So I finished reading all the Pelican Shakespeares we had and had to find another source. We’ve got The Riverside Shakespeare,* a neat little Barnes & Noble The Complete Works of Shakespeare, Boxed Set,* and the Guttenberg Project’s free Kindle version of Shakespeare’s complete works. I thought, “Hey, the kindle is nice and compact, so that’ll be the easiest way to read it!” Let’s talk about that. Here’s an example of what the Guttenberg text looks like at the default size on our Kindle Fire:*
See how the lines break kinda oddly? Look at Helena’s second line there. That’s a good example. I found that really distracting. It interrupted the flow, the rhythm, you know… But hey, You can change the type size on the Kindle! Cool. Here’s what it looks like at the smallest type size:
Can you see that same line? Still wonkified (if I can use my sister’s term here). Plus, there’s no table of contents, so you can’t just go directly to the play or sonnet you want to read. You can guess about which of the more than 40,000 locations is close to where what you want to read is, then flip one way or the other until you get there… Ummm. Nope. I did that (more on that later), and… Well, nope.
So I thought I’d try out the mini book from the boxed set. Just because it’s cute, here are a couple views of the whole set:
Isn’t that cute? Yeah. And the books are really small… like palm-of-your-hand sized, but the text is very legible. And you can see when you look at that same line by Helena, that it’s not too bad to read, really:
Oh, but complainer tree, she can find something, can’t she.. Look at this:
Notice anything? Yeah, that line number (245); it’s iterrupting the text. This happened too often for my taste. I also found it a little awkward to hold the small but somewhat thick book. Try again…
OK. Finally, I tried the Riverside. I’d been putting that off because it’s just so darn huge. It’s heavy. It’s bulky. But, the text is laid out, well, OK. Here:
Yeah, that’s pretty nice (sorry for the blurriness at the top, but the line we’re focusing on here is crisp). Like the mini, it doesn’t have the weird line breakage that leads to wonkiness. Also like the mini, the line numbers are within the text instead of in the margin (as they are in the Pelican versions), but (and I didn’t shoot an example of this), when the text seems like it will be close to the line number and make the line number cause a distraction/interruption in the text, there is more space/margin to the left of the line number. It’s not as good as having the line numbers in the margin, but it’s not bad. I could live with it, anyway. The Riverside is laid out in two columns, which makes sense, so that’s a good reason for the line numbers not being out in the margin.
And really, the heft/bulk of the Riverside isn’t a problem. I just lay the book in my lap to read it and it’s fine. However, it is kind of big to take with you. So for that, I did use the Kindle. I just dealt with all the things that bothered me about that text, since I wasn’t going to have to be reading like that for long anyway. Although it did take me a full five minutes just to find the place where I needed to start reading.
So I’ll be reading the rest of Shakespeare in the Riverside, unless we come across some Pelican editions at book sales.
One little non-sequitur: I could only find one film version of All’s Well That Ends Well on Netflix. I wonder what gives. Is the story not interesting enough? Is the maiden-swapping to creepy? At any rate, it’s not available to watch instantly, so I haven’t watched it yet.
OK. I’ve already finished the next play, so I’d better catch up on my writing… maybe over the weekend. Happy reading!