I started reading the first play in the book: King Henry VI Part I. While there is certainly a part of me that wants to read Shakespeare with heavy annotation so that I can really understand everything that is happening and being said, ultimately, for me, I'm reading to enjoy the poetry and the story - so I decided to just read the play and take pleasure in it as well as I could. And I have to say, it was mostly understandable, and I found it highly entertaining. (Note: I did consult a dictionary for tough words, as well as Wikipedia to understand the historical background; both resources helped greatly.)
King Henry VI Part I concerns the very early stages of the War of the Roses in England, as well as some of England's martial conflicts in France. There is a lot of combat in the play, a lot of humor, and, of course, a lot of great poetic language. As I read, I couldn't help but think that the play would translate into a really cool action-adventure movie.
And on top of all of that, the play contains one of the most outrageous lines of dialogue I've ever read. Take a gander at this little gem from the Bard:
"O, were mine eyeballs into bullets turn'd,
That I, in rage, might shoot them at your faces!"
Needless to say, after reading this play, I am pumped for the two sequels.
On a related note: since the first day of summer is only two days away, I'll post one of Shakes's most beloved sonnets:
"Shall I compare thee to a summer's day?
Thou art more lovely and more temperate;
Rough winds do shake the darling buds of May,
And summer's lease hath all too short a date;
Sometime too hot the eye of heaven shines,
And often is his gold complexion dimm'd;
And every fair from fair sometime declines,
By chance or nature's changing course untrimm'd;
But thy eternal summer shall not fade,
Nor lose possession of that fair thou ow'st;
Nor shall Death brag thou wander'st in his shade,
When in eternal lines to time thou grow'st:
So long as men can breathe or eyes can see,
So long lives this, and this gives life to thee."