To Be or Not To Be: A Choosable Path Adventure By: Ryan North
Let me start this blog post by saying that I really enjoy reading all kinds of books and this includes plays by William Shakespeare. I read Shakespeare in high school and I liked his plays for the most part but technically they were REQUIRED READING for English class….. so when I picked this book up (a recommendation from a friend) I was expecting a story that was somewhat similar (obviously!) to the original story….Wow, was this book ever different!
Let me explain….
Author Ryan North -- best known for Dinosaur comics and writing the Adventure time comic-- spins the original story of Hamlet to be a hilarious, fun filled adventure keeping the story and plot line open to the reader’s own interpretation! He models the book after the popular Choose Your Own Adventure series from the 80s and 90s.
Before I tell you more about the book, I will talk to you about the CYOA book series. These little books were super popular in the 1980s and 1990s. Each one allowed readers to interact with the plot in a whole new way; choosing which way the story would unfold and ultimately end. These books allowed readers to become part of the story, to act as storytellers, and to get through a book reasonably quickly (some people are into that...no….. seriously, some people will read a book based on the number of pages).
Okay, so now that you know about CYOA books, I will talk to you about what awesome comic writer, Ryan North did with the Shakespeare classic Hamlet. You begin reading the book by choosing your character - either Hamlet, Ophelia or King Hamlet and then you choose which path the character will take. Each page directs you to another page depending on which way you want the story to go. North makes it easy for those of us who find it hard to make decisions by using small Yorick skulls (these are Shakespeare’s actual plot decisions) to direct the reader to a new part of the story. I should let you know that this book is NOT Shakespeare's original story. It is however, full of jokes, awesome plot twists and wonderful visits to faraway lands and to ill-fated deaths (sometimes). You can read this book over and over and over again to make new choices every time! The book is filled with hundreds of pages, each with new stories, plotlines, and AMAZING colour pictures drawn by over 60 (yeah, that’s right...) amazing artists.
This book is super funny! I found myself laughing out loud on the subway (awkward) and reading late into the evening. Okay, so all in all, you need to read this book! Even if you only get through one story from it… YOU NEED TO READ IT!!!!!! I’M SERIOUS -- READ IT!!
To see which Toronto Public Library locations carry this title, click here: http://www.torontopubliclibrary.ca/detail.jsp?Entt=RDM3078590&R=3078590
The Kickstarter Story:
Ryan’s project was first launched on the popular Kickstarter website. North campaigned for the book to be crowdfunded. The site raised upwards of $500,000! The project became the most funded publishing project in Kickstarter history! (It has since been beaten -- but ….this is still AMAZING!). North planned his project very well, communicating with his backers and providing them with information throughout the book’s conception. For more information on the Kickstarter story, follow this link
Super awesome bonus items to go along with this blog….
Choose Your Own Adventure Books at Toronto Public Library
More plot your own adventure stories at Toronto Public Library
~ Thanks for reading ~