Transcript / LoLT: Shakespeare's First Folio and Two New Books — 09 June 2023

Transcript / LoLT: Shakespeare's First Folio and Two New Books — 09 June 2023

Friday, 9 June, 2023

This is a transcription of Shakespeare’s First Folio and Two New Books — 09 June 2023’


[cheerful music]

Melissa: Coming up, a new method to help you embrace the power of the word no.

David: Maybe the summer’s best beach read?

Melissa: Plus, our distraction of the week. I’m Mel.

David: I’m Dave. This is the library of lost time.

Melissa: We’ve said many times that we have the loveliest patrons and listeners in the podcast biz. [DAVE] I love learning about what our Strong Sense of Place community is up to, so I was very excited to learn about the book ‘The Power of Saying No’ by Vanessa Patrick. Vanessa is a loyal listener to our show. Thanks, Vanessa!

Melissa: If you have trouble saying no and protecting your boundaries, this is the book for you. The author Vanessa Patrick grew up in Mumbai, India, and has lived in the US for over two decades. She’s now a Professor and Associate Dean at the Bauer College of Business at the University of Houston.

Melissa: With this book, she encourages us to use an ‘empowered refusal’ and to think of the ability to say no as a Superskill. That just gives me ideas about a superhero with a giant NO on the chest of her supersuit.

Melissa: The book outlines a 3-part framework to help you say no to things that aren’t a good fit for you. It includes a very relatable explanation of why we say yes, when we really want to say no — and provides guidance for handling pushback from people who don’t want to accept your no.

Melissa: To build her case, she uses psychological research and relatable cultural references that make this book fun to read while it’s filling your toolbox. There are little quizzes, compelling question prompts, and phrases you can practice saying to feel empowered.

Melissa: Aside from the practical advice, the thing I really liked about this book is that it leads with empathy. One of the benefits of an empowered refusal is that when we feel empowered, we can increase our empathy — for the asker and for ourselves.

Melissa: This is a conversational, fun read packed with great ideas. It’s ‘The Power of Saying No: The New Science of How to Say No That Puts You in Charge of your Life’ by Vanessa Patrick.

David: If you are looking for a summer beach read, I’ve got a title for you. It’s Bad Summer People by Emma Rosenblum. It’s about a tiny town on Fire Island where rich people go to play. Our main characters are two couples and their single friend. They all seem like horrible people. There are secrets, backstabbing, infidelities, and so much drama. And then, right in the middle of it, a murder.

David: The reviews have been exactly what you want – people are calling this delicious, dishy, dark, smart, sexy, and irresistible. I read three different write-ups, and they all mentioned White Lotus.

David: If you like that kind of rich-people-behaving-badly story, I suspect you’ll enjoy this. It’s Bad Summer People by Emma Rosenblum.

David: And now, our Distraction of the Week. [magical sound effect]

David: A new Strong Sense of Place comes out on Monday. But before we say goodbye to the Theater and move on to Kenya, I wanted to mention some things I learned about William Shakespeare.

David: Shakespeare died in 1616. And seven years later, two of his friends, two actors, put together a large volume of his work. It was called ‘Mr. William Shakespeares Comedies, Histories, and Tragedies.’ It was printed in a folio format – which means that it was one big piece of paper, folded in half, and then printed on both sides. Scholars decided that ‘Mr. William Shakespeares Comedies, Histories, and Tragedies’ was a lot to say, so they just call that book ‘the first folio.’

David: According to Paul Collins, the chair of English at Portland State University, the publication of this work went almost unnoticed. Only 750 copies were made. And many of those were gone before the turn of the eighteenth century. There are 235 known copies now. Two of them were found as late as 2016. That last one was found in a stately home on a Scottish island. Check your attic.

David: Or, if you can’t find one, you could buy one. One sold just last year for 2.4 million dollars. That was significantly down from the copy that sold for almost ten million two years before. Presumably, a better copy.

David: Of the 36 plays printed in that book, 18 had never been published. Without that book, we would likely not have The Tempest, Twelfth Night, Measure for Measure, or Macbeth.

David: I bring all of that up because this year is the 400th anniversary of the printing of the first folio. Back in 1623, two friends and a tiny printing house were working on preserving their friend’s work so that we could all enjoy it.

David: If you want to know more about the first folio, there’s a book by Paul Collins. It’s called ‘The Book of William: How Shakespeare’s First Folio Conquered the World.’ Collins traces the history of the First Folio from its printing through its rising and falling popularity through the centuries.

David: If you lean more towards fiction, and you want to walk in Shakespeare’s world for a while, there’s a book called ‘Hamnet: A Novel of the Plague’ by Maggie O’Farrell. In that, she takes the reader back to the 16th century to witness the death of Shakespeare’s only son and the creative fallout from that. That book was widely praised when it came out in 2020.

Melissa: Visit for more about the books we discussed and links to all that yummy Shakespeare stuff.

David: Thanks for joining us in the Libary of Lost Time. Remember to visit your local library and your independent book store to lose some time yourself.

Melissa: Stay curious! We’ll talk to you soon.

[cheerful music]


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