A Winter's Tale Spin - Suggested Readings

"My library was dukedom large enough." — William Shakespeare, The Tempest

Perhaps no author is more quoted (and sometimes misquoted) than William Shakespeare. This year, in commemoration of the 400th anniversary of the death of the Bard, the 2016 Adult Winter Reading Program features books and plays that remind us that Shakespeare is still inspiring novelists, playwrights, and poets.

All titles on a suggested reading list take inspiration from Shakespeare and his works, from the foolish wisdom of King Lear's jester to Hamlet's multiple portrayals of grief over the loss of a father. There's also an amusing mashup of the Bard and the Force (as in "be with you").

See how a number of today's writers have put their own spin on some of Shakespeare's most beloved storylines during the two-month program, themed A Winter's Tale Spin. It's part of an extended celebration of Shakespeare accompanying a June exhibit at the Library that will feature a rare, nearly 400-year-old First Folio – the first printed collection of Shakespeare's plays.

Author: 
Christopher Moore
ISBN: 
9780060590321
Verily speaks Christopher Moore, much-beloved scrivener and peerless literary jester, who hath writteneth much that is of grand wit and belly-busting mirth, including such laureled bestsellers of the Times of Olde Newe Yorke as Lamb, A Dirty Job, and You Suck: A Love Story. Now he takes on no less than the legendary Bard himself (with the utmost humility and respect) in a twisted and insanely funny tale of a moronic monarch and his deceitful daughters--a rousing story of plots, subplots, counterplots, betrayals, war, revenge, bared bosoms, unbridled lust . . . and a ghost (there's always a bloody ghost), as seen through the eyes of a man wearing a codpiece and bells on his head.
Author: 
Jeanette Winterson
ISBN: 
9780804141352
The Winter's Tale is one of Shakespeare's "late plays." It tells the story of a king whose jealousy results in the banishment of his baby daughter and the death of his beautiful wife. His daughter is found and brought up by a shepherd on the Bohemian coast, but through a series of extraordinary events, father and daughter, and eventually mother too, are reunited. In The Gap of Time , Jeanette Winterson's cover version of The Winter's Tale , we move from London, a city reeling after the 2008 financial crisis, to a storm-ravaged American city called New Bohemia. Her story is one of childhood friendship, money, status, technology and the elliptical nature of time. Written with energy and wit, this is a story of the consuming power of jealousy on the one hand, and redemption and the enduring love of a lost child on the other.
Author: 
Jane Smiley
ISBN: 
9781400033836
A successful Iowa farmer decides to divide his farm between his three daughters. When the youngest objects, she is cut out of his will. This sets off a chain of events that brings dark truths to light and explodes long-suppressed emotions. An ambitious reimagining of Shakespeare's King Lear cast upon a typical American community in the late twentieth century, A Thousand Acres takes on themes of truth, justice, love, and pride, and reveals the beautiful yet treacherous topography of humanity.
Author: 
Emily St. John Mandel
ISBN: 
9780385353304
An audacious, darkly glittering novel set in the eerie days of civilization's collapse, Station Eleven tells the spellbinding story of a Hollywood star, his would-be savior, and a nomadic group of actors roaming the scattered outposts of the Great Lakes region, risking everything for art and humanity. One snowy night Arthur Leander, a famous actor, has a heart attack onstage during a production of King Lear . Jeevan Chaudhary, a paparazzo-turned-EMT, is in the audience and leaps to his aid. A child actress named Kirsten Raymonde watches in horror as Jeevan performs CPR, pumping Arthur's chest as the curtain drops, but Arthur is dead. That same night, as Jeevan walks home from the theater, a terrible flu begins to spread. Hospitals are flooded and Jeevan and his brother barricade themselves inside an apartment, watching out the window as cars clog the highways, gunshots ring out, and life disintegrates around them.
Author: 
Eleanor Brown
ISBN: 
9780399157226
Watch a video A major new talent tackles the complicated terrain of sisters, the power of books, and the places we decide to call home. There is no problem that a library card can't solve. The Andreas family is one of readers. Their father, a renowned Shakespeare professor who speaks almost entirely in verse, has named his three daughters after famous Shakespearean women. When the sisters return to their childhood home, ostensibly to care for their ailing mother, but really to lick their wounds and bury their secrets, they are horrified to find the others there. See, we love each other. We just don't happen to like each other very much. But the sisters soon discover that everything they've been running from-one another, their small hometown, and themselves-might offer more than they ever expected.
