Archive for April, 2013

Two GentlemenTitle: The Two Gentlemen of Verona

Author: William Shakespeare

Date Finished: 7/04/13

Re-Read? : First time read

Challenges? : Yes – The Classics Club 

Overall: 4/5 – rather good

This is the second of Shakespeare’s plays that I have read recently, and it is for the same reason as the first (Richard III) – in Bristol there is a theatre called ‘The Tobacco Factory’ and it hosts a couple of Shakespeare plays every year, which me and my family always go and see.  They are put on spectacularly well and the theatre is small, in the round, usually with amazing live music so you can see why we like going so much.  Anyway, I have already seen Richard III, which was completely brilliant and in a few weeks I will be seeing The Two Gentlemen of Verona, hence the reading of it now.

I didn’t know anything about the story before I started reading it, apart from it’s a comedy, so I kept checking sparknotes after every couple of scenes to check I had understood everything (on the whole I had, which was encouraging).  I am proud of myself for persevering with the Shakespearean language and not letting this relatively short play drag out too long, which can easily happen.

The plot is really good in this play and I was genuinely surprised at the different twists and turns that came along, especially when Julia dressed up as a boy and the business with the outlaws.  Obviously, the plot follows the usual format of a Shakespearean comedy but this felt more like a familiar friend than a boring repetition.  Maybe this is also because I haven’t actually read a comedy since January 2012 (Much Ado About Nothing) anyway.

There are several main characters a few minor characters and that’s about it in this play, which is quite nice really.  There are the Two Gentlemen – Proteus and Valentine and their respective love interests – Julia and Silvia.  I thought they were all reasonably well developed, if a bit too forgiving at the end!

The setting of Verona/Milan doesn’t actually feature that much, but the language of Shakespeare in this play is a perfect balance between poetic and emotive and also easy to understand.  I didn’t miss the finer details like I suspect I may have done slightly with Richard III, however, this could also be due to a less complex plot and a shorter play duration too.

Overall, this is a nice comedy and I would recommend it, but there is a reason why it is not so well known as other comedies and I don’t think it is going to change anyone’s life after reading it!

March Wrap-Up & April Plans

Here we are in April yet it still feels like January!  I don’t understand why it is still so so cold here in the UK but I am just hoping it means and extra hot summer will follow… Anyway, March has been a relatively calm month for me apart from the usual business at school.  I got my results for my January exams and I was very relieved that all my hard work had paid off!  This two week Easter break has been very welcome and although it means starting revision for my next set of exams, it has given me some time to relax and read as well.

Here’s what I read in March 2013:

The Host – Stephenie Meyer

Big Bang – Simon Singh

The Hound of the Baskervilles – Sir Arthur Conan Doyle

The Full Cupboard of Life – Alexander McCall Smith

This is really good as I aim to read at least three books every month.  This is much more than I read in February so I have made up for a weak month I guess.  My aim of 1200 pages a month was definitely fulfilled, as I read 1600 pages exactly.
I’m not too sure if I did 30 minutes reading a day, although I am sure I did at the start and the end of the month!  Overall, I think it probably averaged about 30 mins a day, so that’s good too.
Reading Big Bang mean I read at least one science book every two months but since I didn’t read any science books in January or February, I should really try and read another before the end of April.  Also, it is getting closer to the time I apply to university so I may have to double my science reading.
I also fulfilled my at least one classic a month target with The Hound of the Baskervilles!
Lastly, I try to stay an active blogger and this was medium – I am not getting a lot of traffic on my blog at the moment and I think it’s because I am not reading much of other peoples…I don’t really have that much time to discover new blogs but I do always read the posts of people I follow already.  Maybe in the summer when more people have more time to read we will all become a bit better and being active bloggers!

Challenge Progress in March 2013:

The Classics Club :  13/60 books read  (1 this month: The Hound of the Baskervilles )

At the moment this is my only challenge for 2013 – maybe I will formalise some of my own yearly reading goals into a challenge.

Currently In Progress:

At the moment, I am reading The Two Gentlemen of Verona and Le Petit Nicholas but I have only just started them both and I’m not really into them yet.

April Plans:

Books: The next three books on my TBR shelf are 1984, The Code Book – Simon Singh and Rebecca – Daphne Du Maurier.  Both the books I am currently reading may take me a while and when I go back to school next week I will be very busy again so these may turn into plans for May!

Challenges:  If I do get to 1984, then it will count towards The Classics Club.

Hopefully, you are all relaxing and reading a bit over Easter and (if appropriate) finding time for religion/spirituality too.  I am sure you’re all looking forward to the sun and warmth of summer as much as I am (if it ever comes).