Wellington City Libraries

Te Matapihi Ki Te Ao Nui

Search options

Teen Blog

Reading, Wellington, and whatever else – teenblog@wcl.govt.nz

Tag: Shakespeare

Happy Death Day, William Shakespeare!

All the world’s a stage, and all the men and women merely players. Well, that was certainly the case during William Shakespeare’s life. This year marks Shakespeare’s, or the Bard of Avon, (assumed) 457th birthday on the 26th of April and 405th death anniversary on the 23rd April.
Image courtesy of Wikipedia

And pray tell, who was William Shakespeare?

Well, he was an English poet, playwright and actor who is widely regarded as the greatest writer in the English language and the world’s pre-eminent dramatist. People all over the world have come to recognise the image of William Shakespeare and would heard of his plays, but what do we know about the man himself, or even what went on behind the scenes during the performance of his plays, or even who his plays were being performed for?

How dost thou celebrate?

In addition to the traditional birthday party, cake and presents, why not read all about his life, from his early and humble beginnings in Stratford upon Avon, England to conquering the stage in Queen Elizabeth’s court and the Globe Theatre.

image courtesy of syndetics30-second Shakespeare : 50 key aspects of his works, life and legacy, each explained in half a minute.

’30-second Shakespeare’ features 50 of the key moments, works and lasting influences of the Bard, all explained clearly and without the clutter. Each entry is summarized in just 3 seconds – using nothing more than two pages, 300 words and one picture. Leading Shakespeare scholars present an expert guide to his life and works.

image courtesy of syndeticsWill in the world : how Shakespeare became Shakespeare.

Read all about the real-world sources of Shakespeare’s language – of his fantasies, passions, fears, and desires – lie outside the scope of these earlier books. Will in the World will set out to recover the links between Shakespeare and his world and with them to construct a full and vital portrait of the man.

image courtesy of syndeticsShakespeare : the world as stage.

Bill Bryson explores the life and work of Shakespeare as a travelogue of sorts, narrating his quest for the Bard: his conversations with Shakespearean actors, with the curator of Shakespeare’s birthplace, with academics who have dedicated their lives to studying the plays and poems, and of course, reporting on his own exploits in Stratford-upon-Avon.

image courtesy of syndeticsA year in the life of William Shakespeare.

In 1599, an epochal year for Shakespeare and England, Shakespeare wrote four of his most famous plays while Elizabethans sent off an army to crush an Irish rebellion, weathered an Armada threat from Spain, and gambled on a fledgling East India Company. Shapiro brings together the news and the intrigue of the times in this gripping account of an inspiring moment in history.

Also search our catalogue for more biographies about Shakespeare and his remarkable life.

Read Shakespeare’s plays… and novels based on Shakespeare’s plays!

image courtesy of syndeticsThe plays of Shakespeare : a thematic guide.

Read and relive your favourite Shakespeare plays. Wellington City Libraries holds a huge array of plays and teen novels adapted from Shakespeare’s plays. Identifies the core topics of Shakespeare’s plays and allows students to compare and contrast the thematic connections that recur throughout the canon.

image courtesy of syndeticsThe complete works by William Shakespeare.

A compact edition of the complete works of William Shakespeare. It combines impeccable scholarship with beautifully written editorial material and a user-friendly layout of the text. Also included is a foreword, list of contents, general introduction, essay on language, contemporary allusions to Shakespeare, glossary, consolidated bibliography and index of first lines of Sonnets.

Plays from the Royal Shakespeare Company

This Shakespeare series has titles such as Much ado about Nothing, Macbeth, and A Midsummer Night’s Dream, to excite Shakespearian fans of all ages. This exciting series, produced in partnership with the RSC, is designed to introduce students to Shakespeare’s plays. Using trusted and established RSC approaches and vibrant RSC performance photographs, the series brings Shakespeare’s plays to life in the classroom and establishes a deeper understanding and lasting appreciation of his work.
image courtesy of syndeticsimage courtesy of syndeticsimage courtesy of syndetics

Plays from the Cambridge School Shakespeare

image courtesy of syndeticsHamlet.

