I read a hundred or more books every year (give or take; see this post), and in addition to a few Shakespeare plays every year, I also love to read books about Shakespeare and related subjects. So what are my favorites, you ask? Thanks for asking. Here is a list of seven (in no particular order):
- The Year of Lear (Shapiro), an engrossing book about just one year–1606, in which Shakespeare was at the height of his powers, writing King Lear, Macbeth, and Antony and Cleopatra.
- Think on My Words (Crystal), focusing on Shakespeare’s words. Hence, the title.
- The Daughter of Time (Tey), a page-turner, the story of a modern cop investigating the centuries-old mystery of Richard III and the princes in the tower.
- The Millionaire and the Bard (Mays), about Henry Folger and his obsession with acquiring Shakespeareana (didn’t know that was a word, did you?), particularly First Folios.
- Shakespeare: The World as a Stage (Bryson). Bill Bryson writes masterfully, and never more so than when he is writing about Shakespeare.
- Soul of the Age (Bate), a biography of the mind of William Shakespeare by one of the world’s leading Shakespeare authorities.
- Majestie: The King Behind the King James Bible (Teems). My friend David Teems wrote this fascinating about the king who made Shakespeare a groom of the crown and also commissioned the King James Version of the Bible.
I recommend them all. There are so many great books on Shakespeare, his times, his contemporaries, his plays, etc., that it’s ludicrous to choose just seven. But I did it. So there.