Reduced Shakespeare: The Attention-Impaired Reader's Guide to the World's Best Playwright [Abridged]
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Reduced Shakespeare: The Attention-Impaired Reader's Guide to the World's Best Playwright [Abridged]

4.16 of 5 stars 4.16  ·  rating details  ·  169 ratings  ·  36 reviews
From the theater troupe whose sidesplitting production The Complete Works of William Shakespeare [Abridged] is the longest-running comedy in London's history comes an openly hysterical, yet surprisingly informative, guide to everything you ever wanted to know about the Bard of Avon

Love Shakespeare Youll like this book. Hate Shakespeare Youll love this book. From the theatr

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Hardcover, 256 pages
Published July 11th 2006 by Hyperion
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Community Reviews

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Madeline
Hilarious. It's a down-to-earth look at Shakespeare's works, his legacy, and how biographies of him are 90% speculation (read: bullshit). The authors describe Shakespeare's life (as much of it as is known, anyway), summarize his plays, and even discuss who might have actually been responsible for writing Shakespeare's plays, and they do it all in frank, lighthearted language. They describe As You Like It as "Desperate Housewives set in the forest of Arden" and write things like, "Cymbeline seems...more
Bruce
If you've never seen the Reduced Shakespeare Company, you really owe it to yourself to get out to one of their performances at the first available opportunity. They're kind of like the Flying Karamazov brothers only with less props. If they don't make stops to any theaters near you, see if you can get a hand on any of their relatively recently published playscripts (or better still, their radio program as a book-on-CD).

I was inspired to borrow from the library everything of theirs I could find a...more
Jay
First, this book is very funny. Probably as funny as the guys planning their own little play in "Midsummer Night's Dream" when it's performed well. I enjoy funny and frequently give it 3 stars.

Second, this book has a lot of great information. I took two or three classes in Shakespeare when I was in college and this book not only covered a LOT of the history and mystery of Shakespeare that I knew, but added to what I had heard before. Yeah, while being funny. (Okay, so if you don't like getting y...more
MacK
My adoration of The Reduced Shakespeare Company, and the fact that I teach teenagers, led me to start using this book more than I probably ought to. It is insightful, clever and invariably honest, for instance they explain that "the entire Shakespeare industry consists of people simply guessing about who Shakespeare was and what he wrote." And refer to the whole genre as a tale "told by idiots".

Marin and Tichenor are much more than idiots. They have a comprehensive knowledge of Shakespeare (turn...more
Jane Greensmith
Unadulterated fun and full of quotes like this one:

"History is filled with people you've never heard of, and every single one of them lived a life more recorded and better documented than the 'famous' William Shakespeare. It's maddening."

I liked the way the book ended--with the notion that part of Shakespeare's appeal is that we don't know much about his life. If we did, we might like him less. I think there's a lot of truth in that, and I think the same might apply to Austen, though we do know...more
Caitlin
I really enjoyed this book a lot. It made Shakespeare more accessible to me than I ever thought it could be. I have a starting place to see movies made from Shakespeare's plays, which plays to see live, and got a little introduction to his sonnets. My only issue with the book is that it can be difficult to tell fact from humor. I would not use this book to write a report or anything overly serious.
George H
Great fun. A fast-paced, irreverent (but educational) romp through Shakespeare's complete works. I have a greater appreciation for what I've already read/seen, and a heightened interest in working my way through Shakespeare's entire catalogue.

As an aside...if you ever get a chance to see these guys (Reduced Shakespeare Company) perform live, run (don't walk) to the theatre.

Cory Howell
Very funny, very informative...but hey, I'd expect nothing less from the minds who brought us The Complete Works of William Shakespeare (abridged).
Seriously, despite all the really funny stuff in the book, there's some very solid scholarship in a nice, concise format. Really one of my favorite Intro to Shakespeare guides.
Mark
(Error on page will not let me give this book 4 stars.)

