'' I've revealed more about my personal life and acting technique in this book than I have in any other,''  the award winning actress says of : '' Shakespeare : The Man Who Pays the Rent.''

.-  What's the best book you've ever received as a gift?

That's an impossible question. The best in 89 years? How do I know? I remember being given A.P. Wavell's '' Other Men's Flowers '' as a birthday present when I was young.

It's a collection of poetry, which opened my eyes to the power of verse. But then I also adored '' The Talented Mr. Ripley,'' by Patricia Highsmith. My husband, Michael [Williams], bought it for me as a holiday read. 

I devoured it and didn't want it to end. I had to ration myself to a couple of pages a day.

.-  What's the last great book you read?

'' Dormouse Has a Cold,'' by Julia Donaldson. It's a life-the-flap children's book, sent to me when I was recovering from a cold.

.-  Have you ever gotten in trouble for reading a book?

After lights out at boarding school when I was 15. I was in bed under the covers with a torch reading Rudyard Kipling's '' Just So Stories.''

.-  Shakespeare writing, you say is the new book '' has the capacity to make us feel less alone. ''  What other writing has done that for you?

Oh so many - Iris Murdoch, Chekhov, Zoe Helier, J.D.Salinger - any writer who can reflect us back to ourselves and help us discover who we are.

.-  You mention seeing a theater ghost in the book. Do you enjoy ghost stories?

I love a good ghost story. I remember being on a family camping holiday in Scotland when my daughter, Finty, was young. We snuggled up under a blanket, while Michael read us '' The Mezzotint,'' by M. R. James. It was thrilling.

.-  If an aspiring actor were to read one portion of the book, which would you suggest and why?

I'd hope that there was something to be gleaned from every chapter, but there's advice on the rehearsal process, coping with first-night nerves and tips on verse speaking.

I just sharing a little of what I've learned over the past 70 years, which will hopefully act as a springboard for aspiring actors to formulate their own ideas. I'd also like to say that we've had wonderful feedback from people who aren't actors.

Many of whom were put off Shakespeare at school - and, having read our book, felt inspired to revisit his plays.

The World Students Society thanks The New York Times.


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