What I’m doing at the beginning of 2013

As it’s the beginning of the year I thought’ I’d give a quick overview of everything that I am up to at the moment, including crafts that I am doing and books that I am reading!

I’ll start off with crafts!

On my needles…

WP_000141 Continue reading


Ain’t No Rest For The Wicked…

So, it would appear that my aim to keep up with blogging in December after the slump in posts during NaNoWriMo hasn’t quite come off. December is a pretty hectic month anyway, but I am currently feeling pretty overwhelmed with Christmas crafting and university work! Luckily, I have just finished my Faith hope and Charity Shopping Swap and that is all parcelled up ready for posting. That just leaves me with 4 presents to finish before Christmas day! I’m slowly beginning to feel like I am making progress!

In terms of university work, my next set of deadlines fall in the second and third weeks of January, and I have three essays due with a combined word count of 9,000 words. Ideally, I would like to get these out of the way before Christmas, which might actually be achievable if I didn’t also have 19 books to read and 7 films to watch in preparation for semester 2!

The books include: Continue reading

Shakespeare Live From the Globe!

As I am doing a year long Shakespeare module, you won’t be surprised to hear that I have been busy reading many of his plays. However, this week I was in for an extra treat, as one of my lecturers organised a trip to the local cinema, which was showing Much Ado About Nothing live from Shakespeare’s Globe Theatre.

As an absolute Shakespeare lover, it has always been my dream to go to the Globe (ideally to see Macbeth as that is my favourite!) but when I hear that this trip was being organised I knew that I had to go! Continue reading

‘King Richard III’ by William Shakespeare: A Review


Author: William Shakespeare
Genre: Play, Drama, Tragedy
First Written: approx 1591
Pages: 227 (Cambridge School edition with script on one page and summary on opposite page with summaries after each act)

Once again, I am relying on Sparknotes to assist me in the summary:

After a long civil war between the royal family of York and the royal family of Lancaster, England enjoys a period of peace under King Edward IV and the victorious Yorks. But Edward’s younger brother, Richard, resents Edward’s power and the happiness of those around him. Malicious, power-hungry, and bitter about his physical deformity, Richard begins to aspire secretly to the throne—and decides to kill anyone he has to in order to become king.

Using his intelligence and his skills of deception and political manipulation, Richard begins his campaign for the throne. He manipulates a noblewoman, Lady Anne, into marrying him—even though she knows that he murdered her first husband. He has his own older brother, Clarence, executed, and shifts the burden of guilt onto his sick older brother King Edward in order to accelerate Edward’s illness and death. After King Edward dies, Richard becomes lord protector of England—the figure in charge until the elder of Edward’s two sons grows up. Continue reading

Amended Reading List

As some of you may have noticed, my recent reviews haven’t matched the reading list that I shared with you a while ago!  There have been a few of reasons for this, the first being that my German pen pal was reading Dracula, so I decided to bump it up to the top of my list so that we could read it at the same time and discuss it. The second reason is that I have received my confirmed Shakespeare reading list, so I don’t have quite so many to read! Thirdly, it has suddenly occurred to me how little time I actually have left to get my reading finished before the start of term, so the books of my choice will have to be set aside for the moment!

So here is my amended reading list:

1.Titus Andronicus by William Shakespeare

2. Dracula by Bram Stoker  GOTHIC 

3. Much Ado About Nothing by William Shakespeare

4. The Mysteries of Udolpho by Ann Radcliffe

5. King Richard III by William Shakespeare

6. The Hound of the Baskervilles by Arthur Conan Doyle GOTHIC

7. Hamlet by William Shakespeare

8. The Castle of Otranto by Horace Walpole GOTHIC

9. Northanger Abbey by Jane Austen GOTHIC

10. The Beetle by Richard Marsh GOTHIC

11. I Am Legend by Richard Matheson GOTHIC

Then once all of that has been read, I will be ready for the start of term!

‘Much Ado About Nothing’ by William Shakespeare: A Review

Author: William Shakespeare
Genre: Drama/Play
Written: Between 1588 and 1593
Pages: 161 (In Cambridge School edition, with play on one side of the page and additional information on the opposite page and between the acts.)