A new edition of Shakespeare’s Hamlet in accordance with the work of the Shakespeare and Schools Project and the national curriculum for English.

image courtesy of syndeticsRomeo and Juliet.

A new edition of Romeo and Juliet in the Cambridge School Shakepeare series.

image courtesy of syndeticsOthello.

A prose retelling of Shakespeare’s play in which a jealous general is duped into thinking that his wife has been unfaithful, with tragic consequences.

Novels adapted from Shakespeare’s Plays

image courtesy of syndeticsThe diary of William Shakespeare, gentleman.

Part comedy, part love story, this book threads together Shakespeare’s life drawn from his plays. Could the world’s greatest writer truly put down his pen forever to become a gentleman? Based on new documentary evidence, as well as textual examination of his plays, this fascinating book gives a tantalising glimpse at what might have been: the other hands that helped craft those plays, the secrets that must ever be hidden but – just possibly – may now be told.

image courtesy of syndeticsHamlet.

This wonderful book, by one of Australia’s most loved and most read writers, takes Shakespeare’s famous play and makes it into a moving and full-blooded novel. John Marsden follows the contours of the original but powerfully re-imagines its characters and story lines, rather as Shakespeare treated his sources. We are aware not only of the strength of Marsden’s own writing but the sensitivity of his insight into Shakespeare. Hamlet, A Novel will be adored by adults whether young or old.

image courtesy of syndeticsThird Witch.

A searing story of passion, betrayal, battles and love, this is Shakespeare’s ‘Macbeth’ stripped of superstition, and its power and beauty refined into fewer words where good balances the evil and there is a happy ending – for some. Following on from OPHELIA, QUEEN OF DENMARK and I AM JULIET, this is the third title in the series for young people that focuses on the reinterpretation of Shakespeare’s classic and enduring plays.

image courtesy of syndeticsThese Violent Delights.

A retelling of Romeo and Juliet set in 1926 Shanghai, China. Eighteen-year-old Juliette Cai, heir of the Scarlet Gang, and her first love-turned-rival Roma Montagov, leader of the White Flowers, must work together when mysterious deaths threaten their city.– Provided by Publisher.

OMG Shakespeare!

image courtesy of syndeticsimage courtesy of syndeticsimage courtesy of syndetics

Also search our catalogue for more plays.

Ace your exams and homework!

Read the CliffsNotes on Shakespeare’s plays and sonnets that will help ease your homework headaches and help you score high on exams. Check out the following CliffNotes which includes As You Like it, Hamlet, Macbeth and Romeo and Juliet:

image courtesy of syndetics

image courtesy of syndetics

image courtesy of syndetics

You can search our catalogue for more CliffNotes. Also, check out more Shakespeare on the CliffNotes website.

Watch movies inspired by Shakespeare’s plays:

A midsummer night’s dream.

image courtesy of amazon.com

When two pairs of star-crossed lovers, a feuding pair of supernatural sprites and a love potion gone awry all come together in an enchanted moonlit forest, the result is a delightful mix of merriment and magic. Shakespeare’s romantic comedy is brought to life.


image courtesy of amazon.com

In this first-ever full-text film of William Shakespeare’s work, the Prince of Denmark, Hamlet, returns home to find his father murdered and his mother remarrying the murderer. Meanwhile, war is brewing.

Love Labour’s Lost.

image courtesy of amazon.com

The King of Navarre (Alessandro Nivola) and his friends think that they cannot love again. When the Princess of France (Alicia Silverstone) and her attendants arrive for a visit, their plans are completely turned upside down in this 1930s-musical-style version of Shakespeare’s comedy featuring Berlin, Gershwin, Kern, and Porter song numbers.

