I made jokes in my last two posts about how I’m not trying to talk down to anyone, which, as is true whenever anyone makes that kind of joke, means one of two things: I was talking down to you, or I have a paralyzing fear that people will think I think I know more than them and be mad at me for it.

Obviously it’s the second one. But those posts were both kind of in the realm of ‘ha ha I like to think about Shakespeare really closely and academically and you should too,’ so I thought a change of pace might be in order. That’s why today I’m recommending a book I think everyone should read, regardless of how much you know or think you know about Shakespeare. It’s simultaneously one of the most accessible and comprehensive books on his work I’ve ever read.

That book is Emma Smith’s This is Shakespeare, published in 2016. I got it in e-book form from the library and I’ve now returned it, so if you live in Seattle this is your chance to snatch it up.

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My sister has a favorite word. I thought that was kind of weird, when she first told me, but then I went into this spiral of ‘do I have a favorite word? Should I have a favorite word? Is that a thing most people have?’ and that was a rough couple of days. So I’m pleased to reassure you all that now I do, in fact, have a favorite word: theorbo.

But this is (mostly) not a post about theorbos; it’s a post about discoveries (and a lot of youtube links you should definitely follow).

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So Lent is officially over; if you celebrate it I hope it went well. I participated in a family easter egg hunt over zoom and learned that I used to force my parents to read my picture books silently to themselves while I flipped through pages and presumably understood none of the words, so really nothing has changed.

A lot of this blog is going to be, in essence, a book report: a read-along-with-Ryan, if you will. I’m nothing like an expert, but I am good at reading books. So I figured, if you’re someone who wants to know more about Shakespeare and doesn’t know where to start, why not take advice from someone who started in entirely the wrong place and has been learning things with absolutely no pattern or plan ever since?

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