Tuesday, 27 June 2017

Musing Monday - more Margaret Atwood books and where I like to read in the summer

Musing Monday, June 26, 2017

Musing Mondays is a weekly meme that asks you to choose one of the following prompts to answer:

  • I’m currently reading…
  • Up next I think I’ll read…
  • I bought the following book(s) in the past week…
  • I’m super excited to tell you about (book/author/bookish-news)…
  • I’m really upset by (book/author/bookish-news)…
  • I can’t wait to get a copy of…
  • I wish I could read ___, but…
  • I blogged about ____ this past week…

Up next I think I’ll read…

Hag-Seed: The Tempest Retold (Hogarth Shakespeare)
by Margaret Atwood

Margaret Atwood is one of Canada's most prolific authors. She's also one of the most polarising; there's a saying here that you either love her work or you hate it, no middle ground. It's very accurate, it's really hard to find people who are just ambivalent, or only like her. I myself used to be ambivalent, and I do have one friend who just likes her. This year though I've firmly moved into the love her camp. Up until this year, I had only read one Margaret Atwood novel, The Robber Bride, which I really enjoy, which is why I was in the ambivalent group. Since January though I have read another of her novels (The Handmaid's Tale), one of her novellas (The Penelopiad), and have fallen in love with her graphic novel series (Angel Catbird). I was not expecting to enjoy any of those as much as I did. I've had Oryx and Crake out from work for a few months now waiting for me to get around to it.

Last week while playing euchre during lunch with my friends the science librarian, the gaming design librarian and my reserves officemate I mentioned that I was going to see Twelfth Night in Stratford this past Thursday (it was really well done by the by) and that got us talking about Shakespeare. I'm not sure how we specifically got onto the topic of The Tempest but once we did I went into my rant about why I really don't like it and why I spark noted my way through it in the class I had to study it for. See when I went to visit Angie the first time in 2005, I went with my cousin and we spent a week in London between our bus tour and our week at Angie's, during that week one of the things we did was go and see a play at the actual Globe Theatre. For those of you who don't know, that was where Shakespeare's plays were originally played. Anyway, the play we were seeing was The Tempest which at the time I knew NOTHING about. And afterwards, I still knew nothing...See there are at a minimum, 21 characters in this play. This particular production of The Tempest was a 3 man production. So each actor was playing approximately 6-7 characters a piece. With minimal costume and set changes. It was near next to impossible to follow along or keep track of anything.

With that experience in mind, you can now understand why I was very trepidatious about the Margaret Atwood take on The Tempest that they next told me about in that conversation. But I figure, at this point, if anyone can help me make sense of that play and even help me enjoy it it's probably Margaret Atwood. I figured I'd get around to checking it out at some point in the distant future, and then when I went to pick up my holds from the public library on Thursday before Twelfth Night there on the express reads shelf that I had to pass to get to the circulation desk, was a copy of Hag-Seed front and centre. I figured it was fate and picked it up. And since it's a 2-week express loan with no renewals I have to have it done by July 7 which means it has to be the next book I read when I finally finish Blood Prophecy (I ended up rereading the first 5 books in the series like I said I might):

Hag-Seed is a re-visiting of Shakespeare’s play of magic and illusion, The Tempest, and will be the fourth novel in the Hogarth Shakespeare series.

The Tempest is set on a remote island full of strange noises and creatures. Here, Prospero, the deposed Duke of Milan, plots to restore the fortunes of his daughter Miranda by using magic and illusion -- starting with a storm that will bring Antonio, his treacherous brother, to him. All Prospero, the great sorcerer, needs to do is watch as the action he has set in train unfolds. 

In Margaret Atwood’s ‘novel take’ on Shakespeare’s original, theatre director Felix has been unceremoniously ousted from his role as Artistic Director of the Makeshiweg Festival. When he lands a job teaching theatre in a prison, the possibility of revenge presents itself – and his cast find themselves taking part in an interactive and illusion-ridden version of The Tempest that will change their lives forever.

There’s a lot of Shakespearean swearing in this new Tempest adventure…but also a mischief, curiosity and vigour that’s entirely Atwood and is sure to delight her fans.-- via Goodreads

        THIS WEEK’S RANDOM QUESTION: What is your favorite spot to read during the summer?

I never used to. I've always been one of those readers who will read absolutely anywhere, at any time, appropriate or otherwise (yup, I totally got told off more than once in class for reading during lectures, one time my teacher even took my book away not knowing I had a second copy...). But this summer I have managed to find one spot that I do keep going back to so I guess you could call it my favourite now. My dog has this giant stuffed penguin that she never plays with so I use it as a pillow when she wants me to play on the floor with her. Well, when I was in England I took to reading laying on my stomach on the floor at Angie's flat the last few days of the trip because it was cooler on the floor and I could stretch out better than I could on her couch. So when I got home I decided to make myself a little reading nook on the floor. I spread out a couple of my blankets for padding and then started using the penguin to cushion my arms. It's been working out quite well, I tend to go read there in the evenings after Angie goes to bed. It's also near my big yoga ball, which I pick up and play with with my feet while I'm reading. Which I know Angie will now laugh at me for admitting and point out that I really can't sit still.

AND LAST BUT CERTAINLY NOT LEAST, NOT IN ANY WAY, I WANT TO WISH A VERY HAPPY 20TH ANNIVERSARY TO MY FAVOURITE BOY WIZARD, ONE OF MY FAVOURITE CHARACTERS OF ALL TIME, MR. HARRY POTTER. And I want to take a moment to say thank you to JK Rowling because without her we wouldn't have Harry and the world would be a much sadder place (not least of which because without Harry I probably would not have met Angie).


  1. I mostly love Margaret Atwood's books. I wasn't a fan of the MaddAddam Trilogy, but loved The Handmaid's Tale, The Robber Bride, Cat's Eye, and The Blind Assassin.

    I have been on the fence about Hag-Seed, but I think I'm going to go for it.

    Enjoy! Thanks for visiting my blog.

    1. You're welcome! And thanks for the return visit :)

      I've heard mixed reviewed about the MaddAddam trilogy but I feel like that's true about all of her stuff so I'm trying to go in with an open mind. I loved the Robber's Bride too - if you haven't heard it I HIGHLY recommend the Claire Danes narrated audio edition (listened to a double speed) it was REALLY well done. I might have to try Cat's Eye and Blind Assassin, I've heard of the first but not the second.

  2. I've never read Atwood, but I've dabbled in some Shakespeare. Isn't it neat when you discover you truly enjoy an author you weren't sure about? Sounds like a lovely reading nook (maybe a pic is in order).

    Thanks for visiting my blog.

    1. So far I haven't had a miss with her. I'm about to get into Manga Shakespeare, should be interesting!

      The nook is currently dismantled because I needed the space it was in to build some ikea shelves last weekend but once it's put back together I can snap a photo haha.