by Ethan Hawke
"What do you read, my lord?"
"Words, words, words."
About the Book Club
Join the Folger as we search the stacks for our favorite novels inspired by Shakespeare and the early modern era.
Held on the first Thursday of the month, this informal Book Club is free and open to all. Our picks range from historical fiction to adaptations of Shakespeare's plays and will be sourced from a different indie bookstore each month.
To spark the discussion, Folger staff will be on hand to provide historical context, throw in trivia, and speak to relevant items from the library collection.
Participation is free but registration is required. Sessions will be conducted through Zoom, so keep an eye on your inbox the day before for an access link, along with recommendations for quick bites and beverages to enjoy while we chat.
Our April Pick
A Bright Ray of Darkness by Ethan Hawke
Content transparency: This book contains adult language and sexually explicit content.
The blistering story of a young man making his Broadway debut in Henry IV just as his marriage implodes—an utterly transfixing book about art and love, fame and heartbreak from the acclaimed actor/writer/director.
Hawke’s narrator is a young man in torment, disgusted with himself after the collapse of his marriage, still half-hoping for a reconciliation that would allow him to forgive himself and move on as he clumsily, and sometimes hilariously, tries to manage the wreckage of his personal life with whiskey and sex. What saves him is theater: in particular, the challenge of performing the role of Hotspur in a production of Henry IV under the leadership of a brilliant director, helmed by one of the most electrifying–and narcissistic–Falstaff’s of all time. Searing and raw, A Bright Ray of Darkness is a novel about shame and beauty and faith, and the moral power of art.
“A brilliant insider’s account of the joys and terrors of acting, the trials of celebrity, and the secrets of Henry IV.”—Kirkus Reviews
Order Your Book
This month, we are excited to partner with Kramers, the first bookstore/café in Washington DC.
In addition to possessing a lively, convivial atmosphere, and a full-service bar, Kramers stages hundreds of book-related events each year, both in the store and elsewhere. From tourists to neighbors, college students to the political elite, there is something for everyone at Kramers! Learn more at kramers.com.
Pickup at their Dupont Circle location is available by calling 202.387.1400. You can also order directly on bookshop.org, or download the audiobook version of this title—narrated by the author—from Libro.fm.
We would like to thank the Capitol Hill Community Foundation for its generous support of this program.