Sunday, June 12, 2011

The Lodger Shakespeare: His Life on Silver Street

Recently I was on a business trip that required a LOT of driving--about 300 miles each way from the airport to the destination and back again. How do I keep from dying of boredom since I can't sew, read, or work on my laptop like I would if I were flying? I run to the library (I'm a big library groupie) and grab a book on CD. For me, novels can be a little hard to follow while driving on unfamiliar roads so I prefer something non-fiction. For my last trip, I picked up: The Lodger Shakespeare: His Life on Silver Street

What a fun book!

The book is full of all of the characters who made up Shakespeare's circle during his time living on Silver Street in London. I LOVE social history so the descriptions of people, their occupations, and daily lives meshing with the theater and writers of the day made for some pretty fun listening.  For example, one of the main figures of the book, Christopher Mountjoy is a "tyre maker," a maker of ladies headpieces, so there is a lot of fascinating description of that industry and the status (or appearance of status) of having such "tyre." Yay for unexpected costuming information!

There is also quite a bit about prostitutes at all levels of society and how they lived and worked which always makes for colorful reading. According to Nicholl, prostitutes were such regular figures at the various theaters that they could be seen mouthing the words of the play while looking for customers. If that hasn't been made into a scene in a movie about Shakespearean theater, someone totally needs to jump on that.

I admit that since I wasn't "reading" and sometimes had to turn my attention away from listening that there are some things that I missed. This certainly isn't the most analytical of reviews, but if you are looking for a little Shakespearean London for a long-car-trip or summer reading, it's definitely worth a listen. I might grab it again for my next trip!

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