The Shape of Grief in Hamlet

Happy Halloween!

Want to read something creepy? Shakespeare’s Hamlet has you covered with ghosts, murder, insanity, and more!

Today my review/analysis of Claudius’s creepy, evil character is featured on Matthew O’Connell’s blog.  He posts atypical book reviews that focus more on a particular aspect of a book.  If you haven’t already, you should definitely check it out! Here’s a sneak peak of my post:


Inspired by Robert Schumann’s “Verrufene Stelle” from Waldszenen, Op. 82, a classical music work (as performed by Sviatoslav Richter).

Hamlet is easily one of my favorite plays for reasons too numerous to go into here. So I’m just going to focus on Claudius: Hamlet’s evil, murdering, and incestuous uncle.

How can we understand his character? He’s obviously committed the horrible crime of killing his royal brother as well as the highly questionable act of marrying that brother’s wife shortly thereafter…We don’t explicitly know what he was like before the murder, but it’s still reasonable to infer that the murder and marriage were his first “large” sins because of the torturous guilt and echoes of remorse he experiences later on in the play. A repeat criminal would perhaps be hardened, but a first-time criminal may struggle with the emotional aftermath of his actions. Actually, such a character transformation also occurs in Shakespeare’s Macbeth: Macbeth originally doesn’t want to murder King Duncan. It’s his wife that incites him with the deprecatory lines:

“I have given suck, and know
How tender ‘tis to love the babe that milks me:
I would, while it was smiling in my face,
Have pluck’d my nipple from his boneless gums,
And dash’d the brains out, had I so sworn as you
Have done to this”


“But screw your courage to the sticking-place,
And we’ll not fail.”

Read more here!

Songs For Every Book

Songs For Every Book: Ophelia From Hamlet

HAMLET: I did love you once.
OPHELIA: Indeed, my lord, you made me believe so.
HAMLET: You should not have believed me; for virtue cannot
so inoculate our old stock but we shall relish of
it: I loved you not.
OPHELIA: I was the more deceived.

O, help him, you sweet heavens!
–Act III, scene i


1965 by Zella Day

“Can we go back to the world we had?
With a love so sweet it makes me sad
Can we go back to the world we had?
It’s the world we’ve been dreaming of.”


Top 8 Things From Books That I Wish Were Real


1) Being able to hire a hero (J.R.R. Tolkien’s The Hobbit)

2) Perpetual tea time (Lewis Carroll’s Alice in Wonderland)

3) Amateur sleuths choosing you as their companion (Sir Arthur Conan Doyle’s Sherlock Holmes)

4) Mysterious strangers who have only one name (Emily Brontë’s Wuthering Heights) Continue reading “Top 8 Things From Books That I Wish Were Real”

Songs For Every Book

Songs for Every Book: Romeo and Juliet

JULIET: “Shall I speak ill of             him that is my husband?
Ah, poor my lord, what tongue         shall smooth thy name,
When I, thy three-hours wife,           have mangled it?
But, wherefore, villain, didst             thou kill my cousin? …             Wash they his wounds with            tears: mine shall be spent,
When theirs are dry, for                     Romeo’s banishment.”                                  –Act III, scene ii
Devil’s Backbone
“Oh Lord, Oh Lord, what have I        done?
I’ve fallen in love with a man             on the run
Oh Lord, Oh Lord, I’m begging         you please
Don’t take that sinner from me
Oh, don’t take that sinner from          me…”

A Choose Your Own Adventure Guide to Choose Your Own Adventures

 Choose Your Own

Do you ever find yourself screaming at a character not to open that door?

If no, go to a)                                      If yes, go to b)

a) Or mentally imploring them to give that guy a chance?

If no, go to b)                                      If yes, go to c)

b) …Hmm, I guess just go to e) if you want (look for the aligned center)

c) Then Choose Your Own Adventure Books are right up your alley! They let you, the reader, choose what happens next in the story from a given set of options. Continue reading “A Choose Your Own Adventure Guide to Choose Your Own Adventures”


Detective Stories…Without Detectives (My Top 6)


The “A Tale of Two Cities” and “A Glimpse of the World With Detectives” blog posts from “Confessions of a Readaholic” have caused me to think lately about what a detective story really is (and since my posts lately been pretty much dominated by the Anna Karenina Classical Music Stories series, I thought I’d take a quick break to talk about something different).

Sure, we generally think of them as containing, well, a detective, and solving a mysterious crime. But I’m starting to think that other stories are like “detective” stories, too.

After all, when you read a book you’re always solving a mystery in a sense. You gradually discover who the characters are, what will happen to them, and/or how Continue reading “Detective Stories…Without Detectives (My Top 6)”