The Shakespeare Book (Big Ideas Simply Explained)

The Shakespeare Book (Big Ideas Simply Explained)
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Release Date
March 10, 2015
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The Shakespeare Book brings the work of William Shakespeare to life with full-color photography, images, idea webs, timelines, and quotes that help you understand the context of Shakespeare's plays and poems. From Shakespeare's most-famous plays, such as Romeo and Juliet and Julius Caesar, to less-frequently performed works such as King John and Henry VIII, every play of the Shakespearean canon is collected in this comprehensive guide, along with his major poems and best-loved sonnets. In The Shakespeare Book each play includes an at-a-glance guide to story chronology, so you can easily get back on track if you get lost in Shakespeare's language. Character guides provide a handy reference for casual readers and an invaluable resource for playgoers, and students writing reports on Shakespeare. Packed with infographics and explanations of plots and including an introduction to Shakespeare's life and times, The Shakespeare Book is the ultimate guide to understanding the work of William Shakespeare.

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As someone who really loves Shakespeare, this book was enlightening. I loved the historical information that it gave about both Shakespeare and the specific plays and sonnets. The information was interesting and relevant, along with being trustworthy.The summaries for each of the plays were easy to follow, even for the plays I have not read yet. There were also helpful lists of the characters in each play and the defining points of their characters. I know that when I read more of his plays in the future I will be coming back to this book as a reference guide to keep myself from getting confused.
Other sections that I really appreciated were the quotes sections that were interspersed throughout the book. I found some that I've never heard before but loved. It was also a good way to get a grasp of Shakespeare's skill for one-liners and insightful sentences.
The graphics kept the reader engaged and entertained. I really loved the different segments that appear repeatedly throughout the book, like the quote segments that I mentioned and the character lists. These things really helped the book, making the inside gorgeous and well-designed as well as full of helpful information. The graphics could have gotten confusing very quickly with all the information included, but it very rarely got confusing. One thing that did not work for me was how much information was jammed onto each page, though I don't know how it could have been done differently and ultimately I think it worked.
If you are at all interested in learning more about Shakespeare of even one specific Shakespeare play, I would highly recommend this book. After reading this I feel like I have a lot more knowledge about all things concerning Shakespeare, his life, and his works.
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