I was a bit grumpy Friday when my copy of Margaret Atwood’s newest book MaddAddam did not get delivered. Well okay, fine. Saturday. It will arrive Saturday. Saturday came and went and no book delivery. I checked the tracking once again and it was supposed to be delivered. Grr. Not that I was going to read it right away mind you, but that is beside the point. I have a suspicion that my mail carrier does not like us. He leaves us notes on our junk mail sometimes if a garden plant has flopped over into the walkway to the house and we haven’t had the chance to tie it up yet. And he isn’t always so very nice about the way he puts magazines into the mailbox, sometimes cramming them in so they get ripped and mangled. I have no idea what we could have done to be worthy of his postal scorn but a pattern has developed and has carried on long enough to prove we are definitely disliked. So I was beginning to think the mail carrier was up to no good.

But the book got delivered today. Finally! And opening the box and removing the book, grumpy all over again because there was a page inside the book that had gotten folded over. But then a happy surprise to discover that the book was signed! Nice. Turned all the grumps into mild annoyance and even that is fading fast.

While I’m on Margaret Atwood, have you all heard about the new project from Hogarth Shakespeare, which is part of Penguin Random House (I wish when those companies merged we had gotten a more interesting name like “Penguin House” or “Random Penguin”)? The project is to have well known writers retell Shakespeare plays in prose. All you Bard fans, don’t get your undies in a bunch no one is trying to replace him only have a little fun. I look upon the project like the Canongate Myth series, same basic story, modern take. If anything it might make people to read more Shakespeare.

Atwood is going to take on The Tempest. Howard Jacobson has chosen The Merchant of Venice. Anne Tyler will be doing The Taming of the Shrew. And Jeanette Winterson picked The Winter’s Tale. That’s it so far.

Thee series will launch in 2016 to coincide with the 400th anniversary of Shakespeare’s death. The director of Hogarth Shakespeare has not found anyone who wants to try their hand at any of the big tragedies. Can’t say I blame anyone for not stepping up to those. However, if you could wave a magic wand and choose an author to do any of the plays, who might you choose? I bet Julian Barnes could do a good retelling of King Lear or Hamlet.

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