Barbarian Book Club: November 2017

Another month of reading has come and gone, this one a particularly busy one due to our trip to California for my brother's wedding. Surprisingly I managed to finish three books in what little time I had. The Coffee Trader by David Liss was my airplane read on the way back from California. Somehow I …

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Barbarian Book Club: September & October 2017

I've been feeling kind of burned out on fiction. The last two months I've only read non-fiction, mostly focusing on the early 19th century, specifically the French Revolution and the Napoleonic Wars. I don't plan my reading. What I do is randomly buy books based on whatever whim I'm experiencing at the time, so my …

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Reading Shakespeare: A Midsummer Night’s Dream Act 5

Scene 1 Summary: Everyone is back in Athens and freshly married. Theseus dismisses the stories from the night as the fanciful fantasies of lovers and poets. They all sit back and watch the play put on by Bottom and his crew. The play is so bad that they spend the whole time laughing at it but …

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Reading Shakespeare: A Midsummer Night’s Dream Act 4

Scene 1 Summary: The scene starts off with Titania dotting on Bottom. He's relaxing in her faerie bed requesting all sorts of crazy stuff from the fairies charged with his enjoyment. After a bit of music, they all fall asleep and Oberon and Puck who were watching the whole scene hidden decide to fix the spell and …

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Reading Shakespeare: A Midsummer Night’s Dream Act 3

Scene 1 Summary:  The band of Athenian workers meet up in the forest and begin rehearsing their play. Robin Goodfellow wanders in on them invisible and uses his magic to turn Bottom into a donkey-headed beast. When he comes around to read his lines the other actors freak out and run away. Thinking that they are …

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Reading Shakespeare: A Midsummer Night’s Dream Act 2

Scene 1 Summary: In the dark forest outside Athens the mischevious fairy Puck, aka Robin Goodfellow discusses the quarrel between the King and Queen of Fairyland over an Indian changeling with another fairy. Suddenly both parties, Oberon and Titania arrive in the forest with their retinues. They square off and jealously accuse each other of wanting to …

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Reading Shakespeare: A Midsummer Night’s Dream Act 1

I continue my reading through the Western Canon with Shakespeare's A Midsummers Night's Dream. A magical romantic comedy about two pairs of lovers lost in an enchanted fairy forest filled with strange characters that cross each others path. I've always had an attraction to stories that featured Fairies, of the old European variety. The mythological …

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Reading Shakespeare: Moving on from Macbeth

I finished The Tragedy of Macbeth about two weeks ago. I took a break from Shakespeare to indulge my current obsession with the French Revolution and the Napoleonic wars. But now it's time to move on and continue with my Shakespeare read. Because Macbeth was a dark tragedy and this month I'm feeling rather jovial …

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Reading Shakespeare: Macbeth Act 5

Scene 1 Summary:  Back at Inverness Castle a Doctor and a Lady attendant watch Lady Macbeth sleepwalk, an act she has been performing nightly since her husband has been out in the field. She walks around the castle with her eyes open but asleep, the whole time rubbing her hands and lamenting un-washable blood.  The Doctor exclaims …

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Reading Shakespeare: Macbeth Act 4

Scene 1 Summary: In a dark cave the Weird Sisters are chanting vile incantations around a bubbling cauldron. Macbeth enters and demands that they give him more prophecy. They agree and show him three visions. The first is a floating armored head that warns him about Macduff. The second is a bloody child that tells him no …

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