The Secret Sister Project: FAQs and Rules

secret sister project

Hey there, friends! We have been absolutely blown away by the generosity and positivity shown during round two of our Secret Sister Project! Thank you all so much for your kind words to those of us who host, and for being there to provide cheer for one another. It is really something to go through the hashtag and see you all lifting each other up despite only being matched to one “sister.” Your generosity shines through and it is heartwarming to be part of a group filled with strong, uplifting women!

Most of you can imagine how much work goes into a project like this. The three of us are expected to always be available to answer questions, keep on top of people who are not abiding by the standards we set, promote the project and so on. It’s tough and frustrating at times, and we are doing everything we can to make it easier on everyone for next round. That being said, this post is going to be LONG and DETAILED and should provide you with all of the information that you need if you want to sign up for the next round.

We ask that you read this post thoroughly, and refer back to it PRIOR to reaching out to us with questions during the project. In addition, keep in mind that the hashtag #otspsecretsister is ALWAYS a fantastic resource for information needed, odds are that someone participating knows the answer to your inquiry!

The Basics:

The What:

The Secret Sister project is essentially a cheer club. Think Secret Santa but all year round (in 6 month intervals) with less emphasis on big presents, and more thoughtful notes, cards, small somethings sent just to let your secret sister know that you are thinking about her!

The When:

  • Sign-ups will run July 12 – July 25 (Do NOT send an email prior to July 12, it WILL be deleted!)
  • You will be paired up with your secret sister by July 31
  • This session will run from August 1 – January 31 (this means that your last something will be sent in January)

The Who:

You guys! But there are some conditions that must be met prior to signing up, we are going to outline those below under “The Rules.”

FAQs:

What will I have to do if I sign up to be a secret sister?

This is a commitment, we can’t lie to you. By signing up to be a secret sister you are promising to send at least one small card AND/OR gift to your secret sister a month depending on the “monetary group” you sign up for. It is very important that you don’t sign up for this unless you are willing to follow through. Please think of how sad (and unfair) it would be for someone to be working hard to make their secret sister feel special and not receive anything themselves!

Do I have to send presents?

Depending on the group that you sign up for, it may not be necessary for you to send presents. However, regardless of the monetary group, it is encouraged to send a little something special during these 6 months. Keep in mind that this really is meant to be more of a cheering up sort of club. However, in the six month period we will be going through Halloween, Christmas, and maybe your secret sister’s birthday!

Look at how extravagant that package is! I don’t have that kind of money…

Neither do I! This is why we have different price ranges! You should never, ever feel as if your package is inadequate as long as you are meeting your price range “standards.” Trust me, it is much more meaningful if you stay within your price range but then send an extra letter or handmade card just to check in that month! Anyone who is getting caught up on the size of the gifts is missing the entire point of the project and will be dealt with accordingly.

Do we have to remain secret?

No, though that is part of the fun! Just leave your name off of the card or box you are sending if you want to remain secret, and reveal yourself whenever you wish! It is entirely up to you! (If you are looking for some tips on how to remain secret -like if you want to send an e-book, for example, we can help ya out!)

Do I have to be a blogger to join?

Technically, no. You absolutely do need to be bookish, however. We are book people over here! We do have some non-bloggers who have joined us but full disclosure they are people that we know and trust. That is not to say that we won’t allow you in unless you are a blogger, but as this project was started and is promoted in our blogging community, it is filled with mostly bloggers.

Is this project international?

Maybe! If you are an international participant wishing to join us then please email us at onthesamepagesecretsister@gmail.com and let us know where you are located and that you are interested. IF we have enough interest in certain areas, then we may be able to allow you to join! Yay!

Umm…I’m a guy so…

That is wonderful! Welcome! I know it is a little off putting to see the word “sister” up there but honestly we just did that because it sounded better than “The Secret Person Project” I personally would love a secret bro, pal, dude, or friend regardless of gender.

What are the price ranges, and can we have some examples of what a package would look like for each range?

