I had just finished reading The Lost Continent and I wanted to spend more time with Bill, so I picked up Shakespeare. It helps that I have been collecting his books for a couple of years, means I always have some unread Bryson around.
Well, I was pleasantly surprised by this book. I didn’t have high expectations for it, but I ended up really enjoying it. It’s basically an account of the bard’s life and work, Bryson has used a number of sources and talked to a lot of Shakespeare scholars. But it is surprising how very little we know about Shakespeare, considering he is one of the top British writers of all time. There are just a few things that could be said in certainty about this mysterious, elusive man.
Still, regardless of the lack of actual facts to write about, the book is highly entertaining. It is a sparkling account of Elizabethan England. London, at the time when Shakespeare lived and created his masterpieces there, is painted in such vivid colours it made for fascinating reading. And of course, it is written in Bryson’s witty style that I so enjoy. (Small tangent: I really think that the man could write a manual on defrosting the freezer and I would read it and love it.)
Anyway, I really enjoyed this book even though I never had a particular interest in Shakespeare. Do read it.