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Hamlet via Facebook News Feed
By Sarah Schmelling

Horatio thinks he saw a ghost.

Hamlet thinks it's annoying when your uncle marries your mother right after your dad dies.

The king thinks Hamlet's annoying.

Laertes thinks Ophelia can do better.

Hamlet's father is now a zombie.

- - - -

The king poked the queen.

The queen poked the king back.

Hamlet and the queen are no longer friends.

Marcellus is pretty sure something's rotten around here.

Hamlet became a fan of daggers.

- - - -

Polonius says Hamlet's crazy ... crazy in love!

Rosencrantz, Guildenstern, and Hamlet are now friends.

Hamlet wonders if he should continue to exist. Or not.

Hamlet thinks Ophelia might be happier in a convent.

Ophelia removed "moody princes" from her interests.

Hamlet posted an event: A Play That's Totally Fictional and In No Way About My Family

The king commented on Hamlet's play: "What is wrong with you?"

Polonius thinks this curtain looks like a good thing to hide behind.

Polonius is no longer online.

- - - -

Hamlet added England to the Places I've Been application.

The queen is worried about Ophelia.

Ophelia loves flowers. Flowers flowers flowers flowers flowers. Oh, look, a river.

Ophelia joined the group Maidens Who Don't Float.

Laertes wonders what the hell happened while he was gone.

- - - -

The king sent Hamlet a goblet of wine.

The queen likes wine!

The king likes ... oh crap.

The queen, the king, Laertes, and Hamlet are now zombies.

Horatio says well that was tragic.

Fortinbras, Prince of Norway, says yes, tragic. We'll take it from here.

Denmark is now Norwegian.

~ ~ ~ ~ ~

We got this from NPR. NPR got it from McSweeney. McSweeney got it from Sarah Schmelling.

Now you can get it too !! Amazon, Barnes & Noble, Books-a-Million, IndieBound, Powell's Books, Borders

Sarah Schmelling's "Hamlet (Facebook News Feed Edition)," inspired her to write the book, Ophelia Joined the Group Maidens Who Don't Float: Classic Lit Signs on to Facebook which features other great works of literature — from The Odyssey to The Great Gatsby — all given the same Facebook treatment.

Method or Madness?
Jury Decides Hamlet's Fate

Was Hamlet criminally responsible for mistakenly killing his ex-girlfriend's father, Polonius?

Back in the '90s, when things were more relaxed in Washington, D.C., this was the question argued when Supreme Court Justice Anthony Kennedy presided over a mock trial where lawyers Abbe Lowell and Ted Olsen presented oral arguments before a jury.

The defense, represented by Lowell, argued "no." Hamlet, they maintained, suffered from psychotic affective disorder, and was a bit bipolar. The prosecution, represented by Olsen, argued that Hamlet was perfectly sane, knew killing was wrong, and in control of his actions.

No, not our tax dollars at work, but part of a Shakespeare festival. It's worth a listen at NPR.

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"The three finest things in creation are the sea, Hamlet, and Mozart's Don Giovanni."
~ Gustave Flaubert

Muskrat Love meets Rabbit Run...

"Gertrude and Claudius"
a steamy Hamlet prequel

The esteemed and prolific John Updike has penned a novel from Queen Gertrude's perspective, offering a different view of middle-aged romance and sexuality. Beginning with Gertrude's life before the action seen in Shakespeare's Hamlet, we learn of her arranged marriage to Hamlet the Elder and her subsequent mid-life affair with her husband's brother.

"Gertrude and Claudius" discards the conventional image of weeping widow changed into lusty bride. In Updike's novel, the carnal pleasures Gertrude enjoyed with Claudius were her first experiences of full sensuality. When Claudius and Gertrude first enjoy a night together, Updike writes, "Surges of sensation ... lifted her so high her voice was flung from her like a bird's lost call."

~ ~ ~ ~ ~

Hmm... sounds like a read that might keep one warm this winter. In e-book and print versions at Powell's and other booksellers. Updike talks about "Gertrude and Claudius" in a conversation on NPR. The fascinating interview is lengthy - you can save load time by downloading it directly here.

"Dead Fathers Club"puts
modern twist on Hamlet

By Vernonique de Turenne

In his first novel, writer Matt Haig let a black Labrador narrate the story of William Shakespeare's "Henry IV." In his new book, Haig turns Hamlet into a lonely boy living above a village pub in modern England. Book critic Veronique de Turenne has this review.

Matt Haig gets right down to business in his quirky new novel, "The Dead Father's Club." Eleven-year-old Philip's father has been killed in a car wreck. His ghost, battered and bleeding, appears at his own funeral and accuses his brother, Alan, of murder. Alan's already putting the moves to the grieving widow, so dad tells Philip to kill his uncle and avenge his death.

Hamlet anyone? Well, kind of. The text is littered with Shakespearian Easter eggs, hints and clues and sly jokes. They're a kick to find. Philip's not the prince of Denmark, but his last name is Noble. Gertrude's not the queen of Denmark. She's Philip's beloved angelfish, Gertie. Ophelia becomes Lia, Philip's girlfriend. Even Rosencrantz and Guildenstern show up.

Haig tweaks the play and his readers as Philip, who's only 11 after all, bumbles and bungles his way to a gruesome murder. And then there's the language. Philip's a kid, and the story's told in his voice, in an unfiltered, unself-conscious rush. There's not a single comma or apostrophe in the whole book. Like Shakespearian English, it takes a bit of getting used to. Here's Philip, living one of Hamlet's most famous moments, in the bathroom:

"I didn't leave the seat. I just sat and watched the dust and the light make a universe with moving stars and planets and gold suns. I sat and stared into space for I don't know how long not knowing what to do and then after some minutes my dad's ghost came through the locked door. He looked at me for a while and didn't say anything. After a bit he said to be or not to be. That's the question Philip."

Clearly not a literal retelling of the play. Haig's too smart and way too inventive for that. He cherry-picks the bard's best stuff and spins it into something sweet or funny or dark, sometimes all in the same scene. "The Dead Father's Club" is a lovely and unsettling book. Read it at your peril. Like Hamlet's ghost, it refuses to fade away.

~ ~ ~ ~ ~

The book is Matt Haig's "The Dead Father's Club." The reviewer is Los Angeles writer Veronique de Turenne. The article is posted on NPR, where you can also hear the audio version. Copyright © National Public Radio

Visit Mat Haig's website and learn more about this and his other books for adults and for kids.

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