Author: 
Anne Fortier
ISBN: 
9780345516107
Twenty-five-year-old Julie Jacobs is heartbroken over the death of her beloved aunt Rose. But the shock goes even deeper when she learns that the woman who has been like a mother to her has left her entire estate to Julie's twin sister. The only thing Julie receives is a key-one carried by her mother on the day she herself died-to a safety-deposit box in Siena, Italy.This key sends Julie on a journey that will change her life forever-a journey into the troubled past of her ancestor Giulietta Tolomei. In 1340, still reeling from the slaughter of her parents, Giulietta was smuggled into Siena, where she met a young man named Romeo. Their ill-fated love turned medieval Siena upside-down and went on to inspire generations of poets and artists, the story reaching its pinnacle in Shakespeare's famous tragedy. But six centuries have a way of catching up to the present, and Julie gradually begins to discover that here, in this ancient city, the past and present are hard to tell apart. The deeper she delves into the history of Romeo and Giulietta, and the closer she gets to the treasure they allegedly left behind, the greater the danger surrounding her-superstitions, ancient hostilities, and personal vendettas.
Author: 
Iris Murdoch
Iris Murdoch was one of the twentieth century's most prominent novelists, winner of the Booker Prize for The Sea. She died in 1999. (Publisher Provided) Iris Murdoch was born in Dublin, Ireland on July 15, 1919. She was educated at Badminton School in Bristol and Oxford University, where she read classics, ancient history, and philosophy. After several government jobs, she returned to academic life, studying philosophy at Newnham College, Cambridge. In 1948, she became a fellow and tutor at St. Anne's College, Oxford. She also taught at the Royal College of Art in London. A professional philosopher, she began writing novels as a hobby, but quickly established herself as a genuine literary talent. She wrote over 25 novels during her lifetime including Under the Net, A Severed Head, The Unicorn, and Of the Nice and the Good. She won several awards including the James Tait Black Memorial Prize for The Black Prince in 1973 and the Booker Prize for The Sea, The Sea in 1978. She died on February 8, 1999 at the age of 79.
Author: 
Joséphine Tey; Robert Barnard (Introduction by)
ISBN: 
9780684803869
Voted greatest mystery novel of all time by the Crime Writers' Association in 1990, Josephine Tey recreates one of history's most famous--and vicious--crimes in her classic bestselling novel, a must read for connoisseurs of fiction, now with a new introduction by Robert Barnard.<br> <br> Inspector Alan Grant of Scotland Yard, recuperating from a broken leg, becomes fascinated with a contemporary portrait of Richard III that bears no resemblance to the Wicked Uncle of history. Could such a sensitive, noble face actually belong to one of the world's most heinous villains--a venomous hunchback who may have killed his brother's children to make his crown secure? Or could Richard have been the victim, turned into a monster by the usurpers of England's throne? Grant determines to find out once and for all, with the help of the British Museum and an American scholar, what kind of man Richard Plantagenet really was and who killed the Little Princes in the Tower.The Daughter of Time is an ingeniously plotted, beautifully written, and suspenseful tale, a supreme achievement from one of mystery writing's most gifted masters.
Author: 
Ian Doescher
ISBN: 
9781594746376
Return once more to a galaxy far, far away with this sublime retelling of George Lucas's epic Star Wars in the style of the immortal Bard of Avon. The saga of a wise (Jedi) knight and an evil (Sith) lord, of a beautiful princess held captive and a young hero coming of age, Star Wars abounds with all the valor and villainy of Shakespeare's greatest plays. 'Tis a tale told by fretful droids, full of faithful Wookiees and fearstome Stormtroopers, signifying...pretty much everything.Reimagined in glorious iambic pentameter--and complete with twenty gorgeous Elizabethan illustrations-- William Shakespeare's Star Wars will astound and edify Rebels and Imperials alike. Zounds! This is the book you're looking for.
Author: 
Germaine Greer
ISBN: 
9780061537158
Little is known about Ann Hathaway, the wife of England's greatest playwright; a great deal, none of it complimentary, has been assumed. The omission of her name from Shakespeare's will has been interpreted as evidence that she was nothing more than an unfortunate mistake from which Shakespeare did well to distance himself.While Shakespeare is above all the poet of marriage--repeatedly in his plays, constant wives redeem unjust and deluded husbands--scholars persist in positing the worst about the writer's own spouse. In Shakespeare's Wife, Germaine Greer boldly breaks new ground, combining literary-historical techniques with documentary evidence about life in Stratford, to reset the story of Shakespeare's marriage in its social context. With deep insight and intelligence, she offers daring and thoughtful new theories about the farmer's daughter who married England's greatest poet, painting a vivid portrait of a remarkable woman.
