Friday, May 13, 2011

FREE AT LAST- Continued Tales of an English Major

For those of you who pay attention, I (your wonderful bookseller, Kelsey) haven't been posting too much lately. This task has been left to my co-workers over the past few months as I let myself get distracted once again with school. One day, maybe I'll graduate and move on in the world, being able to focus solely on blogging for you. The irony of this is that when that day finally (hopefully) comes, I'll lose much of the material I blog about. If I hadn't gone to school this semester, for example, how could I tell you about reading almost 20 plays in three months?

That's right. 20 plays, 3 months. Just about a play and a half a week. Half of those plays were Shakespeare, and the other half were contemporary plays from all across Europe. The Fall semester's theme was adolescent lit (about 4,000 pages of it in 3 months) and this semester we focus on plays! Only plays! I picked up The Help the second I finished reading The Tempest and was so relieved to see that old familiar narrative style again.

Immersing myself in scripts has had an interesting effect, though. Reading a play presents many challenges that you don't find in normal narrative styles. For example, while a normal book certainly calls on your imagination, a script does so in ways you might not expect. Not only do you imagine what the character/actor would look like, you have to imagine the set, set dressing, props, and all of those other little things. This is still not too different from reading a normal book. Where the difference lies is that a play is intended to be performed in front of a live audience. No CGI allowed. This means when the character hangs himself or chops off someone's hand (we read a lot of violent plays,) this has to be performed in a semi-convincing way. This pushes the imagination to an entirely new level because the reader must consider not only what things would look like, but how they would be accomplished in a real-life setting.

And now my challenge to you: Read a play! We have a great selection of dramas in the store, and most of them are used! You don't necessarily have to go with Shakespeare, but if you do, remember that there is no shame in Spark Notes as long as you're reading the original text, too. You might want to read a script of a play set to come to Fort Collins in the next year! To check out what the local theater companies have planned, you can start at or among others. Then call us up at the Old Firehouse and we'll order a copy of the script for you!

It's like reading the book before the movie comes out, but it makes you even cooler.

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