Shakespeare by Bill Bryson

A Bookish Observation

Shakespeare: The World as a Stage
by Bill Bryson
My rating: 3 of 5 stars (i.e. I liked it)

Bill Bryson is one of my favourite authors. His prose makes everything he writes so very readable. He writes in a way that enables we “everymen” to easily access historical and scientific facts. (I’ve listened to several audiobooks where Bill Bryson reads his own work, so when I read his books, I can hear his voice and imagine his smile while I read.)

Recently I saw the beautifully made movie “All is True” which was about William Shakespeare, and I found it very interesting, so when I tripped over Bill Bryson’s book, Shakespeare, at my local charity shop, I snapped it up. I started reading and two days later I’d finished it. What a good read.

There were a few amusing asides where Mr Bryson’s humour comes through. Along with intriguing information about William Shakespeare, Mr Bryson shares stories about Queen Elizabeth I, and and her successor King James I, that were a revelation to me, and the stories about the English language, and how Shakespeare had a hand in creating a lot of new words.

And then there were the stories about all the scholars and eccentrics who spent years of their life poring over documents related to William’s connections.

I’ve never been particularly interested in Shakespeare, and the little snippets I’ve seen of his plays haven’t encouraged me to read his works, nor attend his plays. What I find intriguing, and I am in respect of, is the fact that Shakespeare is held in high regard by the “well read — well educated — in-the-know” persons, so I don’t disregard his value. Bill Bryson’s book has helped me know more about a person whose work seems to have been a miracle.

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