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Titles based on Shakespeare quotes: Perkins’ Recommended Reads

This month’s list features books titled after quotes from the works of Shakespeare, words and phrases which have made their way into the names of books ranging from mystery to romance to science fiction.

three book covers

William Shakespeare, one of history’s best-known writers, authored dozens of plays and hundreds of poems, and originated words such as “gossip,” “dauntless,” and “negotiate” which are still part of our vocabulary today. His works have inspired novels such as Vinegar Girl by Anne Tyler (DB 84781) and A Thousand Acres by Jean Smiley (DB 33926); movies including The Lion King (DVD 1881), She’s the Man and 10 Things I Hate About You; and musicals like West Side Story and Kiss Me, Kate, alongside the thousands of adaptations and interpretations of his original plays. But it is not only the stories themselves that have influenced later writers. This month’s list features books titled after quotes from the works of Shakespeare, words and phrases which have made their way into the names of books ranging from mystery to romance to science fiction. Even if you skimmed over Shakespeare in school, you might find that there’s something to enjoy inspired by his words.

Digital book (DB), braille (BR), large print (LT), and audio described videos (DVD) copies of these titles are available from the Perkins Library or the Worcester Talking Book Library. Please contact the library to order any of these books.

Prepared by Leah Ellenbogen

Children’s Resource and Service Librarian, Perkins Library


Band of Brothers 

by Stephen E. Ambrose

DB 40283, Available as BARD Download

Title from Henry V

Drawing on journals, letters, and interviews with veterans of Easy Company, the author tells the story of the combat rifle unit that parachuted into France early on D-Day. And, despite hardships and casualties, E Company was responsible for the capture of Hitler’s Bavarian retreat at war’s end. Some strong language. 1992.

Download Band of Brothers, DB 40283

Brave New World 

by Aldous Huxley

DB 47108, BR 11922, LT 29393, Available as BARD Download

Title from The Tempest

A satire set in a future technocratic society in which people are rigidly classified by the state and kept happy by a government-administered drug. When two bureaucrats, Lenina and Bernard, travel to a “savage” reservation, they “rescue” a woman and her adult son, abandoned long ago, and return them to civilization. 1932.

Download Brave New World, DB 47108

Download Braille, Brave New World, BR 11922

By the Pricking of My Thumbs 

by Agatha Christie

DB 23144, LT 16100, Available as BARD Download

Title from Macbeth

A woman finds herself fascinated by the familiarity of a small house in a painting. A mystery ensues as she tries to find out more about it. 1968.

Download By the Pricking of My Thumbs, DB 23144

Exit, Pursued by a Bear 

by E.K. Johnston

DB 84343, Available as BARD Download

Title from The Winter’s Tale

At her last cheerleading camp, Hermione is drugged and raped. Unsure whether it was one of her teammates or a boy on another team, Hermione deals with the aftermath in her small Ontario town. For senior high and older readers. 2016.

Download Exit, Pursued by a Bear, DB 84343

The Fault in Our Stars 

by John Green

DB 74112, DB 77980 (Spanish), BR 22914, LT 14043, DVD 1203, Available as BARD Download

Title from Julius Caesar

A miracle drug may have given sixteen-year-old cancer patient Hazel a few more years, but she is still depressed. Then Hazel meets cute Augustus during a support-group meeting and her world shifts in unexpected and inspiring ways. Some strong language. For senior high and older readers. 2012.

Download The Fault in Our Stars, DB 74112

Download Braille, The Fault in Our Stars, BR 22914

Full Circle 

by Danielle Steel

DB 20907, BR 18271, Available as BARD Download

Title from King Lear

Tana Roberts has enjoyed a very secure childhood because her widowed mother has worked so hard to ensure happiness for her. But Tana’s happiness ends abruptly after high school graduation when the son of her mother’s lover rapes her. His drunken act changes the course of Tana’s life. Strong language and explicit descriptions of sex. Bestseller. 1984.

