Recently I've been reading a book called "Living with Shakespeare", a series of essays by writers/actors/directors who have worked with the works of the Bard for a long time. It's actually a fairly engaging book, despite it's boring academic sounding topic and title. As I read it, I find myself actually understanding and identifying with some of the points being made about Shakespeare.
Now, I know there's no way that everyone feels this way - in fact, most people have an irrational fear of Shakespeare. So what made me into a Shakespeare lover? In high school, I used to read the "side by side" translations of Shakespeare. This helped me to get a grasp on the stories being told. High school is also when I saw my first Shakespeare plays - I even wrote about them on this blog in the very early days (wow, I've been on blogspot for almost 10 years!). I wouldn't say I loved Shakespeare in high school though. I was certainly curious, and I wanted to know the stories, but I didn't love it. I liked it, sure. I enjoyed being "academically minded" and knowing the stories from Shakespeare, but I didn't love it.
I think I really came to love it in college, when I took Dr. Hurley's class over winter break my sophomore year. We went to see Cymbeline, which is one of the rare stories in the Shakespeare library. It's like a fairy tale/Shakespeare combo, and I highly recommend it. That's the moment I knew that I had transitioned from a student to an aficionado.