Double dose of Much ado about Nothing (1993) and Much ado about Nothing (2013).

image courtesy of amazon.comimage courtesy of amazon.com

Two different retellings of  Shakespeare’s classic comedy about the story of sparring lovers Beatrice and Benedick offers a sensual, tragic and occasionally absurd view of the intricate game that is love.

image courtesy of amazon.com image courtesy of amazon.com

Double dose of Romeo and Juliet (1968) and Romeo and Juliet (1996) .

Two different retellings of Shakespeare’s classic of star crossed lovers, Romeo and Juliet. The 1996 version staring a very young and impressionable Leonardo Dicaprio is a modern adaptation of the classic love story, moved to the futuristic urban backdrop of Verona Beach.

Also search our catalogue for more DVDs adapted from Shakespeare’s plays. 

Where to find more information?

Revision spotlight: Shakespeare

Book cover courtesy of SyndeticsExams are coming up, so I’ve been looking through the collection and online for resources to help you revise for your exams. This week we’re looking at Shakespeare. The Bard can be a little hard to get through but there’s plenty to help you out if you need it.

Reading the plays is one thing but sometimes you need to hear the speeches actually acted to gain an appreciation of what they mean. The Guardian newspaper’s website has a great series of videos “Shakespeare’s Solos” with some of the best actors in the world performing some of Shakespeare’s most famous monologues.

Many Answers, an online homework help service, has a great entry on how to get access to The Shakespeare collection. You’ll need to have a chat with one of the Any Questions operators to get the password and user name to access it, but it’s well worth it.

The Shakespeare Book is a more holistic look at Shakespeare, both his world and his works. It’s a great resource to flick through – it’s not a large, dense tome – which puts his works in chronological order, in context and lists characters, has a timeline for events in the play and also keeps a record of recent adaptations.

Winging Your Way Through The Weekend, 8-9 June

What up! Another weekend looms and here’s some sweet stuff to do with it.

No doubt you’ve heard about The Great Gatsby (a lot) by now, it feels like they’ve been building hype for eternity. It’s finally here and it looks pretty suave! (Rated M)

But did you know it was a book first? Sure was, it’s an American Classic by one great F. Scott Fitzgerald. Also, it’s not The GG’s first dance across the silver screen.

Matariki 2013 celebrations start up in Poneke with the arrival of waka Te Matau a Maui. There’s a calender load of events to keep you busy over the next few weeks of the Maori new year celebration.

Sporty peepz!  The Championship Tournament of the Woman’s Basketball League is at Te Rauparaha Arena over at neighb’s Porirua. Maori ball game Ki o Rahi will have a Matariki special in Waitangi Park from 6pm Friday night (brought to you by body R2R).

The other big thing this weekend is our (Wellington’s) Jazz Festival. Before you scoff take note, Jazz is the original bad boy of music. You can thank it for paving the way to all our modern jams and the term “hipster”. Appreciate. There is a caps worthy TONNE of events going down for it. One pretty special looking one is the pop up jams planned for the city streets Friday and Saturday – keep your eyes peeled.

Shakespeare fans beware this Globe On Screen viewing at Lighthouse Cinema (a nice follow up to the recent Sheila Winn festivities).

Feeling exhausted yet?

Here’s a diddy for the weekend playlist. Lorde’s most recent ‘Tennis Court’. Peace!
Tennis Court by LordeMusic

This Week’s New Books

VIII, H. M. Castor (399 pages) – Before he was Henry VIII he was Hal; young, dashing and handsome, and destined to become one of the most famous kings of England (not necessarily for all the right reasons). VIII tells the story of young Hal, tormented by his family’s ghosts and convinced of his path to lead his country. This has good reviews!

First sentence: I’m still half asleep when I feel strong hands grabbing me.

