It’s no secret that I love to read Shakespeare. I also love to recommend Shakespeare plays to other people. Shakespeare can be an intimidating author so I’ve created a little guide for where you can start. Below are some popular books that many people have heard if, if not read and a recommendation for a Shakespeare play to read if you liked that book. I thought this would be a fun twist on the typical recommended reads posts. If you have any recommendations for Shakespeare plays based on the books listed below please let me know! I would love to check them out! I will be doing a few more recommendations posts like this in the next few months so keep checking back for more ideas!
The Way of Kings by Brandon Sanderson – The Second Tetralogy (history plays)
The history plays can be intimidating but I highly recommend them, my personal favorites are the ones that focus on Prince Hal. I love the development of the character from immature Prince to King of England. It features many swordfights and a good deal of political drama which many fantasy readers will love. If you are looking for a good movie version the Hollow Crown series starring Tom Hiddleston is a great place to start!
The Gentleman’s Guide to Vice and Virtue by Mackenzi Lee – Cymbeline
Cymbeline is a bit of a wild ride. I always joke that Cymbeline in Shakespeare spoofing his own greatest works. It contains tragedy, humor, star crossed lovers, evil stepmothers, potions of death, creepy thieves, lost siblings, and a King who can’t seem to figure out what the hell is going on. I kind of love Cymbeline because it’s so insanely crazy and it’s truly an adventure. Imogen is one of my favorite Shakespearean characters and I feel she doesn’t get nearly enough credit. I will warn you the ending leaves a bit to be desired but I still love every moment of this oddity.
When Dimple Met Rishi by Sandhya Menon – Much Ado about Nothing
If you enjoy witty banter this is the play for you! Much Ado about Nothing might be my favorite Shakespeare play of all time. I can quote it by heart when I watch it online. Much Ado follows Beatrice and Benedick, both too clever to fall in love, as their family tricks them into falling in love with each other. The story also follows the events surrounding the wedding of Hero and Claudio and the trials and tribulations of love. If you are looking for a great adaptation of the play you should check out either the Kenneth Branagh film or the Digital Theatre production starring David Tennant and Catherine Tate.
The Cruel Prince – Midsummer Night’s Dream
Midsummer is one of Shakespeare’s best loved plays of all time. It follows the character of Hermia, Helena, Demetrius, and Lysander as the fall in and out of love with each other based on the whims of the fairies in the forest. There are many fairy side-plots as well following Titania and Oberon and their on again, off again relationship as well as Puck’s mischevous ways throughout the forest enchanting everyone who dares enter.
The Diviners by Libba Bray – Macbeth
If you are interested in a good murder mystery Macbeth or Mackleberry as I call it. (I’m a theatre nerd so I’m a tad superstitious when it comes to this play.) Macbeth follows Lord and Lady Macbeth as they plot to overthrow the King and take over the crown of Scotland. This play does a great job discussing gender politics in the time period as well as the differences in ambition between women and men.
Throne of Glass by Sarah J. Maas – Coriolanus
Coriolanus is the classic tale of a general who becomes a ruler and realizes he’s taken on more than he can handle. This pick may be surprising for Throne of Glass fans but I felt the politics of a soldier becoming a hero and the drama that ensues afterwords would be interesting for many Sarah J. Maas fans. The play also features a few ambitious and motivated female characters who are very active in the political scheming that happens throughout the play. Most all of the characters are morally grey, especially the main character which is likely to appeal to Throne of Glass fans.