What I've been reading . . .

After a long (hard) day at work, I thought I would write about some of the books I’ve been reading the last month and a half.

The latest book I finished was The Physick Book of Deliverance Dane by Katherine Howe. The book takes place in Marblehead, Salem, and Cambridge (among other Massachusetts towns), which made it easier to relate to. The book focuses on Connie Goodwin, a Ph.D. candidate, who makes an interesting discovery at her grandmother’s house one summer: a key inside a Bible with a tag that reads “Deliverance Dane.” This discovery leads her to search for Deliverance’s physick book, or book of spells and recipes. I thoroughly enjoyed the book, especially because I love books where the narrator has to do research in archives and libraries to solve the mystery. I would recommend the book for anyone interested in early American history.

In July I read The Girl with No Shadow by Joanne Harris. The book is a “sequel” to Chocolat but is definitely much darker and more mystical. Vianne Rocher (now Yanne Charbonneau) and her two daughters are now living in Montmartre in Paris and own a small chocolate shop. One day a woman calling herself Zozie de l'Alba enters the shop and shakes up their quiet life in Paris. While Zozie brings a lot of the light back into the chocolate shop, there is also a sinister side to her presence. I enjoyed this book even more than I thought I would and spent several days entranced by the world that Harris creates.

I also read The Angel’s Game by Carlos Ruiz Zafón earlier this month. I really enjoyed Zafón’s previous book The Shadow of the Wind, but The Angel’s Game never grabbed me the same way. The ending also left me cold and a little confused. Zafon’s language is beautiful, however, and he always leaves you with the desire to book a trip to Barcelona.

Twilight was also on my summer reading list, but I can’t say I was too impressed. I think the story is supposed to be the best part, but since I had already seen the movie, the story didn’t pull me in. At least I can say I’ve read it, but I don’t think I’ll waste my time on the other three.

The best part about reading the last month or so is that I’ve checked all but one of these books out from the library (my mom bought me The Girl with No Shadow when she was up here). I love that I can make an online request and then usually pick up the book a few days later. I’m still waiting on Lisa See’s new book Shanghai Girls, but hopefully it will come in soon.

Postscript to the Last Entry

I thought of something else that I wanted to add to my entry about my Shakespeare adventure a few weekends ago.

After the play let out, I went to my car and grabbed my camera to take a few pictures around the theater. I was taking a picture of a flower when I heard three well-dressed people discussing the play. They didn't like the production and thought it took a lot of liberties with Shakespeare's work. It wasn't humor the way Shakespeare intended, the man said. One woman then asked if a certain line was from Shakespeare: "Some are born great, some achieve greatness, and some have greatness thrust upon 'em." No, the man said, that was definitely not Shakespeare. Since I had never read Twelfth Night, I figured the man was right.

Well, a few days ago, I decided to look up the quote and see who had originally written the line since it wasn't from Shakespeare. A quick Google search proved that Shakespeare did in fact write the line in Twelfth Night. After I realized that, it made me question the group's assertion that the play wasn't the way Shakespeare would have intended it. After all Shakespeare wrote more for the lower class than the rich and powerful, and his comedies usually were very bawdy. I guess it just goes to show you that you can't trust someone even if they say something with authority.

Shakespeare and Mexican Food

When I lived in Henderson, I loved going to the Texas Shakespeare Festival in Kilgore with my mom during the summer. The first play we saw was A Midsummer's Night Dream in 1995, and we attended at least one play almost every summer after that until I began graduate school in 2006. Since moving up to Massachusetts, we haven't been able to go to the plays together, and we've both really missed it.

A few weeks ago I read a review for Shakespeare & Company's production of Twelfth Night in the Globe. The reviewer just raved about the play, so I decided to purchase a ticket for the Saturday matinee performance last weekend. Shakespeare & Company is located in Lenox, which is right at the western edge of Massachusetts in the Berkshires. I left my apartment around 11 a.m. to make the play at 2 p.m. Unfortunately, traffic was backed up on the Pike for the longest time; I kept watching the arrival time on my GPS get later and later as I barely moved in the bumper-to-bumper traffic. By the time the traffic finally cleared out, I could tell that I was going to be several minutes late to the play. I did finally arrive at the theater around 15 minutes late and was able to get a seat near the back of the theater.

Twelfth Night
is one of Shakespeare's comedies, and this production was definitely very funny (and bawdy, according to some people I heard talking in the lobby). I was a little confused in the beginning since I had missed the first 15 minutes and hadn't read a synopsis of the play earlier. However, it was interesting just to experience the beauty of Shakespeare's language. All of the actors were just wonderful. I was especially impressed by the woman who played Viola (Cesario). She would throw herself (and have other actors throw her) across the stage, even climbing one of the poles around the stage at one point. Seeing the play made me want to attend more live theater.

After the play ended, I was starving. I had been planning to grab lunch along the way, but when I got stuck in traffic, I decided to just drive on. So I started the return trip on the lookout for something to eat. I took one of the Springfield exits to look for food and somehow ended up at On the Border, the place I had been thinking about eating at the whole day. I gathered up my courage and went in to ask for a table for one. Even though the enchiladas weren't as good as others I have had, they still tasted wonderful after the long day. I also really enjoyed the chips and hot sauce and the Dr. Pepper.

After leaving On the Border, I headed back home to Natick. Even though I was a little late to the play, the day definitely turned out to be a good adventure.

Shakespeare and Mexican food . . . what's better than that?