by Mona Awad
"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.
This informal Book Club is free and open to all. Our picks range from historical fiction to adaptations of Shakespeare's plays, encompassing a wide variety of genres—all sourced from a different local, independent bookstore partner each month.
To spark the discussion, Folger staff open each meeting with a brief presentation that provides historical context, trivia, and connects the book to relevant items from the Folger Collection. Participants are then broken into smaller groups for breakout discussions, moderated by a team of staff and volunteers.
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.
Please note that the December session will be taking place on a Monday.
Our December Pick
All's Well by Mona Awad
Miranda Fitch’s life is a waking nightmare. The accident that ended her burgeoning acting career left her with excruciating, chronic back pain, a failed marriage, and a deepening dependence on painkillers. And now she’s on the verge of losing her job as a college theater director. Determined to put on Shakespeare’s All’s Well That Ends Well, the play that promised, and cost, her everything, she faces a mutinous cast hellbent on staging Macbeth instead. Miranda sees her chance at redemption slip through her fingers.
That’s when she meets three strange benefactors who have an eerie knowledge of Miranda’s past and a tantalizing promise for her future: one where the show goes on, her rebellious students get what’s coming to them, and the invisible, doubted pain that’s kept her from the spotlight is made known.
With prose Margaret Atwood has described as “no punches pulled, no hilarities dodged...genius,” Mona Awad has concocted her most potent, subversive novel yet. All’s Well is the story of a woman at her breaking point and a formidable, piercingly funny indictment of our collective refusal to witness and believe female pain.
"A stealthily captivating new novel that, like its namesake, skews more dark than light as it casts its spell."—The Boston Globe
Why did we choose this?
The Folger Shakespeare Library's collection explores not only Shakespeare's life and works, but also the plays' historical context, source material, critical and performance histories, and the ways in which they inspire and are adapted by contemporary novelists. All's Well is a brand new novel deeply tied to multiple works and themes of Shakespeare.
Listen to the Shakespeare Unlimited podcast as author Mona Awad tells us about her new novel, which combines All's Well That Ends Well with Macbeth to tell the darkly funny story of a university theater professor with chronic hip and back pain and a mutinous cast.
Watch the Shakespeare Lighting Round Episode featurning author Mona Awad.
Read an excerpt from All's Well at the Shakespeare and Beyond blog.
Order Your Book
For this session, we are excited to partner with Old Town Books, a general interest local bookshop in the heart of historic Old Town Alexandria. They are passionate about building bookish community through virtual book clubs and author events. Learn more at oldtownbooks.com.
Orders can be placed in store or online. Their location on S. Royal Street in Alexandria is open seven days a week from 10AM-7PM.
You can also download the audiobook version of this title from Libro.fm.