by Rachel Kadish
"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.
Our February Pick
The Weight of Ink by Rachel Kadish
Set in London of the 1660s and of the early twenty-first century, The Weight of Ink is the interwoven tale of two women of remarkable intellect: Ester Velasquez, an emigrant from Amsterdam who is permitted to scribe for a blind rabbi, just before the plague hits the city; and Helen Watt, an ailing historian with a love of Jewish history.
When Helen is summoned by a former student to view a cache of newly discovered seventeenth-century Jewish documents, she enlists the help of Aaron Levy, an American graduate student as impatient as he is charming, and embarks on one last project: to determine the identity of the documents' scribe, the elusive "Aleph."
Electrifying and ambitious, The Weight of Ink is about women separated by centuries--and the choices and sacrifices they must make in order to reconcile the life of the heart and mind.
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.
The Weight of Ink features a scholarly mystery such as those that are often undertaken within the Folger’s own collections, as well as exploring a changing London only one generation removed from Shakespeare’s lifetime.
Order Your Book
Purchase Your Copy
For this session, we are excited to partner with Capitol Hill Books in Eastern Market. A used bookstore located on historic Capitol Hill in Washington DC, this local treasure features three floors of quality used books along with a selection of new titles, first editions, and rare books.
Orders can be placed through bookshop.org.
You can also download the audiobook version of this title from Libro.fm.