On the Shelf: William Shakespeare Without the Boring Bits

ws With the exception of acting the part of Mustard Seed in my junior high’s production of A Midsummer’s Night Dream and reading Romeo and Juliet in high school, my Shakespeare education has, at best, been minimal. Even in light of graduating from an English university with a masters in English (and visiting Stratford-on-Avon), my knowledge  of Shakespeare has remained embarrassingly slight.

So, in a valiant effort to correct this glaring literary gap, I picked up a copy of Peter Ackroyd’s William Shakespare Without the Boring Bits. Let me start off by saying the volume of books on Shakespeare is overwhelming. Amazon him and no fewer than thousands of guides appear. Look him up in a bookstore and you’ll still find a dizzying array of nonfiction all promising to easily reveal his genius.

I picked up Ackroyd’s book because, after reading a few paragraphs, it seemed approachable and relevant. And, as I can now say, wholly worthwhile.

After a helpful introduction, Ackroyd organizes his book according to the Plays (History, Greek and Roman, Comedies, Tragedies and Romances) along with a section devoted to the poems and sonnets. I particularly enjoyed the last section-titled the Wit and Wisdom of Shakespeare-for explaining just why famous passages have remained popular.

The sections about the plays are thorough, yet not overbearing, and provide the context along with their possible  inspiration and plot and character synopsis. While I definitely didn’t retain every details, these sections were enlightening and will be even more helpful when I see a Shakespeare play in the future and need a quick update.

How well do you know Shakespeare? Do you have a favorite play? Quote? Ashleigh read sonnet 116 at our wedding and it has remained hopeful and special to me.

 

Travel Mondays: Getting to Know Morocco

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A photo my husband snapped while camel trekking through the Sahara Dessert in Morocco.

Four years ago my husband spent a month in Morocco and although I’ve heard all of his stories and insights by now, it’s a topic that never feels boring to us. Maybe because I’ve never been and I’m simply aching to go. Last week I had fun doing more research on this wholly exotic country and putting together a dream itinerary in the below article. I hope it inspires you!

Morocco is many things at once. Bordering Algeria and all but touching Spain, the country officially resides in North Africa, but its cultural core is French meets Middle-East. The souks and medinas smell of spice and mint and monkeys and are reminiscent of scenes from One Thousand and One Nights. The cities are rich, unexpected and diverse. The result is a country which changes from the medieval to colonial to the familiar. Travel experiences are equally diverse. Here’s what you shouldn’t miss:

Read the whole article here on DreamPlanGo!

Our Easter Celebrations

Hello, everyone! How was your Easter? Did you spend good time with family or friends?  B and I had a really fun Easter weekend in Fargo. Lots of delicious food and time with my favorite little people. The only downside was that the time just flew by! Even for being a three day weekend!

I’ll be following this post up with the usual Travel Mondays, but wanted to share a few photos from our Easter Sunday:

Post Easter-candy silliness (Gigi on the L, Nanie R)

Post Easter-candy silliness (Gigi on the L, Nanie R)

Even Winston got in on the Easter hunt goodies.

Even Winston got in on the Easter hunt goodies.

"Audrey, stop wunnin' away! You're too yiddle to pay by yoself."

“Audrey, stop wunnin’ away! You’re too yiddle to pay by yoself.”

Little Sophie was quite unprepared for keeping up with Jackson, Nanie and Gigi's egg hunting skills.

Little Sophie was quite unprepared for keeping up with Jackson, Nanie and Gigi’s egg hunting skills.

So much sunshine!

So much sunshine!

“Why do you look for the living among the dead? He is not here; He is risen!” Luke 24:5-6

Have a Lovely Easter Weekend

I honestly can’t stop looking at the clock. Although it’s only been a four day week (office is closed tomorrow!), it’s honestly felt like six and I’m so eager to head home tonight. Snow, long drive et all!

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Easter egg hunt with Gigi and Nanie, circa 2010.

What are your plans for Easter? B and I are going out with my sis and bro-in-law on Good Friday and celebrating Easter Sunday over at my parents. I can’t remember the last three day weekend I spent at home, so it will be so nice.

I’ve stocked up on Cadbury’s and candies in honor of the big egg hunt on Sunday (I still can’t believe the girls are 6!), but have otherwise kept things really simple. However, it’s not too late to dye and decorate Easter eggs or prepare a special dessert.

Here are some Easter-related links for crafts + activities + desserts…

Darling Peeps cupcakes

The sweetest little Easter bunny cookies

A tasty idea for someone with a bit more time on their hands

The slighter healthier, but still delicious version of Paula Dean’s Gooey Butter Cake

How to dye Easter eggs without the mess

Easy sugar cookie fruit cups

How pretty are these glitterey Easter eggs?

Easter games from Martha Stewart

Have a wonderful holiday, everyone!

 “Praise be to the God and Father of our Lord Jesus Christ! In his great mercy he has given us new birth into a living hope through the resurrection of Jesus Christ from the dead.” -1 Peter 1:3

No Fuss Fashion

readyI have a confession to make.  Most mornings I’m amazed that Brady even lets me leave the house. Between talking Audrey out (she steps ever so slowly out onto the cool morning grass, softly listening for signs of life before inhaling the scents of fresh dew and leisurely moving across the lawn…), waiting for B to get out of the bathroom (Brady! unlock the door! why do you always lock the door?) and throwing a lunch together, I’m never running fewer than ten minutes late. When I do get into the car, the next battle begins.

Balancing a bowl of Greek yogurt in my lap and hoping my coffee in the cup holder doesn’t spill, I apply my mascara, trying to smudge my bad-aim from under my eyes before moving to the lipstick. Now this really needs to be precise, but lo! I’m already at the office. Okay, quick, before someone sees: line the lips, color ‘em in, now go! Juggle my overflowing purse, packed lunch, coffee cup, bowl of yogurt and, on yoga days, gym bag. Slam the door, somehow manage to open the office door and, as no small miracle, fall gratefully onto my desk. Rinse and repeat Monday through Friday.

Alright, so something has got to change, right? The most logical solution would be setting my alarm a half-hour earlier or, say, packing my lunch the night before. But this raises other issues. The evenings, you see, are an equally blurred scene of taking Audrey out/going to the gym/making dinner/taking Audrey out/doing last night’s dishes and, if time’s in my favor, reading 15 minutes before falling into a coma. Ah, the blissful pace of life in America!

No, you see, no matter how hard I try, I can’t get up earlier.  But! I can keep my outfits simple. This, I’ve discovered, is the magic formula:

Loose crop trousers + tighter fitting shirt + heels

Voilà! kinda of like this:

cropWhat I really like about this combination is that you can mix in prints and mix and match colors, but the overall look is still clean and easy. So! You know now my calm morning routine + office uniform. Now, tell me, what’s yours?

Imagescourtesy of theberry and Asos