Monday, 8 June 2009

Shakespeare and His Dramatic Acts (Dead Famous) by Andrew Donkin

Amazon Product Description:
You've probably heard of William Shakespeare... He is dead famous for: - writing a few plays - having a bit of a way with words - creating characters like romantic Romeo and murderous Macbeth. But have you heard that William: - did a seven-year vanishing act - nearly had his head chopped off by the Queen - nicked an entire theatre? Yes, even though he's dead, William's still full of surprises. Now you can get the inside story with William's secret diary, find out the news of the day in the Shakespearean Sun and prepare to be amazed as the curtain is raised on Shakespeare's most dramatic acts. Dead Funny - Dead Gripping - Dead Famous

Well, I'm on a bit of a Shakespeare roll right now. We've been studying Much Ado About Nothing in lit class and I just went to a university lecture on Romeo and Juliet so I'm interested in anything that will give me some insight and any useful resources that I can pass to my students.

If you haven't read a Dead Famous book, you should. They are a lot of fun. This was my first in the series and I think I will probably pick up a few more. If the others are like this, I can say they are filled with interesting facts and funny cartoons. It takes history and makes it an enjoyable read. It is a quick 176 pages and you will enjoy most of it if you are interested in Will and the time in which he lived. I highly recommend it for anybody who is studying the plays.

BTW, I felt this book had the potential to get 4 or even 5 stars, but it got away from what it was doing well and created filler to make up quite a few pages. For example, I don't think the book needs a lot of the play summaries (especially the history plays) and it shouldn't have wasted so many pages on the authorship question. That said, the good stuff is great and well worth reading. With a little more effort, Donkin could have made this fabulous! Anyway, you are still going to enjoy it- especially if you are one of my lit students.

I'm going to give this book 3.5/5 stars.

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