  • $5-$10: Send a heartfelt letter to catch your sister up on how things are going that month and then send an e-book, paperback straight from Amazon (thank you Prime shipping!), baked goods, homemade bookmark or other DIY project, or how about a movie night box with a DVD (thanks to the $5 bin at Walmart) and some candy for a movie night!
  • $15-$20 Any of the possibilities listed above and perhaps a newer hardcover from your sister’s wish-list, some fun socks, fandom tshirt, themed box, get creative!!
  • $25+ The sky’s the limit here, we just ask that you remember to reign it in a bit and remember the goal of this project is for cheer, and joy and forging positive relationships, not excessive gifts. Send those heartfelt letters!!

The Rules:

Here is where things differ from last time, and where we go all “mean mommy” on ya. We ask that you pay attention because we are going to hold you to these standards with no exceptions. I am sure that you all realize that we absolutely do not have the time or patience to deal with nonsense and when I say that, it is coming from a place of love and experience as we did have some issues before! If you think this is very strict and “not fair” then we are sorry you feel that way, but we made some exceptions last round and spent lots of time chasing after people and yes, even kicking people out for neglecting to do their part. Thanks in advance for understanding. Continue reading

On the Same Page: Peter and the Starcatchers by Dave Barry & Ridley Pearson

Title: Peter and the Starcatchers

Author: Dave Barry & Ridley Pearson

Publishing Information:  May 11, 2006 by Disney-Hyperion

Genre: Young Adult, Fantasy, Retelling, Middle Grade, Adventure

Series Information: Book one in the Peter and the Starcatchers series

Format: Hardcover, 452 pages

Source: Borrowed from my public library

Recommended For: Readers looking for a retelling of a timeless tale, one that brings you back to the beginning before Peter was Peter Pan. If you are looking for a heartfelt story that reminds you what life was like before you “grew up,” then this is the book for you.

Related Reviews: Brittany’s Post on retellings and Amy’s post bringing you back to the origins!

Hey there, lovelies! This month the gals and I went a little younger in our pick and chose Peter and the Starcatchers as our May read! We mainly chose it because the narration is done by Jim Dale and we loooove Jim Dale!! I actually started off listening to this one but didn’t have much time so I picked up the print copy and was very impressed by both! Much like I did for our post on The Goose Girl, I am going to talk to you guys about some retellings that you can read if you are interested in Peter Pan. Spoiler alert: Peter Pan is actually one of my least favorite stories from my childhood (as well as one of my least favorite Disney movies…ugh, Wendy) but I still felt myself enthralled by Peter and the Starcatchers. I loved the way in which it went back to the beginning, and helped show who Peter was before he became Peter Pan. The relationships were fleshed out and the whole novel was action packed and fun. It was the ending that really cinched my love for this novel. I teared up a bit and my heart melted, I will definitely be continuing on with this series.

If you want a love story that will surprise you and make your heart ache…

Tiger Lily by Jodi Lynn Anderson

Tiger Lily is one of the most lyrical and heart wrenching stories that I have ever read. From page one I was taken by Tiger Lily and they way she was vastly different from those around her. I fell for Peter as she did, little by little she gave into him and let him into her heart. Through Tink’s eyes I was able to see how she couldn’t quite give enough and wasn’t exactly what Peter needed. There were times I was so frustrated with her and just wanted her to be what he needed her to be even though I knew it wasn’t her, I knew she didn’t know how to give in without giving up herself. I’ll be honest, the ending was so heartbreaking yet beautiful at the same time that I read it over and over. I felt my heart break and mend almost simultaneously. It was phenomenal. The story was riveting. It was heartbreaking, tender, harrowing, compelling, breathtaking and all around gorgeous. I recommend it to fans of strong heroines such as Scarlet, fans of Peter Pan and readers looking for a fantasy novel that will make them feel an array of emotions.

“If there was a true moment that Tiger Lily fell so in love with Peter she could never turn back, it was that night, when he shivered and walked and told her he was warm, and told her he loved her so much. She was fierce, to be sure, but she had a girl’s heart, after all.”