Entertaining book about Shakespeare, his output and reviews/recommendations of which plays to watch/read/attend. Lots of humor in the book, although if you don't know enough about the material, you might interpret an attempt at a joke as fact.
Mr. Pease
An accurately and hilariously abridged guide to the works of the Bard. While the analysis and commentary of the works focus primarily on humor, as a quick reference to Shakespeare, this Reduced guide is surprisingly handy. Recommended for anyone who wants to have a little fun with Will.
Justin
For people who like Shakespeare and want to have some reading learning interesting new tidbits, I would definitely recommend this book. From the dudes that brought you The Complete Works of Shakespeare [abridged] - it's fun to read, fast moving and full of cool little facts.
Jessica Nunn


Lots of fun--the Reduced Shakespeare Company are always good at reminding me that Shakespeare is a man for all people (whoever he may be). And good to have on hand if you ever forget the plot of Rape of Lucrece. (But what fool could forget that?!?)
Chelsea
Clever enough, but the pop culture references are going to become outdated soon enough.

I saw the play a few days after finishing this, and that's a much more enjoyable experience. Shakespeare nuts only need to buy this - but it's not a bad read.
Jenn
I don't even know where to start with this one! It's so hilarious. This book is insightful, informative, witty, inappropriate and amazing. You don't need to have read Shakespeare to enjoy this but if you have you're in for a treat!
Eric
Very funny for most of the book. Sometimes still manages to get a little wordy without any good jokes (like during the chapter on movies made from the plays), but plenty of their trademark wit and lots of laugh out loud jokes.
Tania
Really good reference if you want to know a little bit about all of Shakespeare's plays, or which movies are worth watching. Sometimes they try a little too hard to be funny, but all in all a good read.
Tracy Krauss
Hilarious! Truly. This one had me not only chuckling, but down and out belly laughing. Believe it or not it is also a great source of information on the Bard. This is one that can be read multiple times over.
Mark Woodland
Hysterical! The whole Shakespeare canon crunched down into a package so compact that its density rivals that of a neutron star. Fun reading even for people who know Shakespeare well.
Kelly
I ALWAYS recommend this book to people who are learning about Shakespeare. The stage show is brilliant but the book helps break it down just that much more. And so funny. Love it!
Allison
Dec 11, 2007 Allison rated it 5 of 5 stars
Recommends it for: english majors, and other nerds
Shelves: nonfiction
absofreakinglutely hilarious. The film reviews section gets a little dry, but all the conspiracy theories about who actually wrote the works of Shakespeare are gold. GOLD.
Whit
Hilarious, of course. I would expect nothing less from Austin and Reed. I was, however, surprised at how many small factual errors managed to make it into the book.
Jack
Almost as great as the Reduced Shakespeare stage production, should be required reading for all high-school students forced to wade through Shakespeare on the page.
SC
I registered a book at BookCrossing.com!
http://www.BookCrossing.com/journal/11386965
Tori
Jul 25, 2011 Tori added it
2008- Great if you need a quick brush up, just remember some of it's totally not true...much like most Shakespeare scholarship. :)
Gail
Not being an avid Shakespeare reader I really enjoyed the "attentio-impaired" readers guide. I liked the tongue-in-cheek humor too!
Mtejeda
Hilarious, scholarly, entertaining - just like Shakespeare. If you've ever seen their show, the book is a hoot.
Jill
I saw this while I was wandering the library - it was much better than I expected - very funny!
Corinne
It was very funny, at times, but a lot of it was stuff I already knew about Shakespeare.
Kristin
See my review of The Complete Works of William Shakespeare (Abridged).
Bev Hankins
Almost as good as seeing the Reduced Shakespeare Company live (which I have).
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Reed Martin co-created and performed in the original productions of The Bible: The Complete Word of God (abridged), The Complete History of America (abridged), Western Civilization: The Complete Musical (abridged), All The Great Books (abridged), and Completely Hollywood (abridged). He contributed additional material to The Complete Works of William Shakespeare (abridged).

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