Thursday, September 17, 2009

Reduced Shakespeare: The Complete Guide for the Attention-Impaired [abridged]

Reduced Shakespeare Reduced Shakespeare by Reed C. Martin

My rating: 4 of 5 stars

The full title for this book is actually Reduced Shakespeare: The Complete Guide for the Attention-Impaired [abridged:]. It's written by the same fellows who brought us the play The Complete Works of William Shakespeare [abridged:], which you can get on DVD or in book format. (It's hilarious!)

Even the Table of Contents is funny in this book--the fact that it's annotated cracks me up. It should also be a clue that this is not the book to start someone out on if they are just being introduced to Shakespeare for the first time. Yes, it gives plenty of biographical information and plot summaries--even movie reviews--etc, but the humor is so irreverent that a newbie to the Bard might get confused in spots. (Actually, the tone is so irreverent that sometimes I questioned whether the authors even LIKED Shakespeare's works.)

There was one place I found, however, with some glaring errors, and that was on page 105 of the hardback edition. The plot synopsis of Titus Andronicus is incorrect. It's confusing and has the characters mixed up. A better summary can be found at SparkNotes. Otherwise, the book is a very entertaining read!

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