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The Shakespeare Requirement

(Jason Fitger #2)

3.66  ·  Rating details ·  2,162 ratings  ·  519 reviews
The slings and arrows of outrageous fortune keep hitting beleaguered English professor Jason Fitger right between the eyes in this hilarious and eagerly awaited sequel to the cult classic of anhedonic academe, the Thurber Prize-winning Dear Committee Members. Once more into the breach...

Now is the fall of his discontent, as Jason Fitger, newly appointed chair of the Englis
Kindle Edition, 320 pages
Published August 14th 2018 by Doubleday
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Leslie I actually gave up on Dear Committee Members because I don't like epistolary novels. I dove straight into this one and thought it was great.

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Average rating 3.66  · 
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Larry H
Mar 15, 2018 rated it liked it
Shelves: netgalley
Jason Fitger, the beleaguered English professor who was the protagonist of Julie Schumacher's very funny Dear Committee Members , takes us on a return trip to Payne University in Schumacher's new book, The Shakespeare Requirement . Fitger, pompous and irascible as ever, finds himself elected chair of the English department, and he has no idea of the chaos and aggravation that awaits him.

As if having to work on substandard equipment and in squalid conditions isn't bad enough, the Economics
Angela M

I was looking through my books read shelf for a funny book to recommend to a Goodreads friend and I realized that I haven’t read very many funny books. Having enjoyed Dear Committee Members by this author, I thought this sequel to Jason Fitger’s trials and tribulations as a college professor would provide me with a few laughs and it did . Fitger is now chair of the English departmental at Payne University and is faced with a number of challenges. The dilapidated offices of the English department
Apr 22, 2018 rated it liked it
I’m old enough to remember that the biggest parlor game of the 1970s and 1980s amongst US readers was to bicker over whether the latest Stephen King movie did justice to the book from which it was adapted. Everyone had read each subject book before viewing the corollary movie. You can imagine that no one ever liked the movie better. But, more than that, the conversation criticizing the applicable movie could go on for, literally, hours as each participant piled on with his or her heresy committe ...more
Jenny (Reading Envy)
Aug 01, 2018 rated it really liked it
Hilarious followup to Dear Committee Members. Should be required reading of all of us working in academia, for comic relief as we head into the fall semester (but read the first book first as they are consecutive).

The professor from the first novel has new responsibilities in this one, but is still trying to confront his failed relationship amidst these new challenges - these include losing access to the departmental conference room (as all rooms on campus are in the new campus scheduling syste
Betsy Robinson
A funny, light academic comedy, The Shakespeare Requirement is a sequel to Schumacher’s hilarious epistolary novel Dear Committee Members, and I must agree with several of my Goodreads friends that it pales in comparison. Dear Committee Members was inspired; The Shakespeare Requirement, although humorous, is not. Also it has so many details of comic academia in common with two other novels that I’ve read recently (primarily Straight Man by Richard Russo but also Blue Angel by Francine Prose)—eve ...more
Judith E
Jun 21, 2019 rated it really liked it
Shelves: fiction
This is the clever satirical sequel to Julie Schumacher’s Dear Committee Members. The trials and sufferings of Professor Fitger continue and his battle in the age old academic conflict of humanities vs technical education is brutal. The financially solvent Econ Dept has remodeled and taken over the floor above him. He has no heat, no computer, no budget, and an animal-rescuing secretary. The personalities and the unreasonable requirements of his university are the same in any large institution/g ...more
Ron Charles
Aug 08, 2018 rated it really liked it
School won’t start for another month, but Jason Fitger -- from "Dear Committee Members" -- is now back in a hilarious sequel called “The Shakespeare Requirement,” which gave me a chance to call up Julie Schumacher at her home in St. Paul, Minn., and fawn like a first-semester freshman. Originally, she had no plans to continue the story of Fitger’s travails at Payne University. “But ‘Dear Committee Members’ was such a slim little thing,” she says. “The form was so narrow that I didn’t get a chanc ...more
Sherwood Smith

This is a sequel to the author’s Dear Committee Members, a hilarious sendup of the pettifoggery of academia.

