Books: Shakespeare: The World as StageWhy I am recommending this book:
For a guy who continues to influence modern culture through his timeless poetry and prose, little has been written about who Shakespeare really was. I always find it interesting to discover little known facts about "larger than life" figures, especially those who have somehow shaped the way that we live, because I am profoundly curious about what has set them apart and contributed to their greatness.
Considering the hundreds of thousands of words that have been written about Shakespeare, relatively little is known about the man himself. In the absence of much documentation about his life, we have the plays and poetry he wrote. In this addition to the Eminent Lives series, bestselling author Bryson (The Life and Times of the Thunderbolt Kid) does what he does best: marshaling the usual little facts that others might overlook-for example, that in Shakespeare's day perhaps 40% of women were pregnant when they got married-to paint a portrait of the world in which the Bard lived and prospered. Bryson's curiosity serves him well, as he delves into subjects as diverse as the reliability of the extant images of Shakespeare, a brief history of the theater in England and the continuing debates about whether William Shakespeare of Stratford-upon-Avon really wrote Shakespeare's works. Bryson is a pleasant and funny guide to a subject at once overexposed and elusive-as Bryson puts it, he is a kind of literary equivalent of an electron-forever there and not there.