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#AtoZChallenge: Libraries

Could L be for anything else but Libraries?

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Shakespeare: First Folio

I’m much more interested in watching a Shakespeare play than reading one. I would only read Shakespeare willingly if I was performing one of his plays and needed to learn lines and stage directions. That doesn’t seem likely to happen in the near (or far) future, so I will continue to happily sit in my theater seat watching Shakespeare’s plays – especially Romeo and Juliet, King Lear, The Tempest, and Hamlet.

I know some who share my sentiments, some who can’t stand even the thought of Shakespeare’s poetically connotative name, and many more who can’t stand the thought of actual people not enjoying reading his work. Regardless of my aforementioned sentiments, it was with brio that I waltzed into the Portland Public Library in search for the Lewis Gallery so I could lay my eyes on a masterful tome containing William Shakespeare’s work.

20160307_175325-01.jpeg

If you don’t know anything about folios, don’t worry. If you’ve ever taken a piece of paper and folded it in half, you understand what a folio is. One fold, four pages (two front and back), and the largest paper size for a book to be printed on, which varies as the size of printing paper used in older time periods was not standardized; folios can now range from 15″ to 50″ although 15″ is the most common.

Okay, so thanks for that great lesson on paper but what’s the big deal about Shakespeare’s First Folio?

How dare you! This was a [postmortem] gift from Shakespeare’s friends! Many of Shakespeare’s most popular work wouldn’t exist now if it wasn’t for this First Folio!

So maybe it wasn’t necessarily a gift. It was more like a tribute to Shakespeare that came 7 years after he died. Some guys got together and decided: “Hey, our man Shakespeare entertained us for years with his plays, the world needs to be able to experience those plays until the end of time. Let’s print this book, the First Folio, and maybe about 400 years from now the Folger Shakespeare Library will bring it on tour around the country so as many people can see it as possible.”

That may or may not be a direct quote from somewhere,* but the information is definitely correct. Shakespeare died 400 years ago. Four hundred years ago. And we’re still talking about him/studying him/getting giddy over him after all this time. His friends knew what they were doing.

If you’re in Maine, visit the Portland Public Library – between now and April 2nd! – and see the First Folio. It’s kept in a room under the stairs, so you won’t see it right away as you walk down those stairs in the Lewis Gallery. It will be quite dim in the modest-bedroom-sized room, and you won’t be able to touch the book. You can’t even touch the glass case it arrived in and sits inside of, unless you want to trigger alarms and whatever 17th century magic is on the old, fragile pages. That’s the main reason I took this photo from a distance…

20160307_175152-01.jpeg

…until the “tour guide” ushered me closer to get a better picture. I’ve never held my phone so daintily strong before; it was nerve-wracking, but luckily the dehumidifier was in full force so I didn’t sweat. But I did get a better picture. Oh, and if you do take pictures, make sure the flash is off on your camera. The room is dim because there is a strict limit on the number of lumens that can shine on the inside of the book (seriously, how cool/terrifying/astonishing is that?!) in order to prevent damage, and flashes of cameras exceed that limit tremendously.

Lastly, if it wasn’t for this First Folio, the world’s most popular Shakespeare play would have been lost forever. “To be, or not to be: that is the question” may not hold the same significance or identity as it now does without this and the other 233+ since published First Folio editions. But don’t worry, you can still check out Hamlet from your library, order it from a bookstore, and see it in one its most original forms on the First Folio tour.

20160307_175211-01.jpeg

Where will the First Folio be touring near you? Find out through the Folger Shakespeare Library’s First Folio Tour page.

 

 

 

*It’s definitely not a direct quote from anywhere

 

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Shakespeare: First Folio at Portland Public Library

I’m much more interested in watching a Shakespeare play than reading one. I think it’s a lot of fun to read Shakespeare to prepare for being in a Shakespeare play – learning lines, stage directions, etc. However, the need for such preparation doesn’t seem likely for me in the near  future, so I will continue to happily sit in my theater seat watching Shakespeare’s plays – especially Romeo and Juliet, King Lear, The Tempest, and Hamlet.

I know some who share my sentiments, some who can’t stand even the thought of Shakespeare’s poetically connotative name, and many more who can’t stand the thought of people not enjoying reading his work. Regardless of my aforementioned sentiments, it was with brio that I waltzed into the Portland Public Library in search for the Lewis Gallery so I could lay my eyes on the masterful First Folio, containing William Shakespeare’s work.

20160307_175325-01.jpeg

If you don’t know anything about folios, don’t worry. If you’ve ever taken a piece of paper and folded it in half, you understand what a folio is. One fold, four pages (two front and back), and the largest paper size for a book to be printed on, which varies as the size of printing paper used in previous time periods was not standardized; folios can now range from 15″ to 50″, although 15″ is the most common.

Okay, so thanks for that great lesson on paper but what’s the big deal about Shakespeare’s First Folio?

