Reading Shakespeare | New Goals

reading shakespeare

Reading all of William Shakespeare’s plays has been something I’ve wanted to do since high school. And in those ten years, I’ve read a total of ten out of Shakespeare’s thirty-seven plays. Not great progress.

Recently, I realized that if I read one play a month, it will take me a little over two years to read them all. I think one play a month is reasonable, since they are fairly short. And I’m hoping there will be months in which I will read more than that.

So, starting next month, I will be reading one of Shakespeare’s plays every month until I have finished them all. Ambitious? Maybe. But I’ve started to realize that if I don’t read the books I really want to read, or accomplish the reading goals I really want to accomplish, now, I might never get the chance. So it’s happening, I’m making myself do it, and it’ll be great. Right?

To keep track of my challenge, I created a Shakespeare Reading Challenge page. I think it’ll make it much easier for me to see all the plays I still need to read, and figure out what to read next. And you will all be able to follow along with me as I read. Go check out the page, and see which plays I’ve already read!

I’m sure this challenge exists somewhere online (there’s no way I’m the first person to do this), but right now, I’m just doing it on my own. And it’s kind of nice to be doing a challenge without all the pressure. However, if you would like to join me, feel free to do so! If you’d like to buddy read any of the plays I have left, I am totally open to do that – Shakespeare is always more fun with a friend.

The first play I will be reading (in August) is:ย The Tempest. I have an ARC of aย Tempest retelling that comes out in October, and I would really like to read the original play first.

And while I will be reading all of the plays, I am completely open to suggestions as to what I should read next. Do you have a favorite play? Is there anything I absolutely need to read sooner rather than later? And is there an amazing play you think I should save for last? Let me know in the comments!

P.S. I don’t think I will be doing reviews on the plays, since it’s so hard to review plays, let alone Shakespeare’s masterpieces, but let me know if you might be interested in mini reviews every few months or so.

I hope you enjoyed this post! I am excited about jumping into more Shakespeare, and I’m looking forward to doing it with you.

Thanks for reading!

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36 thoughts on “Reading Shakespeare | New Goals

  1. As an MA in early modern literature graduate, I very much like this idea! ๐Ÿ™‚

    My final dissertation was all about the representation of the early modern idea of the fluid body (expressed through blood and tears) in Coriolanus so obviously I’d probably recommend that play. The political aspect of it, with the popular people rising up, is also strangely pertinent today – they did a film of it with Ralph Fiennes and set it in a sort of Balkan state, an interesting modernisation of the plot. Titus Andronicus is also a very… interesting study – it has lots of blood and body gore though so… it’s best to be in the mood for it!

    I’m so happy to see The Tempest as your first one of this project as it’s one of my favourites of all-time, along with Much Ado (my first Shakespeare!), and Richard II. They’re all so different, I know, but that’s kind of what I love about Shakespeare – there’s a play for every mood and you can get so many different things out of them, depending on what you’re looking for.

    Hope you enjoy your project, I might do something similar in the future since I haven’t managed to get to all of the plays, far from it in fact! ๐Ÿ˜›

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    1. I completely agree! I’ll definitely get to Coriolanus soon, then. I didn’t know too much about it, but it sounds great! And I am definitely looking forward to Richard II since I loved Richard III so much. Thanks for your advice! ๐Ÿ˜Š

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      1. It’s not one of his more popular plays, admittedly, and I was first swayed by a production Donmar Warehouse in London did… and then I ended up basing my entire final thing around it so imo it’s pretty compelling!

        Richard II is brilliant, some really wonderful monologues, and a great study of the showy performance of kingship. ๐Ÿ˜›

        I will happily talk about Shakespeare anytime (can you tell I miss university? haha), and very best of luck for your project!

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        1. I miss it too! I’ve been fighting the urge to go back lately. (But I already have my fair share of student loans.) If you’d like to buddy read any of the plays, let me know! I love talking Shakespeare. P. S. You’ve read If We Were Villains, right?

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          1. Hahaha it’s odd you say that- yesterday I found myself browsing what other masters courses I could do. I nipped that thought in the bud but it’s still super tempting. I just dislike not being in a learning/research/classroom environment anymore… I struggle with the realisation that I won’t ever be in that environment again.

            I’d love to buddy read them sometime! I’ll keep an eye on what you’re planning to read and let you know because that would be wonderful. ๐Ÿ™‚

            Nooo I haven’t got to it yet but I know I really need to! I’m so looking forward to it!

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            1. I’m the same way! I tell myself if I ever come into a lot of money, I’ll quit my job and just write and go to school forever.

              And yay! Let me know what you’d like to buddy read. With the exception of The Tempest next month, I’m pretty flexible with regards to what plays in reading when. So just let me know!

              And you are going to love Villains! I can’t wait to hear what you think!

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  2. This sounds like a great idea to make sure you read them all! I took a unit in my final year of University and we studied tons of his work from his poems and plays. Have to say my favourites are Midsummers Nights Dream, Twelfth Night and Romeo and Juliet.
    Of course The Taming of the Shrew is also a good one. I love 10 things I hate about you as well with its modern retelling.
    Good Luck! I really want to try force myself to read more classics, perhaps I should tell myself one classic a month?

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Thanks! I think one a month is such an easy goal to keep track of – I’m currently reading one nonfiction book a month, and I have missed a month in almost two years. I love 10 Things I Hate About You, too! I recently bought a book called Vinegar Girl, which is a modern retelling of Shrew, but in book form.

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  3. I’m also reading a-play-a-month for my blog, as I thought it would be doable in combination with my day job as an English teacher. It’s only just, partly because I decided to write about 1,000 words on each act for every play! Madness, I know, but the journey is wonderful. I’m looking forward to swapping notes on the plays as you go through them.

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    1. Sounds great! I’m considering getting a dedicated notebook for reading Shakespeare, so maybe I’ll do that so we can share! If you ever want to buddy read one, I’m totally on board. I’m not reading them in any particular order.

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    1. Thanks! That sounds like a great idea! I will definitely do that. As soon as I finish them all. I’ve been considering writing a mini review post with my thoughts every five plays or so, too.

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  4. ‘The Tempest’ is one of my favourite Shakespeare plays, especially out of his comedies (I actually posted a review of it on my blog today!!) This is a wonderful idea though – I hope to one day be able to say I’ve read every Shakespeare play so I’m slowly going through them ๐Ÿ˜Š

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  5. You’re in for a treat. Shakespeare still resonates with us even today, and for good reason. He knew how to capture the human heart. But don’t think his work is all stuffy and overly sophisticated. Despite his flowery prose, Shakespeare wrote for the common person. His comedies, such as Comedy of Errors, is wickedly funny. His comedies are so good that Hollywood tries remaking them often. His tragedies have also left a mark, being brutal and yet beautiful. Akira Kurosawa, who was famous for making Samurai films, would even adapt Macbeth into Japanese drama called Throne of Blood and King Lear into Ran. Shakespeare’s influence can’t be underestimated.

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