The Secret Sister Project (6)

secret sister project

I cannot believe that it is already time for round SIX of #OTSPSECRETSISTER!!

Let’s first get some housekeeping things out of the way…

The two most important things to do when signing up to be a part of this project are:

  1. Head over to the google form which coincides with your monetary tier and fill it out in full. NOTE: IF YOU FORGET TO DO THIS THEN YOU WILL NOT BE PAIRED. THIS IS LITERALLY WHAT WE ARE USING TO PAIR YOU UP, IF YOU AREN’T ON THE FORM, WE CAN NOT PAIR YOU.
  2. BEFORE scrolling down to the questions, and BEFORE signing up to be a part of this project please THOROUGHLY read our FAQ and Rules post. Memorize the rules and refers back to it throughout the project. We have had to put more strict standards in place due to prior issues and therefore there is little leeway for tolerance of people not abiding the “rules.”

Just to cover all of our bases let me reiterate a few things, but please keep in mind that this is just a basic glossing over of these rules, we go more in detail and clarify everything in the main post that we are asking you to reference.

First, please remember that this is a commitment. By signing up to be a secret sister you are promising to send at least one small card AND gift to your secret sister a month depending on the “monetary group” for which you sign up. Only those in the pen pal tier are not expected to send gifts, that is strictly letters/cards. IN ADDITION to packages, you are also asked to send letters and or/postcards to foster positive communication. Many people asked for their to be an emphasis on the pen pal aspects of this project and we have been working hard to remind everyone that it’s not about the gifts, and this seems like the perfect way to do so. 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!

Last thing, sign-ups run from January 13 to midnight on January 27!

The Rules:

  • You must “know” one of the hosts in order to join! 
  • You must be 18 or older to participate in The Secret Sister Project 
  • You must actively use the hashtag #OTSPSecretSister during your time participating in The Secret Sister Project.
  • If we have to reach out to you more than once to ask if you why your sister hasn’t yet received anything then you will be asked to cease in participating.
  • If we contact you and ask if you sent something to your sister and you say yes but are unable to provide tracking for the package then you will be asked to cease in participating. 
  • If you have not received anything by the end of the month then YOU must contact US.
  • If for any reason you find that you have to drop out of this project, please email us immediately.
  • You will be asked to provide the name and contact info (email addresses, please) of a “buddy” who will be willing to answer questions put forth by your sister. We are asking that you keep this to someone who is in the community and therefore will be easy to contact. Husbands/moms/sisters are not easy or comfortable to contact.*Don’t stress out about this. This person will be available to ask you questions from your sister, or let you know to check your mail. It is not necessary for this person to know you inside and out, just that they have the ability to be contacted, and to contact you when your sister has a question. Additionally, do not bog this person down with incessant questions, use your best judgement when possible and get creative!
  • Below, you will be asked to provide a Goodreads or Amazon wish list with 20 or more books including newer and older titles that is specific to The Secret Sister Project. *Do not share this list with anyone else!
  • You must answer ALL of the questions put forth in the sign-up email as well as be detailed and thorough. We will absolutely be sending emails back to you that we deem “incomplete.”
  • Keep in mind that there is strong emphasis on the pen pal aspect. Meaning that if you have signed up for one of the higher price ranges, you should still send a letters to your sister.
  • Do not tweet or use the hashtag to ask for specific and/or luxurious items.
  • Do not tweet negativity while using the hashtag
  • Do not send swag
  • Pay attention to your sister’s likes/dislikes and wishilists
  • ARCs and shipping do not count toward your monetary limit
  • Do not send packages directly from Amazon

I cannot say this enough times, read and re-read our FAQ and Rules post. If you do not abide by the rules, you will no longer be allowed to participate.

Okay, now we can move on to the fun stuff!

So how do I sign up?

