Good Kindle Books at a Glance is a series of posts I’m going to publish on this blog about books that have caught my attention and that are now available in Kindle edition. You are welcome to join in with discussions and comments.
I had a hard time choosing a book to start with and finally relied on the classics, Mr. William Shakespeare. Yet the books to be mentioned have not been written by him, but about him.
While I prefer to ‘watch’ Shakespeare in theater, not to read Shakespeare in a book, I’ve still admired a work by Marjorie Garber, “Shakespeare After All“. A professor at Harvard, she gives a critical analysis of each play in a way which is readable and enjoyable, no matter if you have a degree in English Literature or don’t. The author also pays attention to historical background of Shakespeare’s works; she draws a picture of a 17th-century England and a theater life of that time. “Supremely readable and engaging, and complete with a comprehensive introduction to Shakespeare’s life and times and an extensive bibliography…”
Another book on William Shakespeare has captured my attention. “Shakespeare” by Bill Bryson focuses on the Bard’s biography; though few facts are known about Shakespeare’s life, Bryson reconstructs the society of his contemporaries, with people’s mores and emotions, so that we could imagine what kind of person Shakespeare might be like. “William Shakespeare … left behind nearly a million words of text, but his biography has long been a thicket of wild supposition arranged around scant facts. With a steady hand and his trademark wit, Bill Bryson sorts through this colorful muddle to reveal the man himself…”
If you are looking for a work on historical background behind the Bard’s plays, you may like Shakespeare’s English Kings: History, Chronicle, and Drama by Peter Saccio. The author covers events and royal relationships during the reign of 9 kings referred to by Shakespeare in his works.The book is not a comprehensive academic research on medieval history, it is more of a guide that helps understand the correlation between true historical events and Shakespeare’s imagination and dramatization of reality. ”Including a new preface, a revised further reading list, genealogical charts, an appendix of names and titles, and an index, the second edition of Shakespeare’s English Kings offers excellent background reading for all of the ten history plays…”
– William Shakespeare