Much Ado about Nothing is a play about misunderstandings. Claudio falls in love with the beautiful Hero, who returns her love, and they plan to marry. Meanwhile, the bickering Benedick and Beatrice are tricked into believing the other loves them by the use of gossip, and each decides to return the other’s love.

The evening before Claudio and Hero’s wedding, the jealous Don John tricks Claudio into believing that Hero is unfaithful to him, so Claudio leave Hero at the alter, where she faints and appears to have died. On the evening before the wedding however, Don John’s two henchmen were arrested after the scheme was overheard, but all could not be revealed in time to save the wedding.

Believing his daughter to be unchaste, Hero’s father takes vengeance on Claudio, who still believes Hero to be dead. Just as the threat of a fight is imminent, the blundering constable brings in the villains and all is revealed. Claudio mourns the death of Hero, only to be united to her at the alter the next day, unaware that he is really marrying his true love. Benedick and Beatrice discover that they have been set up, but decide to go ahead with a marriage also.

This is the first of Shakespeare’s comedies that I have read and I was pleasantly surprised. I had always enjoyed his tragedies, so I didn’t know what to expect from this play, but I thoroughly enjoyed reading it! The relatively complex plot was surprisingly easy to follow, and the frequent misunderstandings that often define Shakespeare’s plays were incredibly believable. I found myself being drawn in and wanting to discover the outcome of the play.

I also found that this play was somewhat easier to understand than some of the more complex tragedies like Othello, as the scheming was less complex and easier to comprehend – this also meant that it was easy to read it in a day! After reading this comedy, I am looking forward to exploring more!

Favourite Quote:
Beatrice – Lord, I could not endure a husband with a beard on his face, I had rather lie in the woollen!
Leonato – You may light on a husband that hath no beard.
Beatrice – What should I do with him – dress him in my apparel and make him my waiting gentlewoman? He that hath no beard is more than a youth: and he that hath no beard is less than a man: and he that is more than a youth, is not for me, and he that is less than a man, I am not for him… (Act 2, Scene 1)

Rating: 8/10

‘Titus Andronicus’ by William Shakespeare: A Review

Author: William Shakespeare
Genre: Drama/Play
Written: Between 1588 and 1593
Pages: 26 (in complete works with two columns per page)


(Summary from SparkNotes as they did a better job than I did!)

‘Titus Andronicus, Roman general, returns from ten years of war with only four out of twenty-five sons left. He has captured Tamora, Queen of the Goths, her three sons, and Aaron the Moor. In obedience to Roman rituals, he sacrifices her eldest son to his own dead sons, which earns him Tamora’s unending hatred and her promise of revenge.

Tamora is made empress by the new emperor Saturninus. To get back at Titus, she schemes with her lover Aaron to have Titus’s two sons framed for the murder of Bassianus, the emperor’s brother. Titus’s sons are beheaded. Unappeased, she urges her sons Chiron and Demetrius to rape Titus’s daughter Lavinia, after which they cut off her hands and tongue so she cannot give their crime away. Finally, even Titus’s last surviving son Lucius is banished from Rome; he subsequently seeks alliance with the enemy Goths in order to attack Rome. Each new misfortune hits the aged, tired Titus with heavier impact. Eventually, he begins to act oddly and everyone assumes that he is crazy.

Tamora tries to capitalize on his seeming madness by pretending to be the figure of Revenge, come to offer him justice if Titus will only convince Lucius to cease attacking Rome. Titus, having feigned his madness all along, tricks her, captures her sons, kills them, and makes pie out of them. He feeds this pie to their mother in the final scene, after which he kills both Tamora and Lavinia, his own daughter. A rash of killings ensue; the only people left alive are Marcus, Lucius, Young Lucius, and Aaron. Lucius has the unrepentant Aaron buried alive, and Tamora’s corpse thrown to the beasts. He becomes the new emperor of Rome.’ Source: http://www.sparknotes.com/shakespeare/titus/summary.html

Before I started reading this play, I had read that it is Shakespeare’s bloodiest and most violent play. To an extent you come to expect it in a Shakespearean tragedy, but nothing had quite prepared me for the volume of unnecessary violence in the play. The number of limbs getting hacked off was positively disturbing! However, the plot itself was interesting and engaging, although (as is often the case with a Shakespeare play) it did take me a while to work out the relationships between the characters and to remember who was who!