Download Full Circle, DB 20907 

Download Full Circle, BR 18271

Gaudy Night 

by Dorothy L. Sayers

DB 23491, Available as BARD Download

Title from Antony and Cleopatra

Harriet Vane attends the Oxford reunion known as the ‘Gaudy,’ but is soon upset by bizarre pranks, scrawled obscenities, burnt effigies, and poison-pen letters. She finds herself involved in a nightmare with few clues, and Lord Peter Wimsey offers both his customary help, as well as, his hand in marriage. 1936.

Download Gaudy Night, DB 23491 

In Cold Blood 

by Truman Capote

DB 22726, BRC 1440, LT 5447, Available as BARD Download

Title from Timon of Athens

The author coined the term “nonfiction novel” for this account of the murder of a Kansas family. He reconstructs the crime and the backgrounds and personalities of all the principals, drawing his information from observation, interviews, and official records. Violence and some strong language. 1965.

Download In Cold Blood, DB 22726

Infinite Jest 

by David Foster Wallace

DB 44028, Available as BARD Download

Title from Hamlet

Infinite Jest, a movie so funny that people lose interest in everything else, was produced by Dr. Incandenza, who has one son at Enfield Tennis Academy and one at Ennet House, a home for recovering alcoholics and narcotics. The two institutions’ residents become involved with a Quebecois separatist who wants to distribute copies of the film. Strong language, some violence, and some descriptions of sex. Bestseller. 1996.

Download Infinite Jest, DB 44028

Light Thickens 

by Ngaio Marsh

DB 63209, BR 17257, Available as BARD Download

Title from Macbeth

Members of a London acting troupe performing Shakespeare’s Macbeth suspect the play is cursed after several pranks disrupt rehearsals. Their apprehension turns to horror when an actor is murdered onstage during a performance. Scotland Yard Chief Superintendent Roderick Alleyn, who happens to be in the audience, investigates. 1982.

Download Light Thickens, DB 63209

Download Braille, Light Thickens, BR 17257

No Wind of Blame 

by Georgette Heyer

DB 10288, Available as BARD Download

Title from Hamlet

In a small English town, Inspector Hemingway investigates the murder of a nasty little rich man who is shot through the heart. Ermyntrude, the dead man’s wife, is an overly merry widow. 1970.

Download No Wind of Blame, DB 10288

Nutshell 

by Ian McEwan

DB 85715, BR 21678, LT 20855, Available as BARD Download

Title from Hamlet

Listening from within his mother Trudy’s womb, an unborn child learns about human behavior. He overhears how Trudy has left his father, John, and is now living with John’s brother, Claude, while the two plot John’s demise. Some violence, some strong language, and some descriptions of sex. 2016.

Download Nutshell, DB 85715

Download Nutshell, BR 21678

On Such a Full Sea 

by Chang-rae Lee

DB 78213, Available as BARD Download

Title from Julius Caesar

In a post-apocalyptic world, Fan lives in the settlement of B-Mor, where she works as a diver cultivating fish. One day her boyfriend Reg disappears, and Fan leaves B-Mor to discover his fate. 2014.

Download On Such a Full Sea, DB 78213

Passing Strange 

by Ellen Klages

DB 87510, Available as BARD Download

Title from Othello

In the present day, Helen Young is trying to sell the last painting by famous pulp magazine illustrator Haskel. Flashback to 1940 San Francisco, where Haskel is part of a bohemian group of women who dabble in magic. Some strong language. 2017.

Download Passing Strange, DB 87510

Rosemary and Rue 

by Seanan McGuire

DB 71567, Available as BARD Download

Title from The Winter’s Tale

San Francisco PI October “Toby” Daye, a half-human, half-fae changeling, is desperate to avoid magic. But when a curse forces her to investigate the murder of elven countess Evening Winterrose, Toby must return to the world of the fae–or die. Strong language, some violence, and some descriptions of sex. 2010.

