Ellen Gilchrist's Bookshelf
By William Shakespeare
These 39 plays have been my most important writing teachers. They remind me that the greatest author who ever lived wrote bad plays to begin with and then got better and better until he wrote Hamlet and Macbeth and King Lear and Romeo and Juliet. For 14 years, a group of friends have come over on Sunday afternoons to read the plays aloud. No matter how many times we read one of the great plays, I always feel I have never understood it before. There is no way to grasp the genius of Shakespeare. I am content that it exists in the world, and that I have copies of the plays and friends to share them with.