If you want a darker retelling that will leave you shocked and raw…

The Child Thief by Brom

Brom completely re-imagines the tale of Peter Pan, turning it into a thoroughly detailed and layered story. Avalon was once a magical and beautiful paradise, until man showed up on its shores. The “man” in question being the Captain and his crew (saw that one coming, didn’t you?) The crew is made up not of not savage men, but puritans (but really, what’s the difference?) looking to start a new civilization. Brom tells the tale of horror, betrayal and dedication through a child narrator named Nick, a narrator I quickly fell in love with. Nick is a strong minded boy, who attempts to stand up for what is right while shirking away from what would be “easy.” If you are looking for a more adult retelling, one that will leave you raw then pick up The Child Thief…

Those that I have had on my TBR for a while…

To read aloud with the kiddos…

Hook’s Revenge by Heidi Schulz

“Captain Hook’s feisty daughter hits the high seas to avenge her father’s death at the jaws of the Neverland crocodile” Sign me up, am I right? From what I have heard Hook’s Revenge is filled with laughs and wholehearted fun. From what I am gathering, this is the perfect novel to read aloud with the kids!

If you want something a little more romantic…

Hook & Jill by Andrea Jones

I found this novel on a whim as I was perusing Goodreads one day and it seems as if the blurb hardly does it justice…”Wendy intends to live happily ever after with Peter Pan. But Time, like this tale,behaves in a most unsettling way. As Wendy mothers the Lost Boys in Neverland, they thrive on adventure. She struggles to keep her boys safe from the Island’s many hazards, but she finds a more subtle threat encroaching from an unexpected quarter. . .” < Spoiler alert: that threat is Captain Hook! Sign me up!

A lovable villain and some historical fiction? Yes, please!

Alias Hook by Lisa Jensen

Another romantic retelling! Also? You guys know that I love me a villain!! Can not WAIT to read this one! Meet Captain James Benjamin Hook, a witty, educated Restoration-era privateer cursed to play villain to a pack of malicious little boys in a pointless war that never ends. But everything changes when Stella Parrish, a forbidden grown woman, dreams her way to the Neverland in defiance of Pan’s rules. From the glamour of the Fairy Revels, to the secret ceremonies of the First Tribes, to the mysterious underwater temple beneath the Mermaid Lagoon, the magical forces of the Neverland open up for Stella as they never have for Hook. And in the pirate captain himself, she begins to see someone far more complex than the storybook villain.

A brand new retelling showing that Peter is much more villainous than Captain Hook…

Never Never by Brianna Shrum

This story isn’t about Peter Pan; it’s about the boy whose life he stole. It’s about a man in a world that hates men. It’s about the feared Captain James Hook and his passionate quest to kill the Pan, an impossible feat in a magical land where everyone loves Peter Pan.

I can’t leave you guys hanging without our other re-tellings now can I…?

rufio

Hook is one of the best movies ever made. Ever. Why don’t you go ahead and banish anyone who says differently as you don’t need that sort of negativity in your life. BANGARANG!

And with that, I leave you…

Hook

Beyond Books: Lost in Translation

I am afraid I am going to get all English Major on you guys today. I have to say that one of my favorite things about my current position as a Librarian are the research questions that I get to assist with every day. We often have a lot of trouble in the library when trying to find novels for bilingual patrons. Although there is a definite need in the library for novels that have been translated into different languages, due to budget constraints this rarely happens.This got me thinking about the value of literature, language and their working relationship. What resources are there for those who need things such as websites translated? As a research librarian, I clearly embarked on a journey to find answers to this question! I found many resources but was especially impressed by the translation software provided by Smartling. From what I can gather, based on the needs of the customer, Smartling uses human translation and the translation software platform so that the best quality and accuracy is provided. I am sure you all have experience using Google translate, and I am sure that you have found that sometimes their translation just doesn’t make sense. Smartling strives to preserve and carry over the original intent and purpose of the text, without losing anything in translation.

It is no question that much is lost in translation. Though we are provided with the gist of a story, it is not reaching to say that we miss the essence when missing out on reading in the original text. One of the greatest examples that I can think of is when looking back to my days working in a high school when my students would ask for “No Fear Shakespeare.” I have to be honest, this is a great resource as some really struggle with the language used in Shakespeare’s original works but the flow of the story is lost. We go from “For never was a story of more woe, than this of Juliet and her Romeo,” to something like, “there was never a story sadder than of Juliet and Romeo.” It doesn’t flow as well as the first one, it doesn’t rhyme, and is far from lyrical. Imagine then, what we miss when we have actual translations of classical literature.