So Silver Bright, Lisa Mantchev (356 pages) – the concluding Act in the quirky, effervescent trilogy that began with Eyes Like Stars, So Silver Bright sees Bertie on the up and up, having rescued Nate from Sedna, and having discovered the identity of her father, the Scrimshander. Now she must try and reunite him with her mother, Ophelia, so they can be a family. But of course, things can’t go to plan: her father has disappeared, Sedna’s on the loose, and the Theatre Illuminata and her mother are on the verge of collapse. Plus: Nate, or Ariel?

First sentence: It is a nipping and an eager air.

Dark Parties, Sara Grant (313 pages) – Neva has lived in Homeland her whole life, told that the rest of the earth is just wasteland. But this is a lie! Neva is aware of The Missing, people who vanish without warning. She and her friend Sanna decide to start an underground rebellion, to uncover the truths the government has been hiding, but is Neva in danger of becoming one of The Missing?

First sentence: I’m standing in the dark, not the gentle gray of dusk or the soft black of a moonlit night but pitch-black.

Compuls1on, Heidi Ayarbe (297 pages) – Jake is obsessed with prime numbers, and this obsession lends him some sort of magic – it’s what keeps his family safe, and makes him so brilliant at football, and it’s what’s going to make his team state soccer champions for the third year in a row (3 = a prime number). He is sure that this final game of the season will set the magic free from the numbers, and he won’t be a freak – but what if this doesn’t happen? A story about obsessive compulsive disorder, obvs.

First sentence: Tanya Reese’s Tinker Bell taattoo flits on her pale shoulder, blowing on a dandelion, its fluff spiraling down on her back.

Following Christopher Creed, Carol Plum-Ucci (405 pages) – sequel to The Body of Christopher Creed. A body is found in Steepleton (could it be Christopher Creed?), so college reporter Mike Mavic ups stakes and moves there to follow the story, convinced this is his big break. What he finds, however, is a suffering town (unexplained sickness, accidents), and Justin Creed, Christopher’s brother, who is also obsessed with uncovering the truth of his disappearance.

First sentence: It happened on a dark and stormy night.

fishhookfishhookfishhookfishhookfishhook (we do love dark and stormy nights in first sentences)

Lola and the Boy Next Door, Stephanie Perkins (338 pages) – Lola’s life seems perfect. She’s a designer with an outrageous sense of style, and she has a hot boyfriend. But then (there’s always a but then) the Bell twins move back to the house next door, one of the twins being Cricket (yes, Cricket), a gifted inventor, and the boy Lola has unacknowledged feelings for.

First sentence: I have three simple wishes.

Cold Kiss, Amy Garvey (292 pages) – When Wren’s boyfriend Danny dies, she’s determined to bring him back… and so she does. Trouble is, new Danny is nothing like old Danny: “his touch is icy; his skin, smooth and stiff as marble; his chest, cruelly silent when Wren rests her head against it” (salute to Edward?). Wren tries to keep him a secret, but Gabriel DeMarnes arrives in town. He can sense her power and somehow knows what she’s done, and wants to help her, but only Wren can undo what she’s done.

First sentence: I wasn’t thinking about falling in love the day I met Danny Greer.

And finally for this week, two retellings:

Falling for Hamlet, Michelle Ray (348 pages) – Hamlet updated! Ophelia is a high school senior and girlfriend of Prince Hamlet, son of the Danish king. Her life seems glamorous, but there’s the paparazzi, and the controlling royals, and then the suspicious death of the king. Hamlet starts acting oddly – madly – and Ophelia finds herself isolated, and wishing for a normal life (preferably not in a nunnery).

First sentence: Hamlet’s father had the kind of laugh that made wineglasses vibrate and clink of the staff set them too close together, and Hamlet’s mother, Gertrude, loved to hear it so much that she went to great lengths to provoke it.

Dark of the Moon, Tracy Barrett (310 pages) – “Retells the story of the minotaur through the eyes of his fifteen-year-old sister, Ariadne, a lonely girl destined to become a goddess of the moon, and her new friend, Theseus, the son of Athens’ king who was sent to Crete as a sacrifice to her misshapen brother.” (catalogue!)