Author: 
Chris Adrian
ISBN: 
9781250007384
Chris Adrian's magical third novel is a mesmerizing reworking of Shakespeare's A Midsummer Night's Dream . On Midsummer's Eve 2008, three brokenhearted people become lost in San Francisco's Buena Vista Park, the secret home of Titania, Oberon, and their court. On this night, something awful is happening in the faerie kingdom: in a fit of sadness over the end of her marriage and the death of her adopted son, Titania has set loose an ancient menace, and the chaos that ensues upends the lives of immortals and mortals alike in a story that is playful, darkly funny, and poignant.
Author: 
Stephen Greenblatt
ISBN: 
9780393050578
Stephen Greenblatt, the charismatic Harvard professor who "knows more about Shakespeare than Ben Jonson or the Dark Lady did" (John Leonard, Harper's), has written a biography that enables us to see, hear, and feel how an acutely sensitive and talented boy, surrounded by the rich tapestry of Elizabethan life; full of drama and pageantry, and also cruelty and danger; could have become the world's greatest playwright. A young man from the provinces--a man without wealth, connections, or university education--moves to London. In a remarkably short time he becomes the greatest playwright not just of his age but of all time. His works appeal to urban sophisticates and first-time theatergoers; he turns politics into poetry; he recklessly mingles vulgar clowning and philosophical subtlety. How is such an achievement to be explained?Will in the World interweaves a searching account of Elizabethan England with a vivid narrative of the playwright's life.
Author: 
Bill Bryson
ISBN: 
9780061673696
William Shakespeare, the most celebrated poet in the English language, left behind nearly a million words of text, but his biography has long been a thicket of wild supposition arranged around scant facts. With a steady hand and his trademark wit, Bill Bryson sorts through this colorful muddle to reveal the man himself. His Shakespeare is like no one else's--the beneficiary of Bryson's genial nature, his engaging skepticism, and a gift for storytelling unrivaled in our time.
Author: 
Matt Haig
ISBN: 
9780670038336
A ghost story with a twist—a suspenseful and poignantly funny update of the Hamletstory Eleven-year-old Philip Noble has a big problem: His dad, who was killed in a car accident, appears as a bloodstained ghost at his own funeral and introduces Philip to the Dead Fathers Club. The club, whose members were all murdered, gathers outside the Castle and Falcon, the local pub that Philip’s family owns and lives above. Philip’s father tells him that Uncle Alan killed him and he must avenge his death. When Philip realizes that Uncle Alan has designs on his mom and the family pub, Philip decides that something must be done. But it’s a much bigger job than he anticipated, especially when he is caught up by the usual distractions of childhood—a pretty girl, wayward friends, school bullies, and his own self-doubt. The Dead Fathers Clubis a riveting, imaginative, and quirky update of Shakespeare’s great tragedy that will establish Matt Haig as a young writer of great talent and imagination.
Author: 
Mal Peet
ISBN: 
9780763639419
Winner of the 2009 Guardian Children's Fiction Prize, Carnegie Medalist Mal Peet takes a searing look at the world of soccer and pop-celebrity culture -- and the lives of three street kids caught in its glare. When a black South American soccer star signs on to a team in the country's racist south, headlines blare. And when he falls for the sensual Desmerelda, a stunning white pop singer and daughter of a wealthy politician, their sudden and controversial marriage propels the pair to center stage, where they burn in the media spotlight. But celebrity attracts enemies; some very close to home. And its dazzle reaches into the city's hidden corners, exposing a life of grit and desperation the glitterati could never imagine. When a girl is found murdered, reporter Paul Faustino is caught between worlds as he witnesses the power of the media in making -- and breaking -- lives. Inspired by Shakespeare's OTHELLO, this modern tragedy of desire and betrayal, incisively and compassionately told, is a truly enthralling work of crossover fiction.
Author: 
Gloria Naylor
ISBN: 
9780679721819
On the island of Willow Springs, off the Georgia coast, the powers of healer Mama Day are tested by her great niece, Cocoa, a stubbornly emancipated woman endangered by the island's darker forces. A powerful generational saga at once tender and suspenseful, overflowing with magic and common sense.
