Monday, May 9, 2011

How Shakespeare Changed Everything by Stephen Marche

I confess...I post short reviews of most books I finish on Goodreads but try to write longer reviews for the Harper books (and post those here too).  I figure they were kind enough to provide me a copy and they place no restraints on what I say so they deserve a bit more space.  I just don't have as much to say this time.

How Shakespeare Changed Everything by Stephen Marche is a short book looking at how Shakespeare influences the world.  Each chapter focuses on a specific arena such as adolescence, sex, and race.  It was a quick read and the right length for the project...Marche avoided the pitfall of writing more than an average reader would want to read.  He makes some good arguments but I just don't always buy his thesis.  There are a few moments in which I do see a causal relationship between Shakespeare and the topic at hand.  My favorite example is the individual who, aiming to populate Central Park with every bird named in Shakespeare, released 100 starlings into NYC.  There are now 200 million.  I am less convinced that Shakespeare invented adolescence or had a direct impact on Lincoln's assassination.

I'd give it 3 stars..which translates into an "okay" that has a significant favorable bent.  Solid and held my interest, just not sure he got my vote for his thesis. 

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