First sentence: It isn’t true what they say about my brother – that he ate those children.


Trailer Tuesday

Soul Surfer is the true story of a teenage surf star who lost one of her arms in a shark attack. She made a huge comeback, re-teaching herself to surf one-armed. We have the book by the same name in the library, and you’ll be able to see it on the big screen shortly after Queen’s Birthday-ish sort of time. The trailer is here:

Incidentally, the movie’s catapulted the book to the top of a New York Times best seller list. Can’t beat the movies for raising the profile of books.

The Tempest is one of Shakespeare’s weirder efforts, which is not a bad thing; it makes it great material for a movie, and here’s a trailer:

There’s Russell Brand, Djimon Hounsou, and Helen Mirren as Prospera (Prospero, but female – it’s been done before and it works very well, particularly with someone awesome like Helen Mirren). It’s out at the beginning of June. The official site is here.

Speaking of Shakespeare, Tempestuous by Lesley Livingston concludes the urban faerie trilogy started with Wondrous Strange (and featuring a few things Shakespearean). We will be getting the book soon, in the mean time here’s the trailer:

HarperTeen, the publishers, have a sneak peak here.

Top 10: Theatre

There’s a fair amount of fiction about drama, acting and theatres, which kind of makes sense, since drama is what fiction is about, in some form of another.

  1. Eyes Like Stars, Lisa Mantchev. Very weird and well written. Bertie has grown up in the Theatre Illuminata, a sort of magical place where some of the great characters of the theatre are actually real, including the fairies from A Midsummer Night’s Dream (Peaseblossom and friends, and also the mysterious Ariel), and Nate the pirate-type (from The Little Mermaid I think?). Bertie is a bit accident prone, and also adventure prone, to the point where things get really out of control and the theatre is shaken to its foundations. Perchance to Dream, the sequel, is even more of a trip.
  2. Wondrous Strange, Lesley Livingston. The sequel is Darklight. Again there’s a sort of Midsummer Night’s Dream going on here. Kelley Winslow is a theatre actor who is about to have the faerie world unleashed on her (and vice versa), which involves having a horse hang out in her bath for several days, and meeting people like the mysterious Sonny Flannery, who guards the Samhain Gate behind which (and through which) bad things happen.
  3. Illyria, Elizabeth Hand. Yet more Shakespeare! This time cousins Madeleine and Rogan discover their acting talents in a production of Twelfth Night, as well as a problematic romance (they’re cousins). Narrated by Maddy as a reflection on the past, this was a winner of the World Fantasy Award. For older teens.
  4. The Jumbee, Pamela Keyes. A revisioning of The Phantom of the Opera, except where in Phantom it’s about the singing, here it’s all about the (Shakespearean) acting. After her father (who was a famous thespian) dies, Esti and her mother move to a Caribbean island where she attends a theatre school which appears to be haunted by a jumbee (ghost) with a gift for bringing Shakespeare alive and getting the best out of Esti’s talents.
  5. Cuckoo in the Nest, Michelle Magorian. Set in post World War II Britain. During the war Ralph received an education he otherwise wouldn’t have in his working class community, and develops a love for the theatre. When he returns to his family Ralph is caught between two worlds. He wants to become an actor, but this doesn’t sit well with his father at all, and Ralph must try and reconcile his background and his passion.
  6. Shakespeare’s Apprentice, Veronica Bennett. A historical love story of star crossed lovers (as in, like Romeo and Juliet). Sam is an actor in the Lord Chamberlain’s Men, a theatre group who performs (among other things) pieces written by the playwright William Shakespeare. Lucie is the niece of Lord Essex, and the two (most unsuitably) fall in love. Things get hairy when Lord Essex is convicted of treason.
  7. My Invented Life, Lauren Bjorkman. A comedy of errors (which Shakespeare was rather good at). Roz’s fantasy life sometimes gets in the way of reality. So, when she decides her sister Eva must be gay, she encourages her to come out by staging a (fake) coming out of her own. This sounds problematic already, but to make it more so, Roz has a large crush on Eva’s boyfriend Bryan. Oh the trials! The drama club’s production of As You Like It is the background for this one.
  8. Saving Juliet, Suzanne Selfors. Mimi is somewhat reluctantly performing as Juliet in her family’s Broadway production of Romeo and Juliet. On the final night, however, things get interesting when she and her leading man are transported to Verona (Shakespeare’s Verona, that is) and Mimi decides to help Juliet out a bit. But will she get back again.
  9. Malvolio’s Revenge, Sophie Masson. But wait, there’s more Twelfth Night, this time set in turn of the 20th century New Orleans. A group of travelling performers comes to New Orleans in the hope of staging their play, Malvolio’s Revenge, and stay at a plantation mansion called Illyria, the home of mysterious 17 year old Isabelle. Toby, the group’s young jack of all trades, “unravels the mysteries of Isabelle’s origins, [and] he begins to suspect something terrible will engulf them all.” (from goodreads.com)
  10. Talk, Kathe Koja. Kit is secretly gay, Lindsay is one of the popular crowd, and together they’re the stars of the school’s controversial play Talk. Lindsay falls for Kit, dumps her boyfriend, and therefore tests Kit’s real-life performance. The truth will out.