It’s easy! Just answer every question in the questionnaire below and email it over to onthesamepagesecretsister@gmail.com by midnight on January 27! ALSO In addition to the questionnaire, you will also be asked to answer a few questions for a Google form. PLEASE NOTE: If you do not fill out BOTH of these things in full, then you will NOT be paired. This is what we will be using to pair, so DO NOT FORGET. Please remember to thoroughly answer each and every question, and keep in mind that there is no such thing as saying “too much!” We will send back any unfinished questionnaires, so be as thorough and detailed as you can! If you need some help filling this out, head back over to a previous round’s FAQ and Rules post and check out the example we provided!

For those of you wishing to join the Pen Pal Tier ONLY: please still fill out the questionnaire in full with the exception of your wish lists. The questions will be a good way for us to pair you up with someone, and for your pen pal to get to know you.

International participants: Please use this Google form to sign up instead of one coinciding with the tiers. There will be a place for you to fill out your preference of which tier you would like to belong but we can not guarantee this. Due to international participation being low, we may have to put you all into the same tier, which will most likely be chosen by the majority vote, in order to ensure that you all get a match!

Here we go!

Name: 

Mailing Address: 

Is the above address a residence/PO Box/Condo/place of employment: (*As in, will your mail get to you when the tracking says delivered, or will you need to wait to get to the mailbox/mailroom?)

Email Address: 

Blog: 

Twitter Name:

Did you participate in one of the prior rounds of the Secret Sister Project? If yes, which round?

If yes, please provide us with the names of your former sisters (those you gave to, and received from – it is okay if you don’t yet know who is sending to you this round):

How much are you willing to contribute to the project monthly? Choose one (NOTE: this is just a range, you can of course go over the limit but please keep the pen pal aspect in mind, and please remember that is about cheer and not just gifts.) REMINDER: International participants are to fill out THIS google form only, do not fill out one provided below.

  • Pen pals: That’s right, this is strictly letters and cards. No trinkets, no extras, nothing besides letters. If you want to send ANYTHING more than a letter or a card every month then we ask that you sign up for one of the higher monetary tiers. *IF YOU ARE CHOOSING THE PEN PAL TIER THEN CLICK HERE TO FILL OUT YOUR GOOGLE FORM
  • $5-$10: (Send a heartfelt letter to catch your sister up on how things are going that month and then send an e-book, 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!) *IF YOU ARE CHOOSING THE $5-$10 TIER THEN CLICK HERE TO FILL OUT YOUR GOOGLE FORM.
  • $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!!) *IF YOU ARE CHOOSING THE $15-$20 TIER THEN CLICK HERE TO FILL OUT YOUR GOOGLE FORM
  • $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!!) *IF YOU ARE CHOOSING THE $25+ TIER THEN CLICK HERE TO FILL OUT YOUR GOOGLE FORM

Your OTSPSecretSister “buddy’s” Twitter or email: (*We are asking that you keep this to someone who is in the community and therefore will be easy to contact. Husbands/moms/sisters are not easy or comfortable to contact. This person will be available to ask you questions put forth by your sister, or let you know to check your mail. It is not necessary for this person to know you inside and out, just that they have the ability to be contacted, and to contact you when your sister has a question. Do NOT bog this person down with incessant questions, use your best judgement when possible and get creative!)

Goodreads Profile (*so that they can access your wishlists! Make sure to turn off the privacy setting & try and keep it updated!):

Goodreads/Amazon bookish wishlist: (*must have at least 20 titles of older and newer titles, please try not to purchase any books off of this wishlist and if you do please let your sister know via your buddy or one of us. Do not give anyone else access to this list. Not parents, husbands, friends, co-workers, secret santas…NO ONE. If you do not want to share a wishlist by making it public, you may list the books here instead.)

“Other” wishlist: (*Keep these within reason for prices, etc! Please do not include pricey things, this is more for places like Etsy or for cheap DVDs on Amazon, and so on!)

Important Dates to Remember (*This can be anything and everything! Your birthday, the day you are expecting your baby, the day you are leaving for your next vacation, your anniversary with your partner, a big test you have coming up, the first day at your new job, the anniversary of the day you quit smoking, even a sad anniversary that you would like to be cheered up on!)

Your favorite items under $5: (things like stationary, nail polish, fav candy etc.)

