Tonight is World Book Night, and all over the UK and beyond booklovers will be gathering to celebrate the simple but very significant power of telling stories and reading aloud in bookshops, libraries and in their homes with family and friends.
Those who keep a close eye on the calendar will also notice that today also marks what would have been William Shakespeare’s 448th birthday and so to celebrate this momentous literary date a selection of Shakespeare’s sonnets will be featured in the back of all of the 25 World Book Night titles, giving the chance for all the lucky readers who get their hands on a free book the added bonus of easily accessing and enjoying some of the Bard’s finest work. In events around the country, these sonnets will be read by candlelight tonight: a beautiful way to experience the joy of reading aloud and mark Shakespeare’s birthday.
To have our own celebration of World Book Night, The Reader Online presents some special Shakespeare readings, with TRO staff selecting and reading aloud some of their favoured pieces from the Bard’s vast repetoire. Hopefully they’ll inspire you to read your own favourite piece of Shakespeare aloud…
First up is Angela Macmillan, editor of A Little, Aloud, reading a very atmospheric ‘Ariel’s Song’ from The Tempest – a taster for the upcoming A Little, Aloud for Children. Anyone who has been to the Penny Readings over the years knows that hearing Angie reading aloud is a treat for the ears and coupled with the words of Shakespeare it’s extra special:
Niall Gibney, Community Development Assistant, takes us back to the heady summer days of Merseyside Community Theatre and gives us a bit of Scouse Shakespeare by reciting Romeo’s most famous monologue from Romeo and Juliet:
Continuing the Shakespeare read by Scousers theme is Lisa Spurgin, Trainee Communications Assistant, with one of the Sonnets; Sonnet 15, to be precise:
And finally, representing another part of the North West is Aaron Eastwood, Communications Intern, who reads a particular Reader favourite – Sonnet 116 (‘Let me not to the marriage of true minds’), which is featured in both A Little, Aloud and our Poems To Take Home anthologies (both still available to buy now):