Author: 
Tina Packer
ISBN: 
9780307700391
From one of the country's foremost experts on Shakespeare and theatre arts, actor, director, and master teacher Tina Packer offers an exploration--fierce, funny, fearless--of the women of Shakespeare's plays. A profound, and profoundly illuminating, book that gives us the playwright's changing understanding of the feminine and reveals some of his deepest insights. Packer, with expert grasp and perception, constructs a radically different understanding of power, sexuality, and redemption.Beginning with the early comedies ( The Taming of the Shrew, Two Gentlemen of Verona, The Comedy of Errors ), Packer shows that Shakespeare wrote the women of these plays as shrews to be tamed or as sweet little things with no definable independent thought, virgins on the pedestal. The women of the histories (the three parts of Henry VI ; Richard III ) are, Packer shows, much more interesting, beginning with Joan of Arc, possibly the first woman character Shakespeare ever created. In her opening scene, she's wonderfully alive--a virgin, true, sent from heaven, a country girl going to lead men bravely into battle, the kind of girl Shakespeare could have known and loved in Stratford. Her independent resolution collapses within a few scenes, as Shakespeare himself suddenly turns against her, and she yields to the common caricature of his culture and becomes Joan the Enemy, the Warrior Woman, the witch; a woman to be feared and destroyed . . .
Author: 
Conor McCreery; Anthony Del; Andy Belanger (Artist)
ISBN: 
9781600107818
What Fables does for fairy tales, Kill Shakespeare does with the greatest writer of all time. This dark take on the Bard pits his greatest heroes (Hamlet, Juliet, Othello Falstaff) against his most menacing villains (Richard III, Lady Macbeth, Iago) in an epic adventure to find and kill a reclusive wizard named William Shakespeare.
Author: 
James Shapiro
ISBN: 
9781416541646
Preeminent Shakespeare scholar James Shapiro shows how the tumultuous events in England in 1606 affected Shakespeare and shaped the three great tragedies he wrote that year-- King Lear , Macbeth , and Antony and Cleopatra .In the years leading up to 1606, since the death of Queen Elizabeth and the arrival in England of her successor, King James of Scotland, Shakespeare's great productivity had ebbed, and it may have seemed to some that his prolific genius was a thing of the past. But that year, at age forty-two, he found his footing again, finishing a play he had begun the previous autumn-- King Lear --then writing two other great tragedies, Macbeth and Antony and Cleopatra . It was a memorable year in England as well--and a grim one, in the aftermath of a terrorist plot conceived by a small group of Catholic gentry that had been uncovered at the last hour. The foiled Gunpowder Plot would have blown up the king and royal family along with the nation's political and religious leadership. The aborted plot renewed anti-Catholic sentiment and laid bare divisions in the kingdom.
Author: 
James Shapiro
ISBN: 
9781416541622
For more than two hundred years after William Shakespeare's death, no one doubted that he had written hi plays. Since then, however, dozens of candidates have been proposed for the authorship of what's generally agreed to be the finest body of work any playwrite in the English language. In this remarkable book, Shakespeare scholar James Shapiro explains when and why so many people began to question whether Shakespeare wrote his plays. Among the doubters have been such writers and thinkers as Sigmund Freud, Henry James Mark Twain, and Helen Keller It's a fascinating story, replete with forgeries, deception, false claimants ciphers and code, conspiracy theories--and a stunning failure to grasp the power of the imagination. As Contested Will makes clear, much more than proper attribution of Shakespeare's plays is at stake in this authorship controversy. Underlying the arguments over whether Christopher Marlowe, Francis Bacon, or the Earl of Oxford wrote Shakespeare's plays are fundamental questions about literary genius specifically a out the relationship of life and art. Are the plays (and poems) of Shakespeare a sort of hidden autobiography? Do Hamlet , Macbeth ,and the other great plays somehow reveal who wrote them?Shapiro is the first Shakespeare scholar to examine the authorship controversy and its history in this way, explaining what it means, why it matters, and how it has persisted despite abundant evidence that William Shakespeare of Stratford wrote the plays attributed to him. This is a brilliant historical investigation that will delight anyone interested in Shakespeare and the literary imagination.
