The Shakespeare Project – An Introduction

Let’s talk for a moment about Shakespeare. As with pretty much every child in the US, I was required to read several of his plays during my time in school. A Midsummer Nights Dream, Twelfth Night, Julius Caesar, Romeo and Juliet (twice), and Othello are all the ones I remember, some more fondly than others.

Since I graduated high school, I haven’t picked up a Shakespeare play. I’ve thought about it. I own several of them, and have even seen several of them performed, but I haven’t picked up and read one in a long time.

Why? Partly because I don’t want to seem like that person who’s reading Shakespeare. But I like the plays, they’re good, and also, who besides me is really going to care?

I was talking with a few people about Shakespeare the other day, and one mentioned that he’s doing a challenge where he reads the entire collective works in the proposed order that they were written in. This seemed like the perfect way to read them to me.

So I’m going to start reading all of Shakespeare. I don’t think that I’ll finish all of them by the end of the year, or maybe even next year. This will be an ongoing challenge to myself to read through the entire works. Looking at the list I have, there are 37. Of these, the ones I’ve previously read are up towards the top. I’m going to re-read these as a part of this challenge.

The first four books I’m starting with are Henry VI, Parts II, III, and I, followed by Richard III, which make up the full arc of the War of the Roses.

I’m really excited to start this project. I won’t be posting full reviews for every one of the plays, but I may group a few of them together to post about as an update. If everything goes well with this, there are a few other authors that I would consider doing a similar project with. First though, we’ll read these 37.