Book Review: How Shakespeare Changed Everything by Stephen Marche

How Shakespeare Changed Everything by Stephen Marche is a tiny, pretty (well, I like the cover and color) non-fiction book on the impact Shakespeare has had on culture and society. I found this to be fascinating. Old Shakes has changed everything from starlings in America to words in our lexicon.

As a Shakespeare novice – I’ve only read one play all the way through, Romeo And Juliet, although I did watch Julius Caesar and used Spark Notes for Hamlet- I found How Shakespeare Changed Everything by Stephen Marche to be relatively easy to follow. There are short chapters on different aspects of culture which Willy S. left his imprint on. Never did I feel like I needed to be a Shakespeare expert to get this book. The writing was straight and to the point, but conversational. The best way I can describe it is that it is like having a beer with a college professor, you aren’t in lecture hall, but the conversation is on an intellectual plane, rather than the let’s pound this drink plane.

However, How Shakespeare Changed Everything by Stephen Marche is not all roses. There were some parts that I definitely disagreed with. For example, there is a chapter on how Shakespeare changed sex. Apparently people only have crazy uninhibited sex because Shakes wrote about it? I’m pretty sure that statement is a stretch. Hello, what about the Kama Sutra? Also, from my sex in the middle ages class, we learned that a prevalent belief was that both people had to um, spill seed and stuff, to conceive. I just didn’t buy into that chapter at all.

As far as non-fiction goes, How Shakespeare Changed Everything by Stephen Marche is completely engaging. I never found the words dry. Nor did I find myself wanting to be reading something else. I enjoyed my brief time with this book. Also, I feel slightly more knowledgeable about Shakespeare, and thus more interesting.

Disclosure: Received for review.

Other Reviews of How Shakespeare Changed Everything by Stephen Marche:

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April is in her 30s and created Good Books And Good Wine. She works for a non-profit. April always has a book on hand. In her free time she can be found binge watching The Office with her husband and toddler, spending way too much time on Pinterest or exploring her neighborhood.
About April (Books&Wine)

April is in her 30s and created Good Books And Good Wine. She works for a non-profit. April always has a book on hand. In her free time she can be found binge watching The Office with her husband and toddler, spending way too much time on Pinterest or exploring her neighborhood.

Comments

  1. Sounds awkwardly intriguing. I admit, I laughed out loud at the spilling of the seed and I’m sure people were experimenting and have wild sex before Shakespeare too. Nice to see something out the box though. And I got me a giggle for the day. Thanks.
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  2. Haha, I see how you got through high school (Sparknotes and watching the movie versions)! =P
    I’m glad you found the book (mostly) enjoyable. It sounds interesting! =)

  3. This sounds pretty entertaining and I do love Shakespeare! I’ll have to read this soon.
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  4. This book sounds interesting to me. However, I’m the complete opposite of you in that not only did I read Julius Caesar, R&J, Hamlet, and MacBeth all the way through, but also I took two courses at university, or a full year, of Shakespeare. From those courses plus MacBeth, I’ve read almost every play he wrote. I wonder if it would have new info for me or if it would be information that I already knew.
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