What happens to Banquo’s son?

He wins an award!

Have you read/watched and loved Macbeth? If yes (and what’s not to love: ghosts, witches, mad people, lots of murderous treachery, swords, deaths, and lines like “out, damned spot”) then you’ll be interested to hear that Macbeth was the inspiration behind the inaugural winner of the LIANZA Young Adult Book Award: Banquo’s Son by Tania Roxborogh.

A fantastic idea for a story (so much so I wish it were mine!), Banquo’s son Fleance gets a very, very short walk on (or run off?) part in Macbeth, when he’s told by his father, “Fly, good Fleance, fly, fly, fly! / Thou mayst revenge” (Act 3, Scene 3). Macbeth kills Banquo and Fleance flees south – according to Tania Roxborogh’s story – to England, where he’s taken in by a family, raised as their son. Ten-ish years later, Fleance’s destiny is to avenge his father’s murder…

If you like Shakespearean adaptations then read this. You’ll be pleased to hear it’s the first in a trilogy (Bloodlines will be published in September this year), and there is, I think, also a film in the works. See more information on the trilogy on the blog (Fleance, being Web 2.0, has one).

Book Covers: Carpet of Grass

Here are four book covers illustrating how nice a good patch of grass is to lie on (although not in mid winter). It’s all very chilled out and relaxed and happy, or is it? (Read them and find out.)



Footfree and Fancyloose, Elizabeth Craft and Sarah Fain – carrying on from Bass Ackwards and Belly Up, Harper and her three BFFs are half way through a year in which they pursue their dreams rather than going to college. Good for people with withdrawal from the Pants Sisterhood?

Front and Center, Catherine Gilbert Murdock – the final in the trilogy about the fabulous DJ Shwenk (the first being Dairy Queen – which the central library staff selected as a Librarian’s Choice). DJ has to decide on her future, which is quite complex and political when top line College basketball programmes are involved (did anyone see the movie The Blind Side, which is football but still sort of the same saga?).

The Loser’s Guide to Life and Love, A E Cannon – “Four teens fumble the ball of love in this entertaining romantic comedy based on A Midsummer Night’s Dream” says the Booklist review. Snappy dialogue.

The Vast Fields of Ordinary, Nick Burd – while his parents’ marriage fall apart, Dade comes out of the closet. Rites of passage and coming of age: it’s got good reviews too.

Fresh, unopened books

Loads of new books are in. Here is a selection!

Savvy, by Ingrid Law (342 pages). The Beaumont family develop a power – a ‘savvy’ – at the age of 13. Will Mibs Beaumont’s imminent savvy be able to save her father?

