I am happy to announce that my first Shakespeare book, Hear My Soul Speak : Wedding Quotations from Shakespeare is now available!
I’ve been playing with this idea for awhile, ever since I heard sonnet 116 recited at one too many weddings. “Isn’t Shakespeare’s work just absolutely loaded with material that would be cool for a wedding?” I thought. “Is it that people keep repeating the same old stuff because it’s what they know? What if they have a reference book to the rest of the good stuff?”
So I asked a friend of mine, who happens to be in the wedding planning business (she’s a florist, actually), “If I could put in your hands a book that represented all the good Shakespeare material that’s relevant to weddings – stuff for vows, toasts, father of the bride speeches, but also just decorative stuff that could be used on the invitations and thank you notes and such, would you be able to get it into the hands of people who are planning their wedding? Do you think it would be of value?” The answer was a resounding, “Yes, absolutely!” and so a book was born.
What this first version represents is a hand-chosen list of well over 100 quotes from across all the sonnets and plays (and even some Venus and Adonis thrown in for good measure), organized by where they might be most useful. The groom is going to say something different to the bride during their vows than the best man is going to say during his toast, you see.
Where necessary, the quotes are explained in their original context. This is particularly true for the selected sonnets. It was very important to me that if I expect people to quote Shakespeare, that they actually have some clue what they’re talking about and are not just reading words they barely understand. To that end there’s also a chapter on tips for memorizing and reciting Shakespeare.
Lastly, quotes are grouped by play (or other source) so the reader can learn a bit about Shakespeare’s works along the way. If all your favorite quotes are coming from a certain play, maybe you want to go seek out that play and learn more?
The book is now available in the Apple iBookstore, on other ePub-compatible devices, and downloadable PDF for those without an e-reader device. (I do not believe in DRM, so the PDF is freely printable. It’s not one of those that’s got so many locks built in you don’t enjoy reading it. Please don’t pirate. :) )
Although I’m taking a bit of a break to catch my breath, I do hope to have a printed edition available sometime in the future. The amount of effort I put into that project is directly related to how much interest I can drum up in this one, though, so help me spread the word! Going to any weddings, soon? Buy the book. Give it to the wedding party. Help get more Shakespeare in everybody’s life.
If you’d like to link to me, for the moment I ask that you link to this post instead of directly to the landing page. It’s little more than a placeholder at the moment (though that will change very soon).
Thanks for all the help that everyone’s provided over the past few months!
P.S. I’ve got enough material collected that there’s also potential for a volume 2 that focuses on music, wedding customs, flowers, and all that other good stuff. Who knows?