by Bolu Babalola
"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.
In June, actor John Floyd (Francis Flute in Folger Theatre's upcoming production of A Midsummer Night's Dream) will join us for a conversation and exploration of collection materials at the beginning of the evening.
Our June Pick
Love in Color: Mythical Tales from Around the World, Retold by Bolu Babalola
A high-born Nigerian goddess, who has been beaten down and unappreciated by her gregarious lover, longs to be truly seen.
A young businesswoman attempts a great leap in her company, and an even greater one in her love life.
A powerful Ghanaian spokeswoman is forced to decide whether she should uphold her family’s politics or be true to her heart.
In her debut collection, internationally acclaimed writer Bolu Babalola retells the most beautiful love stories from history and mythology with incredible new detail and vivacity. Focusing on the magical folktales of West Africa, Babalola also reimagines Greek myths, ancient legends from the Middle East, and stories from long-erased places.
With an eye towards decolonizing tropes inherent in our favorite tales of love, Babalola has created captivating stories that traverse across perspectives, continents, and genres.
Love in Color is a celebration of romance in all its many splendid forms.
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.
Shakespeare often engaged with Greek mythology in crafting his plays, using the imagery to enrich his stories. Two of the myths Babalola chooses to retell in her collection—Cupid and Psyche and Pyramus and Thisbe—have strong connections to A Midsummer Night’s Dream, offering an opportunity to consider the throughlines of mythological adaptation that connect Shakespeare to contemporary authors.
Order Your Book
This month, we are excited to again partner with MahoganyBooks, located in DC's historic Anacostia neighborhood. MahoganyBooks believes in social entrepreneurship, and is dedicated to meeting the literary needs of readers in search of books written for, by, or about people of the African Diaspora.
Order online, or by calling 202.844.2062. Please note, some titles may be on backorder or being reprinted via the publisher and will take approximately 1-2 weeks longer to ship. Visit the FAQ page for additional questions.
To learn more, visit mahoganybooks.com.