.the ramblings of a radman.

Category: What Are You Reading

23 Books in 2023: Book 2 – I Hate Hamlet

Book 2 of 2023 complete.

I Hate Hamlet by Paul Rudnick

I’ve had this sitting on my nightstand for months when a friend of mine cleaned out her library and asked everyone at a party to take something home. It’s a Broadway play from 1991 with a cast of recognizable faces from the early and mid-2000s. I’ve attached the cast list photo below. I don’t read plays often. For years, it reminded me of homework (I love theatre, I love reading, but I have always hated assigned reading). The whole house went to bed early last night, so I figured I had time to burn through the whole thing and check it off my list.

The play is about a young TV star who moves to New York, moves into John Barrymore’s old apartment, and is visited by the ghost of Barrymore when he is cast in a theatre-in-the-park production of Hamlet. While reading, I wondered if I’m just barely old enough to remember who John Barrymore was and whether anyone 5-10 years younger than me would even care. But it was funny. I think it would be a lot of fun to stage.

Most importantly, it was quick and easy to read, which allowed me to relax and exercise making reading a habit again—while considering whether I want to try to finish The Ship of Theseus (the novel at the center of JJ Abrams’s S.) or Bats of the Republic, both of which I’ve started but been distracted by in the past.

Ultimately, finishing two books in the first two weeks of 2023 gives me hope that I will blow past my goal of 23 books this year (something that seemed impossible considering how many books I’ve read in the past 5 years).

23 Books in 2023: Book 1 – The Starless Sea

Book 1 of 2023 complete.

The Starless Sea by Erin Morgenstern

What a blessing it was to receive this book as a birthday gift. I devoured it. It is everything I love about fiction and reads like a love letter to storytelling. I need to sit with it for a bit, but at this moment in time, it is in my top five favorite books.

If you like urban fantasy mixed with myths—ancient and ageless stories intermingling with our modern lives—read it.

During my initial read, I often thought of both The Sorcery Hall Trilogy (urban fantasy about a young girl using a violin to save Manhattan from an ancient evil) and A Wrinkle In Time (it is directly referenced, but I could see similarities well before). Both are stories that have stayed with me long after I read them. Of course, The Neverending Story kept nagging at my mind throughout, as well. The way Morgenstern connected familiar elements from these ancient and familiar stories we love with a world so entirely new was intoxicating.

I will read this again. And again.

And again and again and again.