I've been nominated for that social media challenge of picking ten books which affected me or shaped me in some way- and there's a challenge to savour. A week's thinking and a bit of writing later, here it is. Plots thankfully recovered.
This year would be Shakespeare's 450th birthday. If he were still alive, his cake would be massive and doing the bumps would take two and a half hours.
I was paradoxically condemned to be both pretentious and a philistine. I was both too smart and too dumb. I was, ultimately, just plain old wrong. My family's condemnations were, much like A Midsummer Night's Dream, rather bland and confusing.
I also had the opportunity to talk to another teacher, Debra Williamson. What she had to say on the subject of incorporating Shakespeare into the 21st century classroom was riveting, and really turned my mind to how we should view the teaching of Shakespeare to our students in schools everywhere.
It's understood that he started as an actor, learning his craft as an unknown. What he did next was extremely canny, and something somewhat outside the realms of possibility for writers, producers, or actors in this modern world.
A new piece of research suggested that people would rather have an electric shock than be left alone to think. So, I decided to see how I fared on the 'being alone with yourself' front, and took myself out quite deliberately, for an evening of pure, self-directed enjoyment.
Britain has indeed produced some of the world's best literature, but to presume that we have done so alone and prescribe a romp through literature that assumes as much ignores the world outside of our shores. If you want to inspire a love of literature, by all means select politically diverse works, gorgeously written, intellectually challenging pieces. But do not pick and choose a whole curriculum in accordance with a narrow, personal political vision.
Hopefully, that last question is the one that most writers keep in their minds above all. We hope that if we make it true and we make it well, it will chime a chord with people enough to do the rest.
Psychoanalysts, including Sigmund Freud himself, have interpreted a great deal of hidden meaning and deep insight into the human condition in Shakespeare's plays. For example, some psychoanalysts see special significance in the title of Hamlet, written in approximately 1601, given Shakespeare's own son, named Hamnet, died in 1596.
There's the one thing that underpins all of this - as Hamlet said, 'the play's the thing'. The reason Shakespeare's words are our words, and his works are our children's school work, is the substance. Content is king.
So what if his 'loss of control' UKIP EU 2014 election posters offend some people? He'snot talking to them/me anyway. Like Shakespeare, Farage knows his audience. Meanwhile, Cameron, Miliband and Clegg have paid for guys from abroad to help them.
Start at Rialto Bridge to re-live heated conversations from The Merchant of Venice and experience the views this tourist trap offers over the city's canals. Take a trip to the area known as the 'Jewish Ghetto' and see one of the city's stunning synagogues, like the Levantine Synagogue, where Al Pacino prayed in the role of Shylock in the 2004 film.
There is a humorous sense of irony surrounding the amount of visitors that Casa Di Giulietta attracts each year, especially considering that Shakespeare's famous play was a fictional concept, and the balcony in Verona wasn't an original feature of "Juliet's house".
Aptly enough, the Globe is embarking on a global tour - visiting every country to perform the tale of the tortured protagonist wrestling with how to avenge the murder of his father. One of the countries the Globe plans to visit is North Korea.
No less valuable are the helpful directions at the end of each chapter on how to get to the places by the most convenient and time-saving route.
When writing the play 'Macbeth', however, Shakespeare did not make the Weird Sisters appear clearly feminine or masculine. An alternate analysis of costuming in Shakespeare explains that instead of simply filling in checklists of gender codes, Shakespeare's characters were dressed in different costume elements that mattered to a variety of degrees.