In this book, new department head Jason Fitger, pompous and irascible as ever, is as usual clueless about the chaos and aggravation that awaits him, to the annoyance of Fran, his efficient assistant.

Looming over all the small exasperations is the menace of the Economics Department and its chair, Roland Gladwell, who convinced the university and corporate sponsors that his department needed
(2.5; DNF @ 44%) This sequel to Dear Committee Members was only mildly amusing. Jason Fitger is now Payne’s chair of English, a shabby and underfunded department that always seems to get passed over while Economics receives special treatment. His hapless floundering – wasp stings, dental treatment, accidentally getting high on pills before a party – induced a few cringes but no real laughs. The supporting characters are well drawn, but overall I had zero qualms about setting this aside. ...more
Aug 24, 2018 rated it it was amazing
Shelves: fiction
Full disclosure: The author is my sister, so of course I’m going to give it 5 stars. But in any event, I would not give it less than 4. She writes *really* well, with great characters. And the ending is fantastic.
Veronica Zaleha
Oct 03, 2018 rated it it was amazing
At first I was disappointed that I wasn't reading Fitger's letters, as in Schumacher's epistolary style Dear Committee Members, but it was such a pleasure to revisit Jason Fitger in the hallowed halls of Payne University that I soon appreciated the story's continued narrative from a broader point of view.

The new cast of characters are vivid. Anyone who has majored in English will recognize their eccentricities, just as anyone who has visited graduate students' offices in the basement closets of
In this sequel to Dear Committee Members, the beleaguered Jay Fitger is now Chair of the even more beleaguered English Department of the struggling Payne University. Once again, Julie Schumacher is very good at conjuring up a cast of characters and a setting which will be very familiar to anyone who's spent any time in academia—too good, perhaps, since I tended more often to wince in sympathetic recognition than laugh while reading. Yet while Schumacher is deft at capturing the likeness of some ...more
Jim Harville
Sep 09, 2018 rated it it was amazing
Does what good satire is supposed to do: exposes the reality of actual problems with higher education today, and explodes them hilariously enough to make them bearable. Recognizable characters whose basic goodness brings about a hopeful conflict resolution. Maybe we're not all doomed, after all.
Aug 03, 2019 rated it really liked it
Shelves: literary-fiction
This was a poignant and enjoyable sequel to Schumacher's 2014 novel Dear Committee Members. I enjoyed it.

4 stars
Nov 01, 2018 rated it really liked it
3.5, rounded up.

I read this immediately following its prequel, Dear Committee Members, which was both fortuitous and unfortunate. Fortuitous, in that the two books really make a nice cohesive, seamless whole, the second book following in time immediately upon the ending of the first one. Unfortunate, in that, even though the humor and enjoy-ability of the first remains, what made DCM so brilliant was its being an epistolary novel, entirely composed of the protagonist's letters of recommendation
Mar 13, 2019 rated it liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: arc
3.5 rounded down.

In today's headlines: Huffman is accused of giving $15,000 “to participate in the college entrance exam cheating scheme on behalf of her oldest daughter,” per the indictment, and Loughlin is accused of paying $500,000 to have her daughters designated as recruits to the USC crew team even though neither of them row crew.

And then I read this--which I'm sure is more realistic about college English departments--where the average adjunct professor doesn't even earn $15000, lights do
Jan 29, 2019 rated it really liked it
Listened to this as an audiobook and the author's dry delivery and something about the beginning of the book made me almost stop listening. . . . Glad I didn't.

It was so much like the university where I work that I wondered if she was talking about my institution, with QWAP (or whatever the spelling is, since I listened to the book) a close approximation to our university budget initiatives that reward the "monetization" of work in colleges while cockroaches skitter underfoot and we are warned t
Apr 11, 2020 rated it liked it  ·  review of another edition
I read this book because I was in need of a little frivolity, and a send-up of the English Department and academia in general sounded like it would fill the bill. A hearty laugh and some escapism.

