Monday, March 07, 2016

Today's new word--verisimilitude and book club selection

Definition:  In a literary work, verisimilitude is likeness to the truth i.e. resemblance of a fictitious work to a real event even if it is a far-fetched one.

I heard this word used in a Ted Talk I was watching by Laura Bates, author of Shakespeare saved my life; ten years in solitary with the bard, the book our Book Club will be discussing today.  However, she showed a brief video of Larry Newton, featured in her book, speaking about Shakespeare's impact on his life, and he used the word, verisimilitude.  I thought that if a guy whose last full day in school was somewhere around mid-elementary, and he could use the word, perhaps I should use it, or at least know how.

                                                        Image result for Shakespeare saved my life

 "A literary agent contacted Bates after seeing an MSNBC broadcast on the Shakespeare program. She told Bates, "There's a book here. You need to write this book." Bates turned to her hundreds of recorded hours with Newton and to her memories and notes from teaching the inmates and began to write.
 Reviews by Booklist and Kirkus have praised the book. The reviewer at Booklist called it, "A powerful testament to how Shakespeare continues to speak to contemporary readers in all sorts of circumstances." The Kirkus review described it as "An eye-opening study reiterating the perennial power of books, self discipline and the Bard of Avon."

Bates worked with about 200 prisoners in segregation at Wabash Valley during the program. She examined the records of 20 who spent the most time studying Shakespeare. Before Shakespeare, the men had more than 600 write ups, with most of those falling into the Class A felony and violent felony categories. After studying Shakespeare, Bates examined the inmates' records for a similar number of years and found only two violations for cell phone possession."

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