Good morning everyone! Happy Sunday!
After having so much fun with the Reading Rush, I took to Twitter to find another readathon. Yes, yes, I know. I’ve come a long way from shrugging off readathons! Honestly, after I signed up for this one, there was a moment of deep regret. Not because of the readathon, because it’s super cool! Just more… I kind of miss my writing and when I’m deep into reading and blogging like this, I don’t have time for both.
Here we are!
For August, I’ve decided to sign up for Retelling-a-Thon!
For most, August is all about ARC August, and while I’m on board for that as well, I’ve been slowly chipping away at ALL my ARCs for months now. With Gravemaidens finally finished, that makes Foul is Fair my last pending ARC. And that’s convenient, because Retelling-a-Thon has different themed weeks: Mythology, Shakespeare, Fairytales, and Classics. Mythology week just started, but I’m here for Shakespeare week, running August 9th – August 16th.
I’ve talked a little in the past how I’d like to read more retellings focused on different stories. Shakespeare retellings aren’t half as common as fairytale retellings, and there’s a few different ones on my TBR.
Of course, as I made my TBR, I discovered that many of the prompts didn’t line up with the books my normal TBR. But hey, I snuck Speak Easy, Speak Love on one of the Freebie days, so I’m pretty pleased with that. For the most part, I was able to find books that I’ve heard of, or were written by authors I enjoy, so I’m looking forward to a fun Shakespeare-filled week! If my brain doesn’t explode. 🙂
Shakespeare week is hosted by The Hermit Librarian. The readathon challenges the participants to read a book-a-day. I am definitely not going to do it that way? Two of these books I was able to find as audiobooks ready to borrow from Libby, and I’ll listen to those throughout the week. Additionally, I ended up ordering four of these, three of which were second hand so honestly I’m just crossing my fingers they’ll get here in time? But I have four total books ready to go, so I’m just hoping that the Thriftbooks fairies are on my side.
Challenge #1. Macbeth
So, as I mentioned, this one works out really well for me! I just received an advanced copy of Foul is Fair by Hannah Capin. Hannah’s other book, The Dead Queen’s Club, is already on my TBR, so she’s writing the sort of things that pique my curiousity. While I’m a little tentative about Foul is Fair, simply because the LA glitz and glamor is not always something I enjoy, it’s the perfect fit for this prompt! Add to that, it’s my last ARC, and finishing it is going to be so liberating.
As this is already a book I have in hand, and as Macbeth is the first challenge of the week, this is going to be the first one I read. I’m really hoping to finish it the first day of the readathon. I want to try and follow the prompt schedule… but the audiobooks are going to happen when they happen.
Challenge #2. Hamlet
There are a gazillion Hamlet retellings out there, but for this challenge, I decided not to go with an indulgent retelling. Reading seven books in a week isn’t an easy feat, especially when you work full time. Rather than dig into something more modern and ritzy, I’ve decided to tackle the Hamlet prompt with a shorter book: Rosencrantz and Guildenstern Are Dead by Tom Stoppard. When I scrolled through Hamlet retellings, this one immediately jumped out at me because I’ve heard of it before… but as a play! I’ve had several friend participate in various productions of this. I also feel like I’ve heard it’s funny, but I may be seriously wrong about that. I’ve never actually seen the play (I’m a terrible friend) but I figured… it’s about time, right?
Also, coming in at only 126 pages, this one should be a nice respite from an otherwise busy reading week. It’s one of the ones I ordered from Thriftbooks, so I’m desperately hoping it arrives on time!
Aside – looking through GIFs, I’m discovering that David Tennant once did what looks to be a very animated rendition of Hamlet, and yes I’d like to see that.
Challenge #3. Twelfth Night
For as much as I’ve read this play a few times and have seen She’s the Man a bunch… there are just not a lot of retellings out there of this play. And, of course, of all the retellings there are, I’ve already read one of them! The Fool’s Girl by Celia Rees is the only Shakespeare retelling I’ve read to date, and I didn’t much care for it at the time (maybe I would if I re-read it?) so I was looking for something else. And I found a total of twelve and none of them were really exciting me?