Death’s Shadow, by Darren Shan (237 pages). This is book seven of Shan’s Demonata series, and is ‘seriously scary’. Did you know that the first three books of the Darren Shan Saga are being turned into a film?

Scarlet, by Stephen R. Lawhead (427 pages). This is the second book in the King Raven series, which is concerned with Robin Hood. Scarlet is, of course, Will Scarlet, Robin Hood’s delinquent sidekick.

Saving Juliet, by Suzanne Selfors (242 pages). Mimi has landed the role of Juliet in her family’s production of Romeo and Juliet – not that she’s terribly keen on the whole acting thing. She and her hot co-star, Troy, somehow find themselves in Shakespeare’s Verona, and Mimi befriends the Juliet Capulet, whose suicide in on the proverbial horizon; uh oh!

The Shadow Speaker, by Nnedi Okorafor-Mbachu (336 pages). This sounds really cool; ‘the year is 2070, and the earth’s civilization has been completely transformed following a nuclear fallout in the early 21st century. Magic, mysticism, and mind-blowing technology now rule the world’. The author has an interesting website as well.

Superior Saturday, by Garth Nix (263 pages). This is sixth and penultimate book in the Keys to the Kingdom Series, and should prove to be very popular – it has a load of reserves on it already, so it will be a wee while before it becomes available.

Books that be new, arrrr

We have a lot of new books in the teen collection. Here’s some of the ones that stand out from the rest:

  • Mississippi Jack : Being an Account of the Further Waterborne Adventures of Jacky Faber, Midshipman, Fine Lady, and the Lily of the West, by L. A. Meyer (611 pages) – It is 1806 and Jacky Faber’s adventures continue as she sails down the Mississippi, avoiding capture by the British and having a right old lark.
  • Back and Beyond : NZ Painting for the Young and Curious, by Gregory O’Brien (111 pages) – This beautiful book looks at the history and significance of New Zealand art, and is full of illustrations. A great introduction to art history.
  • Airhead, by Meg Cabot (340 pages) – A girl receives a ‘full-body transplant’, and becomes the world’s most famous teen supermodel. Drama ensues!
  • Lock and Key : A Novel, by Sarah Dessen (422 pages) – This sounds lovely. Abandoned by her alcoholic mother, Ruby is taken in by her sister who she hasn’t seen for ten years. She learns, “what makes a family, how to allow people to help her when she needs it, and that she too has something to offer others.”
  • Unwind, by Neal Shusterman (335 pages) – If that last book wasn’t your cup of tea, you may like this: “In a society where unwanted teens are salvaged for their body parts, three runaways fight the system that would ‘unwind’ them.”
  • Shakespeare’s Apprentice, by Veronica Bennett (239 pages) – An apprentice actor in Shakespeare’s theatre company falls in love for Lord Essex’s niece. Will their forbidden romance end tragically? No.
  • Frostbite : A Vampire Academy Novel, by Richelle Mead (327 pages) – This is the second in a planned series of books. Apparently it stands out from other vampire novels, and after reading the first paragraph I have to admit to wanting to keep reading. Though frankly I would think twice about any school named ‘St Vladimir’s’.

Get thee to a library

It has been said that if William Shakespeare were alive today he would be a screenwriter, not a playwright. I don’t know how true that is, but it’s certainly true that his plays translate well to the big screen. If you’re studying Shakespeare at school, often the best place to start with his work is to watch the film adaption; reading them is great but can take some time, and watching them performed isn’t always an option.

We have loads of Shakespeare-related DVDs for young adults in the library – here is a full list. Some are very close adaptions (Zeffirelli’s Romeo and Juliet, for instance), others are films loosely based on Shakespeare’s plays (10 Things I Hate About You, She’s The Man), and others are documentaries about Shakespeare (The In Search of Shakespeare series). You can study Shakespeare and watch a movie at the same time! Though beware: So wise so young, they say do never live long.