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Preparing for England

We have tickets for "A Midsummer Night's Dream" at Shakespeare's Globe in May, so I'm rereading the play. Of course I remember the main story, but I had forgotten many of the (funny) details.

I'm also rereading Bill Bryson's "At Home," in which he uses his own home, a former rectory in a village north of London, as a launching pad to discuss, well, pretty much everything! Lots of history, culture, and trivia. A great book.

Posted by
12568 posts

We are going to that play at the Globe as well! So I am going to read the play and also whatever I can find that explains the cultural and political references.
I read Bryson's book on Shakespeare last month and will have to go back and see what is in there. I am currently reading his latest book, "The Road to Little Dribbling"' in which he again travels around England to visit places in which he has an interest for historical, archeological, or other reasons.

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4737 posts

Thanks, Lola, for mentioning Bryson's Shakespeare book. I had forgotten about it, so I just put a hold on it at our local library. We're on the waiting list for "Little Dribbling." But it's a long list!

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6370 posts

For one person's general feelings about being in England, on the order of A Year in Provence or Under The Tuscan Sun,
I can recommend My Love Affair With England by Susan Allen Toth. An easy entertaining read.

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4737 posts

I just ordered the book from the library, Nancy. Thanks.

Edit: I loved the book, and have decided it's the perfect Mother's Day gift for my Anglophile mom!

Posted by
3500 posts

Jane, If you are interested in history you might want to read Londinium by Edward Rutherfurd.

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6370 posts

Jane, if you like My Love Affair With England, she has a couple of other books too. England As You Like It, which I also enjoyed and England For All Seasons, which I haven't read yet.

Posted by
4737 posts

Wow! A surfeit of riches! Thanks, Nancy (again), Keith, and TC. We love history, as well as art. I've just checked out "Daughter of Time," which I haven't read in years, and DH has never read. And I'm halfway through Bryson's Shakespeare book.

What fun! The trip is getting close enough now that I'm starting to have palpitations. It's time to review the guidebooks and start making lists of the things we're probably not going to have time to see!

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170 posts

Jane,

I saw Henry IV Part II at Shakespeare's Globe in 2010 and loved every second of it. I stood in the yard with the other groundlings.

Make sure you take a tour of Shakespeare's Globe and visit the museum. Also, go next door to see the part of the Rose Theater stage that's been excavated. Also visit the site of the original Globe a couple blocks away from modern Globe. Unfortunately, nothing remains of the original Globe.

Want another book recommendation? Read "The Lodger: Shakespeare on Silver Street" by Charles Nicholl. It's an impressive work of history.

Enjoy beautiful London.

Posted by
4900 posts

Besides "Londinium," Rutherfurd wrote "Sarum," a similar multi-century narrative focusing on Salisbury and environs. Bryson also wrote an earlier book, "Notes from a Small Island," about his first trip around Britain, hilarious. I too am on the library waitlist for "Little Dribbling," maybe they'll reach me next year.

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4737 posts

The other night our local "art cinema" showed the 1980-something BBC production of "A Midsummer Night's Dream." We enjoyed it, especially Ronnie Barker as Bottom. Lynn Redgrave was a magnificent Helena. The running time was almost exactly 2 hours, with no breaks. I'm glad I had recently reread the play!

Neither of my local library systems has "Londinium," but I'll check out the other recommendations. I have read "Notes from a Small Island," but it looks unlikely that I'll crawl my way up the waiting list to get "Little Dribbling" before our trip.

Thanks, everyone.

Posted by
533 posts

The Edward Rutherfurd book is called "London," not "Londinium." He also wrote "Sarum," as mentioned, and a third book about England called "The Forest." I loved all three - they really give you a fun and (apparently) accurate look at English history - but they are loooooooong books, with plots spanning a thousand years or more, so it might be tough to finish by May.

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4737 posts

Thanks, kh, I'll try looking by author instead of title. Although I think I did already.... But I'll check again.

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491 posts

If you like fiction, I recommend "London Holiday" by Richard Peck.

Also, one of my favorites is "Queen Victoria's Sketchbook" (non fiction).