Food Allergies:

Fandoms:

Your Likes (*Give us an array of things here! Types of snacks, TV shows, movies, bands/types of music, art):

Your Dislikes (*Example: chocolate covered cherries, anything cinnamon flavored, the color brown):

Do you have a favorite store?:

Are you okay receiving a gift card? If so, to where?

Would you be comfortable receiving baked goods of some kind?

What Do You Splurge On?: 

Favorite Flowers: 

Favorite Color?:

Favorite (or least favorite) smells: (*for things such as candles, soaps, bath bombs/bubbles, perfumes)

Do You Collect Anything?:

Do You Drink Coffee, Tea, Hot Chocolate?: 

Do You Have an E-reader?: 

Would you be okay being gifted an ebook? If so, please provide the email associated with your e-reader:

List some of your favorite genres or authors: 

Are there any authors or genres that you won’t read? 

T-shirt size:

Hogwarts House:

Favorite Disney movie and/or princess:

Any magazine that you wish you had a subscription to? 

Anything else we should know about you? (*Be thorough here! There is no such thing as “saying too much,” the more your “secret sister” knows, the easier it is to spoil you!)

Third and final reminder that you MUST also fill out a google spreadsheet which coincides with your monetary tier. Links can be found above, do not forget, or you WILL NOT be paired!!

As always, please remember that you can always reach out to us with any inquiries or issues, that is what we are here for! Use the #OTSPSecretSister hashtag to talk with us and your fellow sisters! Thank you for helping us continue to spread positivity and cheer throughout our little community!

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Fortnight of Fright: Mini Book Reviews by Emily of Emily Reads Everything

FoF2014

Hi loves! Today we have my friend Emily sharing some creepy reads with you! Em is one of my favorites and as we both love horror, I am going to comment after her recommendations so you can hear my thoughts as well! Take it away, girl!

I’m so excited to have the chance to join you today and grateful for the opportunity to guest post! Alyssa is so fun to follow on twitter. She’s snarky, honest and hilarious. We share a love of Neil Gaiman, the fall season and Halloween. Obviously, since she loves Gaiman, she has great taste in authors and books. Obviously some of you are not as refined as we are and might not enjoy horror. That’s ok, we can work on it. Today I’d like to share with you some Halloween reads, in order from slightly creepy to scare your socks off. I tried to choose a mix of older stories and newer releases. These perfect for a dark night when you are home alone and need some company. (She’s right, I am snarky and honest. Okay, and hilarious ;D)

Odd Thomas

This is not your typical horror series. Odd is quick to point out that he’s just a simple fry cook at the local diner. He just happens to be able to see the dead. Dead people don’t talk but they do try to communicate with odd and send him messages. This series is different. There’s always something dark lurking around the corner. However, Odd is such a ray of light, it’s hard to be too concerned. (Okay so I have never read any Koontz…I don’t know why but I have never really been interested! I do like the whole “I see dead people thing” this has going on though..)

John Dies at the End

So weird. That’s the only way to describe this book. Without ruining anything, the basic premise is that when two burnouts take a new drug called soy sauce, it causes them to see a whole new layer of the world. Suddenly they can see all sorts of things that people weren’t meant to see. They can’t unsee it and now everything in this hidden layer of the world can also see them. (I have NEVER heard of this and it sounds so trippy!! Adding it to the TBR)

Through the Woods

I never would have thought a graphic novel could be so creepy before reading this one. It’s a series of short stories. Several of them are gruesome fairytale retellings that would be right at home in the original Brother’s Grimm. I think what really sets the tone is the art style. It’s dark with muted colors and then brilliant pops of red for emphasis. If you aren’t sure about this, I would highly recommend checking out this website http://emcarroll.com/comics/faceallred/01.html His Face All Red is included in this book and it’s a great example of the style and tone of this collection. (I LOVE THIS BOOK WITH A FIERY PASSION!! IT WAS WRITTEN JUST FOR ME!! That is all.) Continue reading

Fortnight of Fright (4)

FoF2014

Wow. We are back here for a FOURTH year for Fortnight of Fright and I can hardly believe it!! As many of you know, September – January is my very favorite time of year and Halloween is my one true love! Therefore, it is no question that Fortnight of Fright is something that I love hosting along with Brittany (The Book Addicts Guide) and Amy (Tripping Over Books)!