So my question to you is this, if your favorite piece of literature were to be translated into another language, what would be the most important aspect you would like to remain consistent between languages? How does the language of the piece bring the story to life? Or, do you think that we would have the same ideals and values if certain classic literature had remained only in its original language?

Review: Lion Heart by A.C. Gaughen

Title: Lion Heart

Author: A.C. Gaughen

Publishing Information:  May 19, 2015 by  Bloomsbury USA Childrens

Genre: Young Adult, Historical Fiction, Romance, Retellings, Fantasy

Series Information: Book 3 in the Scarlet Trilogy

Format: Hardcover, 348 pages

Source: Obtained an ARC for review via the publisher

Recommended For: Fans of strong heroines, and those of you needing some consolation after finishing Lady Thief

Related Reviews: Review of Scarlet by A.C. Gaughen

Imprisoned by Prince John for months, Scarlet finds herself a long way from Nottinghamshire. After a daring escape from the Prince’s clutches, she learns that King Richard’s life is in jeopardy, and Eleanor of Aquitaine demands a service Scarlet can’t refuse: spy for her and help bring Richard home safe. But fate—and her heart—won’t allow her to stay away from Nottinghamshire for long, and together, Scarlet and Rob must stop Prince John from going through with his dark plans for England. They can not rest until he’s stopped, but will their love be enough to save them once and for all?

Oh this series, I love it so. Scarlet is strong and feisty and an absolutely lovable heroine. Rob had to grow on me a little during the first two books, he was swoon-worthy for sure but I needed him to just put in a little bit of effort to try and work through his own “scars.” In Lion Heart, the secondary characters again stole my heart. I adored Allan and his antics, he was hilarious and though he was a jokester, it was clear that he had heart and cared about Scarlet as if she was his true sister. David is another new addition, and he is a perfect opposite of Allan. He loves and cares for Scarlet and her well-being, and is her dedicated knight so he is very adamant about doing things the “correct” way. That is to say, he doesn’t always go for Rob and Scar stealing kisses due to their lack of marriage! I loved the antics between Allan and David, and found them to be fantastic additions to the crew that I had crown to love from the prior two novels.

In terms of plot, if I am being completely honest I have to say that this book was lacking the multitude of edge of your seat moments, the angst, and the heartache from the first two books. That isn’t to say that it wasn’t still filled with these things, believe me when I say that Gaughen has not lost her knack for plucking at the heart strings, but these moments were just second to the overarching hope and love found throughout the novel. Lion Heart was made up with much happier moments than the first two books, a lot more love, a lot more relishing in hope. While reading Lion Heart I couldn’t help but think that Gaughen was giving her fans something to make up for all of the heartache that happened in Lady Thief. The ending, though a little rushed, was also rather fantastic. To say that Scarlet came into her own, and learned how to use her underlying strength to obtain her end goal would be an understatement. She stood up for her rights, and suffered many losses *weeps in corner* but in the end she was able to take a big step toward making things right.

Upon finishing I did feel as if the ending was a little abrupt, and that there were some loose ends needing to be tied up <highlight for spoiler>For example, I was totally seeing a little something romantic between Allan and David, SOMEONE TELL ME IF THEY FELT THIS TOO?!<end spoiler> so I reached out to the author on Twitter and she (kind of) confirmed that little spoiler up here ^ and dropped that she would ENJOY writing a novella or something to shed a little light on a few things. I say you guys go read this series, come back here, and we will petition to Bloomsbury to LET THIS HAPPEN. Sound good? Overall I found that Lion Heart was filled with even more strength and light and wonder than the first two books. I loved it, and thought it a great conclusion to the series. If you are looking for the swoons, the kisses, the sweetness that we have been waiting for between Scar and Rob, Lion Heart delivers. I absolutely recommend this series, in fact I can’t recommend it enough.

“You see the world as fixed and finite, and it is not. It is liquid and ever moving, and one act can change everything.”

