Wednesday, April 30, 2014

The Disreputable History, the Kentucky Derby, and Shakespeare High

“What’s Up Wednesday” is a weekly meme started by Jaime Morrow and Erin Funk. You’re invited to join us if you’re looking for something to blog about, a way to let your blog friends know what’s been going on with you. If you’re participating, make sure to link your What’s Up Wednesday posts to the list on Jaime’s blog each week. That way, others can visit your post and check out what you’ve been up to.

What I've been reading:
I just finished two great books. 5 stars people, 5 stars! (I don't give those lightly: only if I am for sure planning to re-read them). These books are both sophisticated YA... but still fun.

The Disreputable History of Frankie Landau-Banks, by E. Lockhart (YA contemporary)  Frankie is a FORCE! She is clever. She is a strategist: she thinks before she speaks, weighing all the options. But she's also vulnerable. She turns the pranks of an all-boys-sort-of-secret-prep-school club inside out. Written with great narrative voice.

The King of Attolia, by Megan Whalen Turner. (YA fantasy).  Nothing is what it seems in this book of palace intrigue and plotting. Full of witty repartee and a character, Eugenides, you will not soon forget.

Currently reading Thief of Time by Terry Pratchett. Also reading the Bronze Bow by Elizabeth Speare (a Newbery medal) with my kids. Next in the queue to read: She Is Not Invisible by Marcus Sedgewick, an April new release and Played by Liz Fichera, a May new release.

What I've been writing: 
Querying my YA science fiction, Star Tripped, and editing my MG fantasy, Refuge. Doing some free writing and writing from prompts to find some voice. It never comes easy, and then only in small fragments, but when it does finally appear oh it makes it worth the work.

What else I've been up to: 
Planning a birthday party for my 7 year old twins, it'll be this Saturday May 3, which is Kentucky Derby Day (what? you didn't know that?) So the theme is the Kentucky Derby, of course. The kids will get to pick which race horse they get to be and (if the weather cooperates!) we'll have some relay races and three legged races and so forth... and watch the race on TV of course. And have pony rides (not races) (again, if the weather cooperates: its SNOWING outside as I type this. The disadvantage of living at 7200 ft in Laramie, Wyoming).

What's inspiring me:
I have a very grudging admiration for Shakespeare (mostly due to his fantastic insults!), but recently I came across this documentary called Shakespeare High that, well, inspired me. It's about several teams of drama students in the greater Los Angeles area competing in a Shakespeare festival. One team includes former drug dealers and gang members. Doing Shakespeare. Yes, really. Here's a couple quotes from the film that I actually replayed several times so I could write them down, they were so thought-provoking:
A former gang member: "Do you know why an actor acts? Because he doesn't like who he is. When you act, you get to be somebody you're not. You can make up the character... you can become something you're not. You don't have to work up to it, you don't have to pay, you don't have to do nuthin but be it."

Richard Dreyfuss: "one of things that Shakespeare offers is that immediately you can't understand him, and you have to work immediately just to understand what he's saying. And overwhelmingly he's right, and overwhelmingly he's witty, and overwhelmingly he's wise. And when you start to unpeel the lessons offered you find that that gesture never ends." 
So, after watching this, I have to ask: what's your favorite Shakespearean work (play, poem, etc)? (I'm still trying to figure this out myself)

20 comments:

  1. Snowing?! Yikes. Yo, weather, didn't you hear it's Spring? Hope that clears up soon. And best of luck with the querying :D

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    1. Our spring doesn't come here until mid May. Why do I live here? I always ask myself that this time of year! ;)

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  2. Hey, I'm hoping your querying goes awesome and the birthday party goes off swimmingly.

    Let's see... I'm a little biased toward Taming of the Shrew, since I was in it, and I very much prefer his comedies. Second favorite play would probably be Much Ado About Nothing. Still, he has so many amazing sonnets that I can't call either of these a "favorite," not when there are so many amazing sonnets to compete with.

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    1. Ah, the sonnets. Must revisit those again.

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  3. Those are both really great quotes from the Shakespeare High documentary. That sounds fascinating! I'm not sure which is my favourite, but I've always liked A Midsummer Night's Dream and Macbeth. I did a Shakespeare course in university and I remember being bowled over by just how ridiculous Titus Andronicus was. So, so over the top!

    You've just reminded me that I still need to read THE DISREPUTABLE HISTORY OF FRANKIE LANDAU-BANKS. It's one of those books that I frequently hear praise for. I think I have a copy of it on my Kindle, so maybe I'll get to it soon. I'll have to check out THE KING OF ATTOLIA as well. Another book I see around lots.

    Hope querying is going well! Have a great week, Margo!

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    1. I saw a Star Trek version/spoof of A Midnight Summer's Dream once that was so much fun! I love how creative productions can get with Shakespeare.

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  4. What a fun birthday party!
    I've heard so many great things about The Disreputable History... but haven't picked it up yet. I'll have to remember to do so!
    I've always had a soft spot for Much Ado About Nothing. Partly because it's funny, and partly because I grew up watching the Kenneth Branaugh/Emma Thompson movie version.

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    1. One of the few things by Emma I haven't seen - must watch it!

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  5. Praying the snow goes away so the girls can have their pony rides at the party! Awesome, awesome theme (I'd totally crash if I didn't live so far away).

    Shakespeare High sounds fascinating. Both quotes you shared are really powerful. The E. Lockhart is one I've heard praised a lot too. The author's local to me. I clearly need to add it to my TBR, because you have awesome taste.

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    1. I have awesome taste?? Thank you! Made my day!

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  6. I have heard really good things about Megan Whelan Turner's books. I'll have to check it out. And, I love the Kentucky Derby! I'm a May b-day too, and we've gone to the Derby a few times to celebrate. ;)

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    1. You've actually been to the Derby??? So very envious!

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  7. Favourite? Any play providing it is performed by the Globe theatre actors or the Stratford players. :0)

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  8. Have you ever had Derby Pie? I think that would be perfect for your party--although you may want to leave the Bourbon out. Without the Bourbon, I think it's just chocolate chip pecan pie!

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    1. My 11 year old daughter made Derby Pie last year... without the bourbon :)

      It was still good!

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  9. I'll have to check out that disreputable history thing, sounds great! I'm not sure what my favorite Shakespeare work is, but I have several really vivid memories of Shakespeare from my high school days; memorizing a Friar Laurence speech from Romeo and Juliet, and an essay on the Tempest that I mostly bombed, and being really jealous of somebody else who picked the same topic as I did and did much better.

    We were both doing magic in the Tempest, but my paper was mostly a list and descriptions of the various kinds of magic in the play, but the good paper tried to pull it all together in a single theme and talked about what magic MEANT in the play! :) Which is a much better angle to take.

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    1. I never really appreciated Shakespeare until I noticed someone's mug that highlighted all his insults. They were so funny, I started reading him again (first time since high school).

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  10. The last time I read something from Shakespeare, I was in high school. lol
    I wish you the best with querying and the revision of your MG.
    Personally I've lost faith in my writing so, not much has been happening there. For now.

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  11. Oh. My. Gosh. You have been busy! And those books sound wonderful ... thanks for sharing those!

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