September 1book140 Shortlist: Shakespeare vs. Autobiographies



The 1book140 followers themselves took over soliciting nominations and making the shortlist for September's selection. Here's veteran bookie Connie Donoghue on the choices for what we'll read next month. Voting goes till 5 pm Eastern on Tuesday.

Shakespeare or auto-biography: The regular 1book140 followers couldn't decide between these two grand themes, so September's shortlist includes selections from both. If a Shakespeare play wins, by popular demand, we will split the month's discussion between that selection and the play runner-up. Of course, if one of the super-interesting auto-biographies wins it's more than likely there will be a side-discussion of a Shakespeare selection. The play that is currently leading in popularity with the 1book140 crowd is Coriolanus.

Just Kids by Patti Smith
A poet and performer in her own right, Smith recounts her life and relationship with controversial photographer Robert Mapplethorpe. It's a testament to the era and creative times of the '60's and '70's.

Coriolanus by William Shakespeare
Believed to be written between 1605 and 1608 (and some believe it could have been written by Edward deVere, Earl of Oxford...but that's another argument), this tragedy is based on the life of famed Roman leader Caius Marcius Coriolanus. It's intensely political, with a lot of action.

Spilling the Beans by Clarissa Dickson Wright
Wright describes her life born into luxury at the end of British empire, and as the youngest woman to be called to the bar. She recounts her life in the honest and funny way that she presents her dishes in her series and cookbooks.

The Taming of the Shrew by William Shakespeare (or maybe Francis Bacon, but that's yet another discussion)
It's a comedy and here's why one of our followers, @hyacinthrose, nominated it: "I read a lot of the Histories and Tragedies listed when I took a class in Shakespearean Studies, (It was run by a really cool professor that made the plays fun to read and used our longer double period to show cult films like The Terror of Tiny Town and Reefer Madness). I would like to nominate a comedy instead. For the movie buffs we could always watch the film version of Kiss Me Kate for comparison."

Hamlet by William Shakespeare (or maybe it was Ben Jonson?)
This tragedy has inspired sooooo much art, literature, and media that it's almost a must-read regardless who wins. There are several films to choose from, many of the same name and many that are loosely based on the play including The Lion King. This play has influenced notions of ideal leadership over generations and across the rise and fall of empires.

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Eleanor Barkhorn is a former senior editor at The Atlantic.

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