On the Same Page: The Wrath and the Dawn by Renee Ahdieh

Title: The Wrath and the Dawn

Author: Renee Ahdieh

Publishing Information:  May 12, 2015 by Putnam Juvenile

Genre: Young Adult, Fantasy, Romance, Retelling

Series Information: Book one in the Wrath and the Dawn duet

Format: Hardcover, 388 pages

Source: Received an ARC from the publisher via Edelweiss *all quotes based on an unfinished copy

Recommended For: Readers looking for something that feels familiar but is wholly different, and anyone needing a multitude of swoons

Related Reviews: My review, Amy’s Pinterest board and Brittany’s review

Hi friends! I am sure that by now you have already read my RAVE REVIEW of The Wrath and the Dawn by Renee Ahdieh. Well, I loved this novel so much that I was highlighting so many quotes while reading. As you know, quotes are my favorite! So I am dedicating this On the Same Page post to the best quotes of the novel. Also? I preordered The Wrath and the Dawn. I never preorder books!! So go read Amy’s post, and Brittany’s post and then go preorder this book immediately because it was definitely the best debut that I have read this year! So, without further ado, the quotes!

Shazi to the wolves

“So you would have me throw Shazi to the wolves?”
“Shazi?” Jalal’s grin widened. “Honestly, I pity the wolves.”

beautiful laugh Continue reading

Bard on the Blogs: Guest Post by Amy from Tripping Over Books

Bard

Hi friends! Today is our last day of Bard on the Blogs which means I am going to remind you one last time to go forth and enter a Rafflecopter giveaway because we want to give you a Shakespeare retelling, my friends!! Also don’t forget to head over to Alexa’s blog to see what amazing posts she has to offer!!! My very dear friend Amy from Tripping Over Books is gracing us with her lovely presence today and she even made a MAP! WE LOVE MAPS OVER HERE, FOLKS!! Take it away, Ame!

First of all, I want to thank Alyssa and Alexa for hosting this wonderful event! I’ve always enjoyed Shakespeare, so it’s fun to be able to talk about him and his work in all kinds of new and fun ways.

Second of all, I had a great time making my World of Shakespeare map! Even knowing his works in limited detail like I do, it’s clear that very few of Shakespeare’s plays take place in his own country, especially in his own time. This map isn’t about chronology, though. Just straightforward geography. It doesn’t include any of his histories, either.
A few notes: If a play takes place in more than one country, I only used one on my map. That’s simply logistical; I didn’t have enough room. This map is also of Western Europe, but some of Shakespeare’s plays don’t take place there. So, alas, some locations and works are only mere notes on the side. There are also a few plays that don’t have any specific location within a country, so I just made one note for those as well. For places–basically Italy–that had SO MANY PLAYS, I put pushpins in the actual locations, but grouped the notes into bigger groups. You’ll see.
So, without further ado, A MAP!

World of Shakespeare

Bard on the Blogs: Guest Post by Candice From The Grown-Up YA

Bard

Today we have Candice from The Grown-Up YA chatting about different adaptations of Much Ado About Nothing! As I told you guys before, this play has the best adaptations! Enjoy her reviews and clips below and then head over to a Rafflecopter giveaway to enter our giveaway for a chance to win a Shakespeare retelling of your choice!

One of my favorite Shakespeare plays is Much Ado About Nothing. I’ve loved this one since I was young and feel like I get more out of it every time I watch it! My favorite thing about this particular play is the two main characters, Benedick and Beatrice. I’ve always been a fan of witty characters who banter with each other, although wouldn’t surprise me if the reason I loved these types of characters was because of these two!

Today I’m talking about 3 different adaptions of this play, all of which I encourage you to go watch! I’ve focused on the two main characters, Benedick and Beatrice, and about how great I found these performances to be!

Much Ado About Nothing (2012) – Joss Whedon version

When I heard my favorite director was going to be adapting my favorite play starring my favorite TV couple I swear I squealed for DAYS. I literally became the ultimate fan girl. What made this one even better is that it is chock full of Whedon-esque actors.

With a modern day setting and only minimal changes, I was very glad to see that this adaptation stuck to the original play. At first I might have had a teensy bit of trouble separating Benedick and Beatrice from Wesley and Fred, but after a little while that went away. The film definitely has that indie, college film student, foreign film vibe going on but I thought that just added oh so much to the story.

