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Posted on: September 17, 2023

ALLen Reads 2023 "Shakespeare Reimagined"


ALLen Reads is an annual community project of the Friends of the Allen Public Library in which a book is chosen for the entire community to read and discuss.  

To recognize the 400th anniversary of the publication of Shakespeare's First Folio, the ALLen Reads 2023 book choices all have something Shakespearean about them. The ALLen Reads committee hopes to show how Shakespeare continues to inspire contemporary writers who reimagine his work "into something rich and strange."

2023 Book Selections

Main Selection  

Station Eleven by Emily St. John Mandel.  

Book cover of Summary of Station Eleven from the catalog:
"An audacious, darkly glittering novel about art, fame, and ambition set in the eerie days of civilization's collapse.... One snowy night a famous Hollywood actor slumps over and dies onstage during a production of King Lear. Hours later, the world as we know it begins to dissolve. Moving back and forth in time -from the actor's early days as a film star to fifteen years in the future, when a theater troupe known as the Traveling Symphony roams the wasteland of what remains - this suspenseful, elegiac, spellbinding novel charts the strange twists of fate that connect five people: the actor, the man who tried to save him, the actor's first wife, his oldest friend, and a young actress with the Traveling Symphony, caught in the crosshairs of a dangerous self-proclaimed prophet. Sometimes terrifying, sometimes tender, Station Eleven tells a story about the relationships that sustain us, the ephemeral nature of fame, and the beauty of the world as we know it."

Supplementary Selections

For middle grades: The Wednesday Wars by Gary Schmidt
For young readers: Flibbertygibbety Words: Young Shakespeare Chases Inspiration by Donna Guthrie
For preschool readers: Hooray For Books! by Brian Won


Book cover of ALLen Reads 2023 Book Discussion: Station Eleven
Sunday, Sept 24, 2-3 p.m.
Board Room
For ages 18+. Join an ALLen Reads committe member to discuss backgound information about our ALLen Reads 2023 main title Station Eleven by Emily St. John Mandel that will enhance your reading of the novel.  This award-winning novel follows a small group of people whose lives are linked before, during and after a devastating pandemic.  Part of the ALLen Reads 2023 program series. No registration required.

The Texas Shakespeare Garden
Sunday, Oct 1, 2-3 p.m.
Meeting Room
Have you ever heard of Shakespeare Gardens? A formal herb garden on English estates may first come to mind, but you, too can plant a Shakespeare garden! Learn about the more than 175 plants mentioned in Shakespeare's writings that you can grow in North Texas and leave with lots of inspiration and concrete ideas for your home garden. This program is presented by Collin County Master Gardeners as part of the ALLen Reads 2023 program series. 
Shakespeare Garden Handout

ALLen Reads 2023 Book Discussion: The Wednesday Wars
Sunday, Oct 8, 2-3 p.m.
Board Room
Ages 13+.  Join an ALLen Reads committee member to discuss Gary Schmidt's The Wednesday Wars, our ALLen Reads 2023 middle grades title.  "During the turbulent 1967-1968 school year, Holling goes through all the ups-and-downs of being a 7th grader, while also becoming more and more engrossed in the plays of William Shakespeare."

ALLen Reads 2023 Festival
Sunday, Oct 15, 1-3 p.m.
Library Courtyard
Join the Friends of the Allen Public Library for an enhanced story walk, wandering minstrels and actors, photo opportunities with a special guest, various children's art and game activities, special display booths, a raffle, and more surprises before the 3 p.m. Concert For Young Audiences by the Allen Philharmonic Orchestra.  In case of inclement weather, the activities will be moved indoors to the Meeting Room.  Sponsored in part by the Friends of the Allen Public Library, Allen Arts Alliance, and the Rotary Club of Allen.

ALLen Reads 2023 Author Visit: Gary Schmidt
Thursday, Oct 19, 7:30 p.m.
Civic Auditorium
Join us to hear Gary Schmidt read from, discuss, and answer audience questions about his book, The Wednesday Wars.  Author Schmidt teaches English at Calvin College in Grand Rapids, Michigan. The Wednesday Wars, our ALLen Reads YA selection, was recognized as a Newberry Honor book.  Sponsored in part by the Friends of the Allen Public Library, Allen Arts Alliance, and the Rotary Club of Allen. 

For more information about ALLen Reads or the Friends of the Allen Public Library, visit the Friends of the Allen Public Library Facebook page.

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