The First Folio was a [postmortem] tribute compiled by Shakespeare’s friends, and many of Shakespeare’s most popular work wouldn’t exist now if it wasn’t for this book. About seven years after William Shakespeare died, some guys got together and decided: “Hey, our man Shakespeare entertained us for years with his plays, the world needs to be able to experience those plays until the end of time. Let’s print this book, the First Folio, and maybe about 400 years from now the Folger Shakespeare Library will bring it on tour around the country so as many people as possible can see it.”

That may or may not be a direct quote from somewhere,* but the basic information is definitely correct. Shakespeare died 400 years ago. Four hundred years ago. And we’re still talking about him/studying him/getting giddy over him after all this time. His friends knew what they were doing.

If you’re in Maine, visit the Portland Public Library – between now and April 2nd! – and see the First Folio. It’s kept in a room under the stairs, so you won’t see it right away as you walk down those stairs in the Lewis Gallery. It will be quite dim in the modest-bedroom-sized room, and you won’t be able to touch the book. You can’t even touch the glass case it arrived in and sits inside of, unless you want to trigger alarms and whatever 17th century magic is on the old, fragile pages. That’s the main reason I took this photo from a distance…

20160307_175152-01.jpeg

…until the library staff member/Folio guardian ushered me closer to get a better picture. I’ve never held my phone so daintily strong before; it was nerve-wracking, but luckily the dehumidifier was in full force so I didn’t sweat. But I did get a better picture. Oh, and if you do take pictures, make sure the flash is off on your camera. The room is dim because there is a strict limit on the number of lumens that can shine on the inside of the book (seriously, how cool/terrifying/astonishing is that?!) in order to prevent damage, and flashes of cameras exceed that limit tremendously.

Lastly, if it wasn’t for this First Folio, the world’s most popular Shakespeare play would have been lost forever. “To be, or not to be: that is the question” may not hold the same significance or identity as it now does without this and the other 233+ since published First Folio editions. But don’t worry, you can still check out Hamlet from your library, order it from a bookstore, and see it in one its most original forms on the First Folio tour.

20160307_175211-01.jpeg

Where will the First Folio be touring near you? Find out through the Folger Shakespeare Library’s First Folio Tour page.


*It’s definitely not a direct quote from anywhere

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A Litte Bit of Nothing

Happy Sunday night, friends. Like others who have a frequently consistent 9-5 or 8-4 weekday work or school schedule, my Sunday night is a combination of preparation (food prep, clothes prep, weather prep, among others) and milking the last few hours of relaxation, hobby, or blogging time. For the past 4 months, my Sundays have consisted of football watching and eating horribly delicious food, be it lunch for a 1:00 game or snacks throughout the afternoon and evening and half of the night for the rest of the “presentations,” as the NFL so eloquently describes the tackling, hitting, and rugged gameplay broadcast on my television.

I haven’t been too active this weekend in regard to my blog; I visited the Portland Public Library Friday after work and checked out Judy Blume’s An Unlikely Event – a childhood favorite author and a new book I’ve been wanting to read for some time now – and Atlas Shrugged, an Ayn Rand classic that I have been aching to experience again. In addition to those, I’ve been reading for my Reading Challenge and dipping into The New Yorker every now and then. I also spent yesterday afternoon watching the New England Patriots win their divisional game (yeah yeah!), and last night looked on as the Green Bay Packers and Arizona Cardinals played right until the end of regulation and into overtime. The first 2016 show for Saturday Night Live aired shortly after, and I ended my Saturday (actually, started my Sunday) laughing and admiring; and being overjoyed with the appearance of an old cast favorite (who also happens to be a creator of Portlandia) who appeared for the show’s commemoration of David Bowie.

Today was spent with my sister, watching many of my favorite people in comedy in the movie Sisters in a theater that serves you food and drinks in your seats (side bar: why isn’t this standard movie theater practice?). If you’re still waiting to see it, it’s hilarious, see it tonight if you can. After doing a little grocery shopping, I reserved the last hours of my Sunday for reading, scattered watching of the last two divisional football games, and deciding not to leave this weekend post-less.

Always trying to focus my posts on book industry news, random book thoughts, or constructive discussions, I tend to stray away from these “brain-dump” diary-like entries for the sake of contributing thoughtful ideas rather than telling my followers and other bloggers what I did each day from the moment I woke up to when my head touched the pillow, or the couch cushion, each night.

But for some particular reason tonight, I’m feeling a little brain dumpy, primarily because more creative or ambitious words and thoughts are not coming as fluidly as I would like them to, but also because reflecting on my weekend through these words has given me the hour of calm focus that I needed for relaxing and recharging before I dive into planning and preparing for the days and weeks ahead. So thank you reader, for following along and putting up with my journal entry post – I’m now feeling a little ridiculous for sharing it here rather than just writing it in one of my bound journals, so before I make up my mind to delete this because of the ridiculousness I am going to click “post,” and return your Sunday evening time I’ve been hogging. Have a wonderful, fulfilling week!