Ultimately, I decided to go with Tandem by Anna Jarzab. It’s honestly a bit of a stretch and doesn’t seem to super-duper follow Twelfth Night’s storyline as far as “pretending you’re a boy and the big reveal plus dancing through two lives” but we’ll see? Every time I searched “twelfth night retelling” this one popped up on lists. So I’ll let you know how it does.
On the flip side, it’s about a multiverse, and I feel like it’s either going to be excellent or terrible? This is one of my audiobooks, so I’m hoping to push through it one way or another!
Challenge #4. A Midsummer Night’s Dream
Woooo unpopular opinion time!
I think A Midsummer Night’s Dream is one of the most overrated of Shakespeare’s plays. I honestly enjoy Romeo and Juliet more. Also a gazillion other plays that get pushed aside in honor of the fairytale dreamscape that makes up Midsummer. It was assigned reading three times in high school, twice in college, and I played Cobweb in a college production. It’s fun, I get it. But it’s also way overdone.
So I managed to make this challenge about Discworld, because apparently what is a readathon without a Discworld novel? For this one, I’m skipping forward in the series to Lords and Ladies by Terry Pratchett. This one sounds as hilarious as the others, and with a story like A Midsummer Night’s Dream, I have high expectations. Terry Pratchett seems like the right person for this job.
Challenge #5. Romeo and Juliet
Ooooh there were so many options for this one. Where I think A Midsummer Night’s Dream is generally over-used, the Romeo and Juliet storyline is so popular it’s a cliche. I like this cliche, but it’s a cliche nonetheless. Pick any book with a “forbidden love” romance et voila! You’ve got Romeo and Juliet.
For me, picking this book was easy. I absolutely adore Rosamund Hodge’s writing style, so when Bright Smoke, Cold Fire popped up as a retelling, it was a no-brainer. Even if I’m not in love with the story (which was the case with Cruel Beauty earlier this year) I know that I will absolutely adore her resplendant, spooky, worldbuilding. This book gets very mixed reviews from my friends on Goodreads – love it, hate it, and nothing in-between – so I’m interested to see which camp I fall in.
I really want to love it, though. I love Crimson Bound so much.
Challenge #6. Freebie!
There are so many Shakespeare retellings on my TBR that are not one of the challenge retellings. In fact, most of them are Merchant of Venice, or The Taming of the Shrew, or Tempest, or most of all, Much Ado About Nothing retellings. I am trash for Much Ado About Nothing – it’s my absolute favorite Shakespeare play. I love Beatrice and Benedict so much and so when we hit the freebie section, I knew I definitely needed a Much Ado retelling on there.
Speak Easy, Speak Love by McKelle George has been on my TBR before it’s release, added at just about the time I started blogging again. It’s got my favorite Shakespeare play and it’s set in the 1920s which is awesome and McKenzi Lee gave it 5 stars and I pretty much trust ALL her recommendations. I’m more excited to read this book than any other in this readathon!
To be honest, between Speak Easy, Speak Love and having the ARC for Foul is Fair… that’s why I chose Shakespeare week.
Challenge #7. Freebie!
Huzzah for freebies!
For this one, I’m reading a retelling of Tempest. It’s part of the Hogarth Shakespeare series… and I really just want to read all of those. Hag-Seed by Margaret Atwood is a theatre book as well as a Shakespeare retelling and, well, it’s written by Margaret Atwood so it’s probably going to be good. This one looks a bit more serious and less fantasy-driven than other Tempest retellings, but I’m excited anyway. Who need vicious water spirits?
Alongside Tandem, this is the other book I’m able to access as an audiobook, so I likely won’t wait until day seven to start this one – I’m planning to jump in as soon as I finish Tandem.
That’s everything, my loves!
I’m really excited about participating in this, and grateful to have the opportunity as I caught it just when it reopened for last minute entrants. As I understand it, not a lot of people are participating in Shakespeare week, so I’m really excited to share these retellings with you. Like I said, as a rule Shakespeare retellings are less common, so I’m just plain excited to be digging in.
If you’ve got any of these on your TBR, or if you like Shakespeare, feel free to join me!
What is your favorite Shakespeare play? I’m absolute trash for Much Ado About Nothing, I think it’s hilarious. I really appreciate the subtleties in Shakespeare’s language. Tell me your favorite – or if you just can’t stand him – in the comments!