One thing I did notice about the portrayals in this adaptation was that it was very somber at times. While in other adaptations the interactions between these two characters are active and almost border-line comedic, I felt this one took on a darker tone and certain lines felt like a punch in the gut. There was a little back story created between Benedick and Beatrice, so hearing some of their dialogue changed the meaning from light banter to pain-tinged arguments.

Much Ado About Nothing (2011) – Wyndham Theatre/DigitalTheatre.com Version (aka Doctor Who edition)

Now for some more fangirling! Did you know that there is a Doctor Who edition of Much Ado About Nothing? Did you? DID YOU?! I didn’t either.

But there is!!!

So maybe it’s not ACTUALLY a Doctor Who edition, but it does star some of my favorite Doctor Who actors! David Tenant and Catherine Tate star as Benedick and Beatrice and honestly these two can do no wrong! This is actually a stage version but you can watch it at DigitalTheater.com (I know I will be!)

I watched a few clips from it and man oh man David Tenant really knows how to stretch his acting legs. While I love how he acts anyway, there is nothing better than when he really gets going. His whole body expresses what he is saying, his facial expressions are top notch, and throw in that Scottish accent and it’s like something magical happens! And Catherine Tate is just phenomenal period. I love her humor and the way she can deliver a line. While I can’t see her as anything but Donna Noble, the little I’ve seen of her as Beatrice was perfectly endearing!

One thing that I think is oh so important to these roles is the chemistry between the two actors. Benedick and Beatrice, while disliking each other, have this perfect chemistry that allows them to banter and bicker flawlessly. It’s a battle of wits, to the death! Tenant and Tate have great chemistry already which I think makes them both perfect for this bantering couple.

And then there’s this scene…

David Tenant never ceases to entertain me!

Much Ado About Nothing (1993) – Kenneth Brannaugh version

I would be absolutely remiss if I didn’t talk about the performance that made me absolutely fall in love with this play, the 1993 film with Kenneth Brannaugh, Emma Thompson and every other popular 90s actor.

Let’s be honest: Kenneth Brannaugh is phenomenal. I have yet to see a role he has played that I have hated. Ditto times a million for Emma Thompson. These two are like the Hollywood dream team in my opinion and their performances as Benedick and Beatrice were spot on.

I love this particular scene. Even though they’re both being pretty scathing to each other, you don’t feel like you’re watching something completely awkward and horrible. It’s like either of them could say something absolutely horrible to you but with the way they said it you would probably laugh and go have a beer with them afterwards.

What strikes most about these two characters is their range as actors. They can both express a myriad of emotions and feelings and thoughts seamlessly. These two characters certainly have a way with words and their tongues are extremely quick; while I’ve never played either role (obviously) I imagine with all those words their meaning can easily be missed. I never felt that Brannaugh nor Thompson let me miss a single thing thanks to their spot on delivery.

This play truly has it all: deception, love, mystery, romance, deception (so much that I listed it twice!), comedy, wit, pain, passion… Out of all Shakepeare’s plays, this one really captured my attention and my heart.

Bard on the Blogs: Guest Post by Emma from Miss Print

Bard

Hello there, friends! Today, we have Emma from Miss Print chatting all about one of my favorite sonnets by William Shakespeare, Sonnet 130! After you are done reading, head on over to check out Emma’s blog and Twitter and head over to a Rafflecopter giveaway and enter for a chance to win a Shakespeare retelling of your choice!

What’s the first word that comes to mind when you hear the name William Shakespeare?

For me, the immediate answer is “poet.”

Considering the iambic pentameter of his plays, it makes sense that Shakespeare was also a brilliant

poet who wrote 154 sonnets

over the course of his lifetime. In each sonnet, he drew out beautiful imagery and sentiments from the

rigid form that follows a specific line structure and rhyme scheme.

One of my favorite Shakespeare sonnets, one I refer to often when trying to improve my own writing, is

Sonnet 130.

Sonnet CXXX

My mistress’ eyes are nothing like the sun;

Coral is far more red, than her lips red:

If snow be white, why then her breasts are dun;

If hairs be wires, black wires grow on her head.