For those of you who have no idea what I am talking about (hello, and welcome!) Fortnight of Fright is a time in which we host and share different posts related to fall and Halloween! We work with you guys and some amazing authors to showcase some creepy books, interviews, movies, and SO MUCH MOAR! There is no limit on what you can post about! Do you have a signature Halloween or Autumn cocktail recipe? Pinterest board filled with DIY decorations? A book recommendation for those of us who love to be scared? We want it all!! JOIN US!!

Sign ups will be open from 9/9-9/20 and you will be notified the following week to confirm your post topic, and so on. We are going to ask that all posts get to us the week of 10/12 as we will be hosting you during the event which runs from 10/19-10/31! As always, the more the merrier, so scroll on down to our Google Doc and sign up to help us out!

Also don’t forget about All Hallow’s Read and the giving of books in lieu of candy!

Wondering what we had going on from years past? Check it out:

The Secret Sister Project (3)

secret sister project

Okay, the moment you all have been waiting for…#OTSPSecretSister sign-ups for round 3 are here! YAY!

Let’s first get some housekeeping things out of the way…

BEFORE scrolling down to the questions, and BEFORE signing up to be a part of this project please THOROUGHLY read our FAQ and Rules post. Just to cover all of our bases let me reiterate a few things, but please keep in mind that this is just a basic glossing over of these rules, we go more in detail and clarify everything in the main post that we are asking you to reference.

First, please remember that this is a commitment. 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. IN ADDITION to this, you are also asked to send letters and or/postcards to foster positive communication. Many people asked for their to be an emphasis on the pen pal aspects of this project and we have been working hard to remind everyone that it’s not about the gifts, and this seems like the perfect way to do so. 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!

Last thing, sign-ups run from July 12 – midnight on July 25!

The Rules:

  • You must “know” one of the hosts in order to join!
  • You must be 18 or older to participate in The Secret Sister Project
  • You must actively use the hashtag #OTSPSecretSister during your time participating in The Secret Sister Project.
  • If we have to reach out to you more than twice to ask if you why your sister hasn’t yet received anything then you will be asked to cease in participating.
  • If we contact you and ask if you sent something to your sister and you say yes but are unable to provide tracking for the package then you will be asked to cease in participating.
  • If you have not received anything by the end of the month then YOU must contact US.
  • If for any reason you find that you have to drop out of this project, please email us immediately.
  • You will be asked to provide the name and contact info (Twitter and/or email address) of a “buddy” close to you who will be willing to answer questions put forth by your sister. *Stop stressing out about this. This person will be available to ask you questions from your sister, or let you know to check your mail. It is not necessary for this person to know you inside and out, just that they have the ability to be contacted, and to contact you when your sister has a question. Additionally, do not bog this person down with incessant questions, use your best judgement when possible and get creative!
  • Below, you will be asked to provide a Goodreads (or Amazon) wish list with 20 or more books including newer and older titles that is specific to The Secret Sister Project, start working on this now!
  • You must answer ALL of the questions put forth in the sign-up email as well as be detailed and thorough. We will absolutely be sending emails back to you that we deem “incomplete.”
  • Keep in mind that this round will have more emphasis on the pen pal aspect. Meaning that if you have signed up for one of the higher price ranges, you should still send a letter here or there to your sister.
  • Do not tweet or use the hashtag to ask for specific and/or luxurious items.
  • Do not tweet negativity while using the hashtag.

I cannot say this enough times, read and re-read our FAQ and Rules post. If you do not abide by the rules, you will no longer be allowed to participate.

Okay, now we can move on to the fun stuff!

So how do I sign up?

Continue reading

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 January 13 – January 27
  • You will be paired up with your secret sister by January 29
  • This session will run from February 1 – July 31 (this means that your last something will be sent in July)

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.” 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).

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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).

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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).

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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?