by Maggie O'Farrell
"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 December Pick
Hamnet by Maggie O'Farrell
England, 1580: The Black Death creeps across the land, an ever-present threat, infecting the healthy, the sick, the old and the young, alike. The end of days is near, but life always goes on.
A young Latin tutor—penniless and bullied by a violent father—falls in love with an extraordinary, eccentric young woman. Agnes is a wild creature who walks her family’s land with a falcon on her glove and is known throughout the countryside for her unusual gifts as a healer, understanding plants and potions better than she does people. Once she settles with her husband on Henley Street in Stratford-upon-Avon she becomes a fiercely protective mother and a steadfast, centrifugal force in the life of her young husband, whose career on the London stage is taking off when his beloved young son succumbs to sudden fever.
A luminous portrait of a marriage, a shattering evocation of a family ravaged by grief and loss, and a tender and unforgettable re-imagining of a boy whose life has been all but forgotten, and whose name was given to one of the most celebrated plays of all time, Hamnet is mesmerizing, seductive, impossible to put down—a magnificent leap forward from one of our most gifted novelists.
"This striking, painfully lovely novel captures the very nature of grief." —Booklist
Order Your Book
This month, we are thrilled to partner with Politics and Prose, DC's premiere independent bookstore devoted to cultivating community and strengthening the common good through books, programs, and a respectful exchange of ideas.
Orders can be placed online, or at any of the locations throughout DC—Connecticut Avenue NW, The Wharf, and Union Market—which are now open to customers. Click here for more information about operating hours and curbside pickup.
Learn more at politics-prose.com.