To watch or not to watch: that is the question! Tonight, the show that sheds a fictional, exhilarating light on the life of William Shakespeare hits TNT and it is all the rage for fans of historic-style television shows as well as readers alike! The show has many twists and turns, keeping an exciting plot that is easy to follow along with as well as an all-new take on William Shakespeare that you have never dreamt of before. With a humorous intensity that will have you drawn in from the very start of the series, it breathes new life into the Elizabethan era. If you love Shakespeare and want a fictional but fun glimpse into his life as he arrives in London in 1589, then we have the show to grab your attention!

The story follows William Shakespeare in his early 20s as he tries to break into the theater business. It will make you want to put on a big fluffy dress, fake a British accent, grab Will’s hand, and experience every ounce of the drama with him!

Unfortunately we can’t go back in time with William Shakespeare himself, but we do have books… which is pretty much the same thing.

Exit, Pursued by a Bear, E.K. Johnson (Dutton Books for Young Readers, March 15, 2016)

Exit E.K. Johnson William ShakespeareThe title is virtually a stage direction from the play The Winter’s Tale. In this novel, a bright cheerleader named Hermione goes to a party at her cheer camp and someone slips something into her drink. One thing leads to another and she ends up pregnant. In this story of heartbreak and drive, Hermione will have to balance being the superstar cheerleader and that pregnant girl that everybody is gossiping about, without having that be the only thing that defines her.

Hag-Seed, Margaret Atwood (Hogarth, October 11, 2016)

Hag-Seed Margaret Atwood William ShakespeareFelix (also known as Prospero from The Tempest) once had big dreams – he was going to be the artistic director of the Makeshiweg Theatre Festival and direct a production of The Tempest unlike anybody had ever seen. That was, until he was betrayed and sent to live in a hovel in the woods. Not only is he filled with thoughts of revenge, he is also haunted by the memories of his daughter, Miranda. Now, 12 years later, he can exact his revenge by putting on that same production of The Tempest in a prison theater program. Will he feel satisfied with his revenge? Or will his problems stick around for Act Two?

Ophelia, Lisa Klein (Bloomsbury USA Children, October 31, 2006) 

Ophelia Lisa Klein William ShakespeareA romantic retelling of Hamlet from Ophelia’s perspective. In this version, Ophelia does not drown, but fakes her own death in order to run away and spend her life with Hamlet without causing suspicion. This novel shines light on parts of the story that may have been hidden in the play, such as when Ophelia and Hamlet met for the first time when she was a 10-year-old tomboy or how they must always meet each other in secret. Will this retelling still be as tragic as the original?

A Thousand Acres, Jane Smiley (Anchor, December 2, 2003)

A Thousand Acres Jane Smiley william shakespeareThis novel is much like King Lear retold from the perspective of the eldest daughter, who was, along with the middle daughter, shown as evil and greedy in the play. The story begins with a wealthy Iowa farmer wanting to divide his land between his three daughters. When the youngest refuses, she is removed from the will. Eventually, their father starts to descend into drunkenness while his two older daughters must cope with him and the difficulties of life on the farm.