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Aug 15, 2023

Shakespeare Day: What Is It and How Do I Celebrate It?

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Probably the most well-known playwright in the world, William Shakespeare is the source of some fantastic works like Macbeth, Richard III and of course, the renowned Romeo & Juliet. Born in 1564 in Stratford-upon-Avon, Shakespeare went on to marry Anne Hathaway and together they went on to have three children. During his lifetime Shakespeare produced some 39 plays, 154 sonnets, 3 long narrative poems and few other verses.

International Shakespeare day is an occasion to celebrate the life and achievements of one of England’s most prestigious and accomplished individuals to have ever lived. There are a multitude of ways to celebrate this momentous day, options include going to watch the product of his life’s work by attending a play or performance of his work, people say that the best way to preserve history is by learning about it so you can pass it on to others so why not do a little of your own research and learn a little bit more about our favourite playwright.

Here at WeBuyBooks we strongly believe that it is important to preserve these memories, and, being all about books (could you guess?), we have put together a list of our favourite books inspired by the works of William Shakespeare.


New Boy - Tracy Chevalier

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New Boy is a modern retelling of Shakespeare’s tragedy, Othello. With the story withdrawn from the war-torn island of Cyprus and injected into a small suburban schoolyard in Washington during the 1970’s. The story follows the diplomat’s son Osei Kokote, on his first day of the fifth school in 5 years. Knowing the only way to make it through the trials of the first day at school is to find an ally, he manages to hit it off with the most popular girl in school which causes volatile rifts between him and another student.


Brave New World - Aldous Huxley

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Brave New World bares a slightly faded resemblance to its Shakespearian counterpart The Tempest, but the connection is definitely there. The first clue to the Shakespearian tale in which we talk about is the title, “Brave New World” is of course a segment from a speech by Miranda in the play. Broaching themes of loyalty, trust, and justice, Brave New World explores a failed remote, tropical utopia.


Chasing The Stars - Malorie Blackman

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This futuristic retelling of the classic, Othello. Chasing the Stars has a rather other-worldly approach to the historical piece, following a space voyage fraught with murder, disease, and treachery. Olivia and her twin brother Aiden are the last two crew members alive on a voyage back to earth after losing the remainder of their crew and their entire family. Meeting them coming in the opposite direction is Nathan, one of the few remaining members of a community that was savagely attacked killing the majority of their number. A story full of loss, pain, discovery and attraction.


Love in idleness – Amanda Craig

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Set in contemporary Tuscany, Love is Idleness is a reworking of Shakespeare’s A Midsummer Nights Dream. All the familiar traits and tropes of the classic Shakespearean comedy are all present as well as some pretty wacky and inventive names to stay strong with tradition. A story exposing cracks and inconsistencies that we as humans exhibit in our search for love.


A Thousand Acres – Jane Smiley

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Smiley retells the story of King Lear in Modern day Iowa, set on a thousand-acre farm owned by three sisters and their father. The tale is told through the eyes of the eldest of these sisters and instead of the framing the other siblings as scheming and clutching, Smiley instead focuses on the secrets forming the foundations of the drama and on the setting in which this rework is lived.

So that’s just a couple a few examples of our favourite novels inspired by the works of the great William Shakespeare. Let us know if your list would be different.

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