I have seen roses damasked, red and white,

But no such roses see I in her cheeks;

And in some perfumes is there more delight

Than in the breath that from my mistress reeks.

I love to hear her speak, yet well I know

That music hath a far more pleasing sound:

I grant I never saw a goddess go,

My mistress, when she walks, treads on the ground:

And yet by heaven, I think my love as rare,

As any she belied with false compare.

Like the best poems, Sonnet 130 is layered. Instead of showering his mistress with false comparisons,

the narrator suggests that he loves her all the more fiercely for seeing her clearly–a beautiful thought

that is as relevant today as it would have been in Shakespeare’s own lifetime.

The interplay between what is overtly stated and what is left unsaid here works as a primer for how to

write and how to do it well. This sonnet never calls the subject of the poem beautiful or any other

niceties. Still, by the end, it’s impossible to think the narrator feels anything but a deep love for the

subject.

Sonnet 130 challenges everything readers think they know about love poems–and it does so with

humor. Being a sonnet is impressive enough, but also being funny and conversational? Being timely and

relevant while being more than four hundred years old? Astonishing.

Like a magician diverting the audience’s attention, Shakespeare’s Sonnet 130 is a misdirect of sorts as he

uses simple language and plain ideas to give voice to an abstract concept. And, really, isn’t that the

standard to which every poem, not to mention every writer, should strive?

Bard on the Blogs: Guest Post – Review: The Merry Wives of Windsor by Erika of Rickus Bookshelf

Bard

Today we have a great post by Erika from Rickus Bookshelf! Erika has reviewed one of the lesser known plays by William Shakespeare. The Merry Wives of Windsor! Don’t forget to head over to a Rafflecopter giveaway to enter for a chance to win a Shakespeare retelling of your choice!

The Merry Wives of Windsor.

Picture from http://publishingperspectives.com/2012/09/will-the-real-john-falstaff-please-stand-up/

When speaking of Shakespeare, one mostly thinks of Romeo and Juliet, Macbeth and Hamlet. But in all honesty, Shakespeare is so much more.

The Merry Wives of Windsor is one of Shakespeare’s comedies and one of the underrated ones. It also happens to be my favourite. It is believed to have been written in the late 1500s or the early 1600s, apparently this cannot be completely certified. It isn’t really important for this review anyway.

The play is built like a farce. It relies heavily on physical gags and several linguistic jokes (although this is not uncommon with Shakespeare), which gives life to the comical theme of the play. It is probably the play of Shakespeare’s that is the most fun to watch due to the way it is staged. The intrigue in Merry Wives is never too dramatic as it is in some of his other comedies, instead the tone is jovial throughout and never deviates from this joviality. The characters are of course what makes the play, and the mix of personalities only enhance the comical air of the play.

Characters (There are many more than those below, but these are the important ones)

Mistresses Ford and Page are the wives of Windsor. They are both married, Ford to a jealous man and Page to a very trusting man. They both receive a letter from Falstaff, wherein he tries to seduce them. Both are very affronted by this and swears revenge. Not in an evil vindictive way, but in a manner that will teach him a lesson (well, possibly also ruin him). Mistress Page is also battling her husband over who their daughter should marry: both of them supporting different suitors.

Falstaff is a knight and a character that can be found in several of Shakespeare’s plays. He believes himself to be God’s gift to women and tries to seduce most of them. He tries to seduce Mistresses Ford and Page in order to get his hands on their husbands’ cash.

MWoW2

Picture from http://londonist.com/2010/08/theatre_review_merry_wives_of_winds.php

Master Ford is the extremely jealous husband of Mistress Ford. He believes that his wife cannot be trusted, and creates his own plot to catch her in the act of cheating. He creates a persona, Master Brooke and intends to get Falstaff to aid him in catching his wife cheating. However, he finds that his wife has already sent a letter to Falstaff, asking him to come to her house.

The main plot is centred around the wives clever plotting, Falstaff hubris and Ford’s jealousy. However, there is also a subplot, which focuses on the  fair Anne Page (Master Page and Mistress Page’s daughter) and who she will choose to marry. Both her parents wants her to marry different men, neither in which Anne is interested. She has her eye set on a third suitor.

