“This above all – to thine own self be true”

Hamlet, Act 1, Scene 3

William Shakespeare

Let’s be clear – this is a Big. Deal. Hold your breath and get ready for the drumroll please…



O frabjous day! Calloo! Callay!


And to celebrate this rather magnificent achievement – 100 apt Shakespeare quotations is hard! –  I have… not very much actually. Come on guys, it’s summer, I’ve been away for a while, cut me some slack.

However, whilst away on my South-East USA roadtrip I did find some bookish things to share with you, such as… :

  • The Library of Congress library 2– the largest library in the world and the United states’ oldest federal cultural institution. The best things, IMHO, were the quotes on the ceiling, such as: ‘In books lies the soul of the whole past time’ (Thomas Carlyle) and ‘Reading maketh a full man, Conference a ready man, and Writing an exact man’ (Sir Francis Bacon).shakespeare

There was even the now increasingly famous ‘Fault in Our Stars’ quote up there, and, naturally, a statue of the big Bard himself (see the very tiny picture to the right).

  • The Folger Shakespeare Library (again) – unfortunately, they had a rather average exhibition on ‘Heritage and Heraldry’ on when I was there, and let’s just say my cultural heathen brothers weren’t all that keen to stay in there for long. Still, the theatre was beautiful.
  • Tennessee William’s House (in the amazingly vibrant city of New Orleans)
  • Beckham’s Bookshop bookshop– in the French Quarter of New Orleans, this second-hand bookstore is definitely worth a visit if you’re in the area. With hundreds of old books, the best antique paper-decaying odour you’ll smell and it’s own cat, it’s a reader’s paradise.
  • The real life house of Jim Williams – one of the major characters from one of my favourite reads so far this year, ‘Midnight in the Garden of Good and Evil’ (John Berendt). Seriously worth a read, it’s a true story about a murder (which happened in the aforementioned house), the ensuing legal case, and all the crazy people who live in Savannah, Georgia. 

And if you’re looking for any more new books to read then I’ll end with some other recommendations:

‘Three Men in a Boat’  (Jerome K. Jerome)

‘Here For the Season’ (Tania Kindersley)

‘The Woman in White’ (Wilkie Collins)

‘We Need New Names’ (NoViolet Bulawayo)

Enjoy them, and thanks for supporting ‘Mingled Yarns’ during it’s first century – here’s to the next 100!

great gatsby


“O beauty, Til now I never knew thee.”

Henry VIII, Act 1, Scene 4
William Shakespeare

I’m back in good ole’ England, but still reminiscing about the Big Apple… The Strand Book Store is world-famous for both it’s amazing 18 miles of books *contented sigh*, it’s 86 year history and the special ‘rare books’ level, which you have to get a creaky, old elevator up to.

The smell, the feel, the look… all of it is just lovely for a novel nerd.

Obviously I can’t magically transport y’all there, so here are some photos to help emulate the atmosphere around you:








I actually bought a book – not for myself surprisingly, but for my mum, who loves all things historical. After wandering around the rare books department for ages, I finally alighted on Goldsmith’s updated version of Pinnock’s History of England (yeah, it’s a long one). This book cost me just $20, and was published in 1845 – practically the middle ages in terms of American history!

If you go to New York, go here if only to spend a happy few hours perusing the piles.

“And this, our life, exempt from public haunt, finds tongues in trees, books in the running brooks, sermons in stones, and good in everything”

As You Like It, Act 2, Scene 1

William Shakespeare

Procrastinating? Bored? Literary nerd? Here’s my round-up of the top book and theatre-related sites lurking around the internet at the moment:

• Wondering what to go as for Halloween? Well, muse no more my friends: here are 17 literary-themed costumes to wear. (I’m getting into the spirit of things here in the US and am not going as something scary. Part of me feels I have betrayed by country.)

• Great photo listing the ‘Top 5 Oddities of the English Language’

• What would Shakespeare tweet? This article imagines 12 “literary legends” on twitter.

• A blog from Giles Terera and Dan Poole (actors, who coincidentally I just saw in National Theatre Live’s ‘Hamlet’, starring Rory Kinnear – Spoiler alert: IT WAS AMAZING!) on how they learnt to love Shakespeare

• Apparently the National Theatre has a tortoise, who now has his own twitter account. And it’s hilarious.

NEWS FLASH: the Folger Library’s Shakespeare collection is now online!

• More from the National Theatre – it was their 50th birthday this week, what do you expect?! Rufus Norris is taking over from Nicholas Hytner as artistic director, but the Guardian asked a variety of people how they’d run the National Theatre.

Famous authors’ last words. Number 2 is my favourite.

• ‘Wuthering Heights’ was one of the most disappointing books I’ve ever read. If only I’d seen this article, explaining the whole thing in gifs, beforehand.

• And finally, more Halloween goodies – 18 literary-themed pumpkins. These people are geniuses. Seriously.

“Of Nature’s gifts thou mayst with lilies boast, And with the half-blown rose”

King John, Act 3, Scene 1
William Shakespeare

More of my New York escapades… So on Monday (Columbus Day so off work!) I went to Central Park in the gorgeous sunshine and basically couldn’t believe my luck. It’s just so incredibly beautiful.

But obviously, being an English nerd, my number one port of call was the Shakespeare Garden: IMG_1231
Apart from being lovely in terms of flowers, I really got excited about finding the Shakespeare quotations hidden among them. Sad? Cool? Call, it what you will, but I have all these photos and no one to show them to so… you get to be my audience! Yay for you…





AND if that weren’t enough, I also have a picture of the Bard himself (well, the statue). Be warned, my photography, as you can see, is not the best. I blame the camera.


“With the best …

“With the best I have in me, I have tried to write more happiness into the world”

Frances Hodgson Burnett

I hope I can do the same one day. Found at the New York Public Library’s awesome ‘ABC: Why Children’s Books Matter’ exhibition, which I went to today, after a free guided tour around the library itself. However, the exhibition was definitely my favourite bit.

Other fun stuff I found…

…this lovely quote from Hans Christian Anderson:

“Life itself is the most wonderful fairytale”

…this slightly less lovely quote from a clearly idiotic Jean-Jacques Rousseau:

“Reading is the scourge of childhood”

– Looks like it’s somebody’s nap time!

…the actual original Pooh Bear toys:

The original Eeyore, Tigger, Kanga, Piglet and Pooh

The original Eeyore, Tigger, Kanga, Piglet and Pooh

…and finally this fun fact:

The famous ‘The Very Hungry Caterpillar’ book by Eric Carle was originally to be named ‘A Week With Willie Worm’.

Yeah, even children’s authors have their bad days.