As always, Shakespeare Lives! Again! Book Review: Vinegar Girl by Anne Tyler

You may think you don't need a recasting of The Taming of the Shrew in modern-day Baltimore, but I am here to tell you that you do. Kate, a.k.a. the shrew, will set you on your ear, as she does everyone she encounters. I won't give away the ending, but let's just say that the usual person does not do the taming.

As well, you need all the other bits of the fantabulous Hogarth Shakespeare Project, so clever and original and urgent in these crazy days of 2017: Jeanette Winterson’s The Gap of Time (formerly The Winter’s Tale) was published in 2015, and Howard Jacobson’s Shylock is My Name (bet you can guess its genesis) came out last February. Last October brought Margaret Atwood’s Hag-Seed, formerly known as The Tempest, where it revealed itself as a crazy prison revenge high drama; Edward St. Aubyn’s King Lear is due in 2018--who knows what marvels that might bring?

Gasp! More are coming. Just when you thought it couldn't get any better: Gillian Flynn on Hamlet, Jo Nesbø on Macbeth, and Tracy Chevalier on Othello. My heart beats faster.

Some say all the stories have been written, and many of them by Shakespeare. But this series proves that there is endless room for reinvention, and even, dare I say, betterment. You can thank me later for turning you on to this series. You are welcome!

Hogarth Shakespeare Project


MUST love dogs! (and no, I don't mean that fun Claire Cook book of the same name)

I'm almost finished with Essential Maps for the Lost, and I have my fingers crossed for Mads and Billy, but really, meeting that way? Lying that way, so many times? Essentially not letting the person you claim to love really see you for who you are, because you are too afraid s/he won't love you then? Can that really be love, or just shades of that awful truth in Gone Girl?
But boy, does Deb Caletti love dogs. In her books I swear her characters love dogs more than they love people, even when they meet the people they claim to love above all others. I'm not much of a dog lover myself, could go either way on any given day on any given dog but don't want any which one of them living in my house, making me sneeze and wheeze and generally miserable.
Dogs for Coletti seem to stand for true love, whatever that is, love that is selfless and unquenchable and never-ending and absolute. This is interesting because her stories are so messy, so full of doubt and pain, so...life-like. It's almost as if love and life have nothing in common.
I've read or plan to read them all, though currently I still like The Last Forever the best, but you can't go wrong with any of them. I'll be right there in line to read the next one, dogs and all.