Shakespeare is Shakespeare
Balanced view of the evidence
Not an appropriate question
I wouldn't even try to make this into a film.
Yes, to go over historical facts as Bryson saw them.
He is some what different from other performers, it's his own book and he read it with energy.
I have always been a fan of Bill Bryson, but this was his first book to disappoint... The simple truth is there is too little to know about Shakespeare to justify the book. This is, of course, really too bad as I would really love to know more about it.
That being said, Bryson is fabulous as usual, his writing is terrific, and so is his narration. In certain parts you can hear he is having trouble not laughing, causing me too laugh out loud myself, attracting strange looks from people on the subway.
Over all - The subject matter gets 3 stars (for while it was interesting, as I said above, the actual facts were few and far between). However, the writing gets five stars as usual, thus garnishing a four star review.
The very long prelude is persuasive that there's not much known for sure about Shakespeare... and then goes into absurdly tiny detail about the supposed life he led.
I couldn't force myself to continue... but based on my prior enjoyment of Bryson's OTHER work, I would still try another of his books without concern.
I didn't realize how little I knew about the Bard until I listened to this book. Bryson does an excellent job of summing up Shakespeare's life in an engaging way. He reads it well, too. He points out where the historical record is thin and where we have solid information about Shakespeare. It's incredible to learn how we know what we do (and don't) about the Bard. The last chapter is great. I wouldn't say this is a comedic book, but it's very entertaining and does have some good laughing moments too.
I downloaded this book to kill time while driving but found that I really wanted to pay more attention to it than I could while on the road. Bill Bryson's lyric humor and research of the subject makes this most enjoyable.
Being a die hard Bryson fan, it's hard to imagine this book came from him. The pitcher has lost his arm but stayed on the mound! A fantastically dull book. This is the buy of the year if one is interested in reading all he could never want to know about what can never be known about Shakespeare. A true shame it has Bryson's name on it.
Concise, but enjoyable biography. I particularly like the discussions dealing with the ridiculous anti-Stratfordians. Yes, Shakespeare wrote Shakespeare. I thought this and Schapiro's book are the two best I have come across dealing with the authorship issue. In any case, I would recommend this book for anyone interested in Shakespeare.