I love William Shakespeare. As a certified literature nerd, I’ve got my personal favorite Shakespeare quotes and sonnets, and I even nurse a crush on a couple of his characters (Horatio from Hamlet and the Fool from King Lear, if you’re curious). Naturally, I want to celebrate the Bard’s birthday this month. If his actual plays are a bit too dense for you, check out these seven novels inspired either by some of his greatest works or by the man himself.
7 Fictional Shakespeare Retellings to Honor the Bard
In this laugh-out-loud funny, moving, and surprisingly suspenseful sequel to FOOL, Pocket—the bawdy and wily former fool of King Lear—travels to Venice and gets mixed up in a convoluted tale of greed, vengeance, and deception. A wildly raucous and vibrant novel that borrows from King Lear, Othello, and The Merchant of Venice, it's perfect for longtime and new fans of Christopher Moore's hilarious writing.
As the daughter of the Bard, Judith Shakespeare is infatuated with her father. But when he uses a family tragedy in one of his plays, she's horrified and determined to stop its production. In this witty and ingenious fictional memoir, travel with her to London and discover the politics and drama behind the scenes of Elizabethan theater.
A bold retelling of one of Shakespeare's most famous plays, THE THIRD WITCH follows a teenaged girl who vows to take on Macbeth after he leaves her homeless. Infiltrating his castle as a disguised servant, she embarks on a dastardly plan of revenge that will keep you breathless. An engaging coming-of-age tale, this gives you a fresh and unique look at a classic.
Romeo and Juliet has been retold countless times, but one of the most surprising interpretations is WARM BODIES. R is a zombie living a colorless afterlife when he crosses paths with Julie, a woman who has been trained to see zombies as dangerous monsters. Can they remain together even as the world threatens to separate them in this charming, witty, and moving novel?
In this unexpected retelling of Romeo and Juliet, R is having a no-life crisis—he is a zombie. And then he meets Julie, a blast of living color in his gray landscape. However, their unlikely bond will cause ripples they can’t imagine, and their hopeless world won’t change without a fight.
As a fellow playwright and peer of Shakespeare, Christopher Marlowe's untimely death has inspired plenty of theories and rumors. In this superbly original and vivid novel, Ros Barber explores the theory that Marlowe faked his death and continued writing under the name William Shakespeare.
It isn't easy being a kid—but the stress of school, peer pressure, and crushes can only intensify when your dead father begs you to avenge his death. In this whip-smart, darkly funny, and unconventional retelling of Hamlet, a schoolboy must do just that and still survive the ups and downs of modern-day adolescence.
Herman Melville's classic masterpiece drew from countless sources, but one of the most profound is the works of Shakespeare. From Macbeth to King Lear, Melville mastered the Bard's language and dramatic characterization in this epic tale of Captain Ahab's obsessive hunt for the giant whale who wounded him. MOBY DICK is a breathless and magnificent example of the American Renaissance.
“Towards thee I roll, thou all-destroying but unconquering whale; to the last I grapple with thee; from hell’s heart I stab at thee; for hate’s sake I spit my last breath at thee. Sink all coffins and all hearses to one common pool! and since neither can be mine, let me then tow to pieces, while still chasing thee, though tied to thee, thou damned whale! Thus, I give up the spear!” —Captain Ahab