Download Rosemary and Rue, DB 71567

Something Rotten: A Fresh Look at Roadkill 

by Heather L. Montgomery

DB 93514, BR 22527, Available as BARD Download

Title from Hamlet

Wildlife researcher examines what happens to the many dead animals that we pass by daily. Showcases how others take the tragedy of roadkill and turn it into a scientific (and sometimes artistic) triumph. For grades 4-7. 2018.

Download Something Rotten: A Fresh Look at Roadkill, DB 93514

Download Something Rotten: A Fresh Look at Roadkill, BR 22527

Something Wicked This Way Comes 

by Ray Bradbury

DB 50233, BR 12583, Available as BARD Download

Title from Macbeth

Will Halloway and Jim Nightshade, both thirteen, are fascinated by the carnival that comes to their small town. But after a series of frightening events, the boys realize there is something sinister about the show and its owner. 1962.

Download Something Wicked This Way Comes, DB 50233

Download Something Wicked This Way Comes, BR 12583

The Sound and the Fury 

by William Faulkner

DB 49885, BR 11402, Available as BARD Download

Title from Macbeth

In 1928 Yoknapatawpha County, Mississippi, the Compson brothers–Quentin, Jason, and the “idiot” son Benjy–narrate events that trace the gradual disintegration of the family and include the ostracism of their wanton sister, Caddy. 1929.

Download The Sound and the Fury, DB 49885

Download The Sound and the Fury, BR 11402

This Mortal Coil 

by Emily Suvada

DB 95397, Available as BARD Download

Title from Hamlet

In a world where people are implanted with technology to recode their DNA, gene-hacking genius Cat must decrypt her late father’s message concealing a vaccine for a horrifying plague that turns the sick into exploding zombies. For senior high and older readers. 2017.

Download This Mortal Coil, DB 95397

Twice-Told Tales 

by Nathaniel Hawthorne

LT 5466

Title from King John

This is Nathaniel Hawthorne’s first collection of short stories. It includes many of his best-known stories that incorporate scenes and themes from New England history and demonstrate the young Hawthorne’s mastery of the short story form. 1842.

Walking Shadows 

by Faye Kellerman

DB 92707, LT 24525, Available as BARD Download

Title from Macbeth

Twenty-six-year-old Brady Neil–who had no criminal record, worked full time, and attended community college–is found brutally murdered. After Detective Peter Decker learns that Brady’s father was convicted of robbing and killing the owners of a local jewelry store years ago, he suspects the son’s murder may be connected. 2018. 

Download Walking Shadows, DB 92707

Well Met 

by Jen DeLuca

DB 96644, Available as BARD Download

Title from As You Like It

Having moved to the small Maryland town of Willow Creek for the summer to help her sister recover from an accident, Emily gets roped into helping out at the Renaissance Faire. There she clashes with local school teacher Simon, who considers the Faire his family’s legacy. 2019.

Download Well Met, DB 96644

Who Done It? Investigation of Murder Most Foul 

by Jon Scieszka

DB 76474, Available as BARD Download

Title from Hamlet

Author investigates the murder of despised book editor Mr. Herman Q. Mildew. Each of the suspects–more than eighty fellow writers and illustrators–provides an alibi. But someone must have something to hide. For junior and senior high and older readers. 2013.

Download Who Done It? Investigation of Murder Most Foul, DB 76474

Wyrd Sisters

by Terry Pratchett

DB 62408, BR 20888, Available as BARD Download

Title from Macbeth

Lord Felmet orchestrates the murder of King Verence of Lancre and ascends the throne. Granny Weatherwax and her fellow witches, having come into possession of a royal youth, conspire to replace Felmet with the rightful–if reluctant–heir and lay Verence’s ghost to rest. 1980

Download Wyrd Sisters, DB 62408

Download Wyrd Sisters, BR 20888

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