More than once, while we were studying Shakespeare in high school, I was heard saying, "I can't wait for this unit on Shakespeare to be over!" I could never get my head around the language, the characters and that time period.
One thing leads to another
Last year, Laurel published a post that introduced me to Kate Morton. This new-to-me author has brightened many an evening of reading with her epic, descriptive-rich, continent-spanning tales. Laurel, I thank you for the recommendation!
I'm going to borrow her idea and blog about an author who has broadened my horizons and kindled (I can't say re-kindled because there was no fire in the first place) an interest in Shakespeare.
Karen Harper wrote Mistress Shakespeare, a fictionalized story based on her research into the life and times of that great poet and playwright, William Shakespeare. As she delved into his life, she came across compelling evidence that there was a second Mrs. Shakespeare.
It has generally been accepted that William Shakespeare married Anne Hathaway. However, records of the time, as creatively spelled as they were, indicate that William may have been a bigamist. His handfast marriage to Anne Whateley supposedly took place prior to his shot-gun marriage to Anne Hathaway.
This 366 page, 5 Act book follows the adventurous, creative and business-minded Anne from the first blush of youth through until the wisdom of the aged. Her great loves, William and the theatre, play a central role in shaping the woman Anne became.
This novel is well-researched and written, which on those terms alone, could spell b-o-r-i-n-g. Far from it. As I inferred earlier, Shakespeare has never looked so good! I was hooked after a few chapters!
The Treasures of Pleasure Reading
Just in case you haven't found a good enough reason to read fiction, here is a post entitled Eight Reasons to Read Fiction posted on the blog called Dumb Little Man. Bedtime reading has always been a wonderful way to draw the shades on the day, even if only for 5 minutes. It is the perfect non-caloric nightcap.
But, as it turns out there's more. Research out of the University of Sussex in the U.K. has shown that reading reduces the amount of stress one feels. How fortuitous that I found this on, of all things, That Shakespearean Rag - a blog that I will spend more time visiting.
There are many ways to undress your stress, but are they treating the cause or the symptoms? I have been a prodigious reader for decades, yet my stress levels continued to mount. The techniques I teach have augmented my life. By regularly practicing these tools and techniques, my heart rate variability has improved; I enjoy the balance between the two branches of my nervous system. This has paid off in quantifiable and qualitative results.
Treasure all those things that you love doing. Fit them into your life, if only for 5 minutes at a time. They help to restore you. Take notice how you feel. Are things improving? Staying the same? Worsening?
Do you have skills to undress your stress regardless of where you are? Or do you have to wait until your vacation, the spa, the gym or when you have time to read? You don't have to wait. Nor should you - your health and well-being depend upon it!