemmas that [the play] mercilessly probe (when does Shakespeare ever do that?) but instead, ‘an unprecedented representation of political uncertainty, confusion and blindness’ (page 154).
     It’s very easy to believe that if Shakespeare had lived today, he would write a brilliant play about the tyrant Donald Trump. Stephen Greenblatt very successful fills that vacuum with his book Tyrant. Read it.
     And, oh yes, don’t forget to re-read Julius Caesar.
    
    
Greenblatt, Stephen. Tyrant – Shakespeare on politics. 2018. WW Norton, New York.


Shakespeare calling – the book available here and other sites: