Reduced Shakespeare: The Attention-Impaired Reader's Guide to the World's Best Playwright (Abridged} by Reed Martin and Austin Tichenor
So, you've watched The compleat works of William Shakespeare (Abridged) and wanted to learn more. Oh. You haven't watched the Reduced Shakespeare Co.'s play that hilariously combines, yes, every play that Shakespeare wrote (or at least refers to them)? Well, get thee hence and do it, otherwise this book will not make any sense at all. There. You've seen it? Good.
Right, so after watching the Compleat Works, you now need to read the Compleat Guide to Shakespeare: his life, his works, his movies. And in this hysterical (yet surprisingly informative) guide, you will be treated to one of the most irreverent biographies and literary criticisms you've ever read. They include a short criticism of every play, and then go through movie versions and tell you which versions they think are the most notable (if any exist at all), rating each on a scale of 0 to 5 Bards. In the movies section, they also include those movies that are somewhat loosely based on Shakespeare's plays, such as 10 Things I Hate About You. They're not afraid to tell it like they see it, and I was somewhat gratified to see that they disliked the same two versions of A Midsummer Night's Dream that I detested in college. In fact, the movie section is worth the price of the book, and I'm holding onto my library copy a little longer so I can make a note of the ones I want to see. 4.5 stars.