Author: 
David Wroblewski
ISBN: 
9780061374227
Born mute, speaking only in sign, Edgar Sawtelle leads an idyllic life with his parents on their farm in remote northern Wisconsin. For generations, the Sawtelles have raised and trained a fictional breed of dog whose thoughtful companionship is epitomized by Almondine, Edgar's lifelong friend and ally. But with the unexpected return of Claude, Edgar's paternal uncle, turmoil consumes the Sawtelles' once peaceful home. When Edgar's father dies suddenly, Claude insinuates himself into the life of the farm--and into Edgar's mother's affections. Grief-stricken and bewildered, Edgar tries to prove Claude played a role in his father's death, but his plan backfires--spectacularly. Forced to flee into the vast wilderness lying beyond the farm, Edgar comes of age in the wild, fighting for his survival and that of the three yearling dogs who follow him. But his need to face his father's murderer and his devotion to the Sawtelle dogs turn Edgar ever homeward. David Wroblewski is a master storyteller, and his breathtaking scenes--the elemental north woods, the sweep of seasons, an iconic American barn, a fateful vision rendered in the falling rain--create a riveting family saga, a brilliant exploration of the limits of language, and a compulsively readable modern classic.
Author: 
John Updike
ISBN: 
9780375409080
John Updikes's nineteenth novel tells the story of Claudius and Gertrude, King and Queen of Denmark, before the action of Shakespeare's Hamlet begins. Employing the nomenclature and certain details of the ancient Scandinavian legends that first describe the prince who feigns madness to achieve revenge upon his father's slayer, Updike brings to life Gertrude's girlhood as the daughter of King Rorik, her arranged marriage to the man who becomes King Hamlet, and her middle-aged affair with her husband's younger brother. A dark-eyed dreamer with a taste for foreign adventure, he for decades has sought to quell his love for Gertrude, and at last returns to an Elsinore whose prince is generally elsewhere. Gaps and inconsistencies within the immortal play are to an extent filled and explained in this prequel; the figure of Polonius, especially, takes on a larger significance. Beginning in the aura of pagan barbarism, and anticipating Renaissance humanism and empiricism, this modern retelling of a medieval tale presents the case for its royal couple that Shakespeare only hinted at. Gertrude and Claudius are seen afresh against a background of fond intentions and familial dysfunction, on a stage darkened by the ominous shadow of a sullen, disaffected prince.
Author: 
Isaac Marion
ISBN: 
9781439192313
R is a young man with an existential crisis--he is a zombie. He shuffles through an America destroyed by war, social collapse, and the mindless hunger of his undead comrades, but he craves something more than blood and brains. He can speak just a few grunted syllables, but his inner life is deep, full of wonder and longing. He has no memories, no identity, and no pulse, but he has dreams. After experiencing a teenage boy's memories while consuming his brain, R makes an unexpected choice that begins a tense, awkward, and stragely sweet relationship with the victim's human girlfriend. Julie is a blast of color in the otherwise dreary and gray landscape that surrounds R. His decision to protect her will transform not only R, but his fellow Dead, and perhaps their whole lifeless world.Scary, funny, and surprisingly poignant, Warm Bodies is about being alive, being dead, and the blurry line in between.
Author: 
Tom Stoppard
Acclaimed as a modern dramatic masterpiece, Rosencrantz & Guildenstern are Dead is the fabulously inventive tale of Hamlet as told from the worm's-eve view of the bewildered Rosencrantz and Guildenstern, two minor characters in Shakespeare's play. In Tom Stoppard's best-known work, this Shakespearean Laurel and Hardy finally get a chance to take the lead role, but do so in a world where echoes of Waiting for Godot resound, where reality and illusion intermix, and where fate leads our two heroes to a tragic but inevitable end. Tom Stoppard was catapulted into the front ranks of modem playwrights overnight when Rosencrantz and Guildenstern Are Dead opened in London in 1967. Its subsequent run in New York brought it the same enthusiastic acclaim, and the play has since been performed numerous times in the major theatrical centers of the world. It has won top honors for play and playwright in a poll of London Theater critics, and in its printed form it was chosen one of the "Notable Books of 1967" by the American Library Association.
Author: 
Andrea Mays
ISBN: 
9781439118238
Today it is the most valuable book in the world. Recently one sold for over five million dollars. It is the book that rescued the name of William Shakespeare and half of his plays from oblivion. The Millionaire and the Bard tells the miraculous and romantic story of the making of the First Folio, and of the American industrialist whose thrilling pursuit of the book became a lifelong obsession. When Shakespeare died in 1616 half of his plays died with him. No one--not even their author--believed that his writings would last, that he was a genius, or that future generations would celebrate him as the greatest author in the history of the English language. By the time of his death his plays were rarely performed, eighteen of them had never been published, and the rest existed only in bastardized forms that did not stay true to his original language.