An honourable mention goes out to Mistress Quickly. She is a servant to the town’s French doctor and acts as everyone’s messenger. She creates her own little plots and is the one who actually listens to Anne and helps her get the man she want’s. Mistress Quickly has a knack for misunderstanding and mishearing conversations, hearing sexual innuendos where there are none (well, it’s Shakespeare. There are always sexual innuendos).

So, why should you read/watch this amazing play? Because it is one of the few of Shakespeare’s plays that will not upset anyone (apart from maybe the French or the Welsh). “What?” I hear you say. What I mean by that is that the women are strong without being mean or cruel, the men who are flawed (like jealous Master Ford) are redeemed at the end of the play and see the error of their way. Love and reason conquer all. Exactly what you want from a comedy. The only “mean” jokes are made when speaking of the French doctor or the Welsh clergyman.

The female characters in this play are just fabulous. They are strong-willed, yet loving. They get to be clever and demand revenge for a slight on their person, without being labelled cruel or demonic. Female friendship is also celebrated and the friendship between the two women is an equal one, wherein they both support and help each other. The male characters (well, mostly Ford) are redeemed and learn the importance of trust and love. Falstaff is publically shamed for his behaviour at the end of the play, and shown that one should not mess with another man’s wife. The Page’s realises that they should have listened to their daughter and respected her wishes. Everybody gets a happy ending. Like any good comedy that is.

The final question is: should you read it or watch it? As we all know, Shakespeare can be quite tricky to read due to the language. This is one of those plays that you kind of need to watch to fully appreciate it. Since a lot of it is dependent on physical gags, reading it fails to bring out all the finer points of the play. It can actually get boring when you read it, but this is never the case when watching it. I totally recommend you to get a hold of Shakespeare’s Globes official DVD recording of the play, it is brilliant.

Bard on the Blogs: Shakespeare in Popular Culture – Guest Post by C.J. of ebookclassics

Bard

Okay, I am incredibly excited for today’s post! Today we have C.J. from ebookclassics writing about Shakespeare references in popular culture! I LOVE when I find references to some of my favorite works – this happens often for me as I love Shakespeare and The Wizard of Oz, they are always referenced! Let’s see what C.J. found!!

Also don’t forget to check out a Rafflecopter giveaway to enter for a chance to win a Shakespeare retelling of your choice!

Shakespeare References in Pop Culture by ebookclassics

Although I still struggle to understand the work of Shakespeare, I fully appreciate his genius and nothing makes me happier than seeing references to his many wonderful plays and poems in pop culture. You probably have heard of Shakespeare references in Star Trek and Disney movies, but some of the more recent references you may have missed include the following:

1. Iron Man rewording a Shakespeare quote to tease Thor in The Avengers movie (2014).

avengers

2. William Shakespeare as a master builder in The Lego Movie (2014) and heckling Emmett, the main character.

3. The Bard is a favorite of Orange is the New Black’s fierce poem quoting Crazy Eyes played by Uzo Aduba.

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4. The pairing of Shakespeare’s star-crossed lovers with our strange obsession with zombies in Warm Bodies by Isaac Marion, both a popular YA novel (2010) and movie (2013).

warm bodies

5. MacHomer, a play that combines the doh-ness of Homer Simpson with Shakespeare’s most intense protagonist.

6. Mumford and Son’s debut album title, Sigh No More (2009), is taken from Shakespeare’s Much Ado About Nothing and several lines from the play are in the song.

7. The Tenth Doctor and Martha meet Shakespeare and foil a dastardly plot in The Shakespeare Code (Doctor Who, series 3, 2007).

doctor who

8. Who would know better than someone close to her? The novel, Juliet’s Nurse by Lois Leveen (2014) is a modern retelling of Romeo and Juliet.

9. We see how two black men in Shakespeare’s time react to Othello in a hilarious Key and Peele skit (2013).

key and peele

10. The addictive, House of Cards, is greatly influenced by Shakespeare and, in particular, Richard III, with Frank Underwood played by Kevin Spacey often breaking the fourth wall with the audience.

house of cards

What do you love about Shakespeare? What are some of your favorite Shakespeare references in pop culture?