I was disappointed with the end of the play however, as the climax that was building up throughout the play never really came to much. However, Shakespeare’s eloquent description and witty remarks make up for the sometimes disappointing plot. It isn’t a Shakespeare play I had ever considered reading, and reminded me of Christopher Marlowe’s ‘Tamburlaine’ due to the amount of extreme violence; however, I strangely enjoyed it for reasons that I cannot fathom. I think that the main reason that I felt drawn to it was because of the carefully calculated plot, which is exciting and fast-paced.

In conclusion, this play is guaranteed to make your stomach churn, and yet you cannot help feeling drawn in by the action. As Shakespeare plays go, it was pretty easy to grasp the plot so it may be a good one for people who don’t often read a lot of Shakespeare!

Favourite Quotes: TAMORA: ‘And when they show’d me this abhorred pit / They told me, here, at dead time of night / A thousand fiends, a thousand hissing snakes / Ten thousand swelling toads, as many urchins / Would make such fearful and confused cries / as any mortal body hearing it / Should straight fall mad, or else die suddenly …’ (Act II, Scene III)

And for pure comedy value:

CHIRON: ‘Thou hast undone our mother’
AARON: ‘Villain, I have done thy mother.’ (Act IV, Scene II)

Rating: 6/10

Reading List #2

As I have just finished the last book on my first reading list, I have decided to share my next one with you! As my summer holiday is slipping away quickly, I have decided that it is time to tackle my university reading list. In my first semester, I will be doing a Shakespeare module and a Gothic module, but I still want to read some of my own books while I have time! So I have decided that I will read a Shakespeare play, Gothic novel, Shakespeare play, book of choice, Shakespeare play, Gothic novel…etc. So, here are my first ten plays/books to read!

1.Titus Andronicus by William Shakespeare

2. The Mysteries of Udolpho by Ann Radcliffe  GOTHIC 

3. King Richard the Second by William Shakespeare

4. Lord of the Flies by William Golding

5.The Merchant of Venice by William Shakespeare

6. The Hound of the Baskervilles by Arthur Conan Doyle GOTHIC

7. King Henry the Fifth by William Shakespeare

8. The Silence of the Lambs by Thomas Harris

9. Much Ado About Nothing by William Shakespeare

10. Dracula by Bram Stoker GOTHIC

So this should keep me busy for a while! Plus, I still have the reviews from the last two books I read, (Dr Jekyll and Mr Holmes and Elsewhere) so keep an eye out for these! And of course I will be reviewing all of these as soon as I have finished them!

Also, if you haven’t had chance yet but you are interested in doing so, I would appreciate it if you would have a look at the article that I wrote about the Horror Night as part of our local literary festival. Thank you!

30 Day Book Challenge – #24 Book That Contains Your Favourite Scene

This was another one that had me stumped for a while, until I considered it literally and thought, “what is my favourite scene?” The answer then became pretty obvious, as my favourite scene from a play is Lady Macbeth’s sleepwalking scene from William Shakespeare’s ‘Macbeth’. So I dug out my leather bound ‘Complete Works of Shakespeare’ and tracked down Act Five, Scene One.

‘Macbeth’ is the story of a Scottish Thane, who encounters some witches on his way back from battle. They promise him titles beyond his belief, particularly when they predict that he will be king. He is shortly informed that he has been awarded the position of Thane of Cawdor, a title the witches had promised. As the predictions come true, Macbeth and his scheming wife become ambitious and plot to kill the King. Once they have done this, Macbeth receives the crown as the witches promised – but the guilt is too much to live with.

In Act Five, Scene One, Lady Macbeth is sleepwalking and talking, and reveals the crime her and her husband committed to a Doctor and a maid.

‘Yet here’s a spot. Out, damned spot! out I say!…The thane of Fife had a wife; where is she now? What, will these hands ne’er be clean!’

I’m the least likely person to ever be an actor, but if I did act for any reason, the one part I would play would be Lady Macbeth. I love the way this scene depicts her mental decline due to the guilt she feels. It is definitely my favourite scene – from any play or novel. I love the way it reads and how successfully it can be performed. It is such a haunting and atmospheric scene.