Anglophilia, Books, My Bookshelf, Shakespeare 2020

Resolutions and Shakespeare


Last month, as 2019 was winding down, I was thinking about New Year’s Resolutions as people do. This year I didn’t want to do the typical diet-type resolution. I was tired of making resolutions that are ineffective rarely kept. I wanted go into 2020 with clear, but personal goals in mind. 2020 is going to be a big year for myself and my family, so I also wanted to choose goals that fit in with the changes in my life. I eventually came up with this short, but meaningful list:

  1. Become an Awesome Aunt (my nephew is arriving in June!)
  2. Become a Certified Salesforce Admin (a career goal I’m steadily working toward)
  3. Get Married (September 5, 2020!)
  4. Read the entire collected works of Shakespeare

Now, the first three goals on that list are things I have already been looking forward to and cannot wait to see realized this year. The last is one that I stumbled across on Facebook last month and decided to dive in.

I have had a goal to read through all of Shakespeare’s works for years, but never took the time to just do it. Then a friend shared a link to the Shakespeare 2020 Project, and I decided that was my sign that 2020 is the year to get it done. The best part is, I’m not doing it alone. There are thousands in the Facebook group, all enthusiastic about reading the Bard’s works and the discussions there are already extremely fascinating and though-provoking. Not only do I get to work towards this goal I’ve had in mind for years, but I also get to be involved in the community and scholarship aspect of classes that I love and miss so much. (I know, I’m a nerd. But I love school and I love learning.)

TwelfthNightThe first play of the year was Twelfth Night, which was a perfect starting point. While the play doesn’t actually take place at Twelfth Night, it’s still a good choice for this time of year, and it eases us into the language of Shakespeare. Plus, it’s just a fun play to read. I had read Twelfth Night previously in grad school, and enjoyed it just as much this time around.

I also found an excellent series of podcasts that break down the play and I have learned so much. Over multiple episodes the host breaks down the play line by line, discussing it in historical context, explaining the language, and even analyzing the production and how you could present the play. I love the various aspects to his analysis and really enjoyed each of the episodes. He also caught things that I had missed in the reading of the play; I have learned so much more listening to this podcast. Unfortunately he hasn’t yet covered every one of Shakespeare’s plays (he’s done maybe 1-2 per year over the last 10 years) but he’s done quite a few and I definitely plan to listen to the ones available when we get to those plays.

Another great resource I found for Twelfth Night is a recent film production of the play. It’s in a modern setting, but uses the full text of the play. It’s lower budget, but very well done and I thought the cast was fantastic. I was especially impressed with Sheila Atim, who played Viola and Sebastian. She did a wonderful job. IF you have access to Amazon Prime, I highly recommend you check that out.

I’m going to try to blog about each play as we read through them, but I know life gets busy and I may fall behind. But I’m hoping this project will not only result in my finally reading all of Shakespeare’s works, but also a renewed habit of blogging regularly (but notice I didn’t make that a resolution this year, because I’m too apt to fail that one).

Are you a Shakespeare fan? What’s your favorite play?

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