It turned out the book was mildly amusing. I kept listening, because I really did need to find out what the author was going to do with her goofy characters, but there was an undertone of bitterness that discomfited and even saddened me. It’s possible I should not have done the audio version; the narrat
Oct 01, 2019 rated it it was amazing
Shelves: fiction, comedy
I'm a sucker for a good satire of academia, and Schumacher is pretty good at it. These sorts of books almost constitute their own genre, with rules that verge on formulaic. You must have the rebellious cynical professor with a good heart, usually a creative writing professor, who used to throw bombs from the sidelines but ironically finds himself chair. The cartoonish theorist who disdains actual books. The strident feminist. The person insisting on politically correct speech at every turn. The ...more
Nov 03, 2018 rated it really liked it
This is a delightfully funny book. I think it is fair to consider it a satire disguised as a farce, rather than a farce disguised as a satire. Shakespeare would surely approve of characters such as the bumbling Professor Fitger, overmatched chair of the English Department, and his assistant Fran, the want-to-be animal behavior consultant, and Fitger's nemesis Roland Gladwell, the pompously ambitious chair of the Economics Department. And camouflaged by the buffoonery, the slapstick, the absurdit ...more
Dec 10, 2018 rated it it was ok
This was borderline too painful to read. Working in academia, I can honestly say every description of setting, thoughts, dialogue, were SPOT on. Many people don't know this, but the behind the scenes work at any University is a hierarchical shit show of epic proportions. Schumacher clearly articulates it. But I wonder how many people outside of this kind of setting would enjoy this book. I feel like it would be a rather boring read.

"Fran would have been happy to run the department herself - but
Mar 15, 2019 rated it it was amazing
Funny and moving at the same time, Schumacher does it again in this book by helping you love and hate fictional (but seemingly quite real) Jason T. Fitger, Chair of the English Department at Payne University. For sure check out her first book about him (Dear Committee Members) and then move on to this one which captures well the quirkiness of life in academia.

"...but all scholarly endeavor was eventually reduced to these confined symbols tucked into endless paper beds, then bound between tombst
Donald Hardy
Sep 06, 2018 rated it liked it
Schumacher's novel was for me laugh-out-loud funny in parts, very few parts. The best of the book for me were her frequent delightful phrasing and imagery. As for "satire," I was under the impression that satire involved exaggeration. The venality and pettiness were all too obvious and recognizable. These are the sad days when reality frequently outstrips the imagination in many areas--not least, education and politics.
Dec 22, 2019 rated it it was ok
This book was recommended on the Ezra Klein show; I can't remember which guest had it on their list of three (I thought it was Adam Gopnik, but I double checked this morning and it was not). Anyway, I did like the person who recommended it and thought it would be a good, light fiction read.

It was really not good. It is satire and I have to admit that extreme satire is not my cup of tea. I understand it on an intellectual level and know that I should find the exaggeration humorous, but instead I
May 05, 2019 rated it liked it
I felt very torn by this book. It was hilarious and also very truthfully satirized the world of academy that several of my close friends have been toiling in for many years. Honestly, based on some of things I’ve heard from them, I’m not even sure much of it was satire instead of just truths. A fast and enjoyable read.
Jun 08, 2019 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: 2019
A wonderful follow up to Dear Committee Members that follows the same cast into the next school year. It is more traditional novel than DCM but still manages to maintain the humor that is balanced with a sweetness of some of the new cast. Overall,it's a enjoyable poke at the absurdity of the profession in a changing Higher Ed environment.
Jan 05, 2020 rated it liked it
Shelves: america, audiobook
This was funny but not quite as funny as Dear Committee Members - though it’s also possible that I just didn’t find it as funny as an audiobook.
Jan 12, 2019 rated it really liked it
Academia is so bleak!! I miss the epistolary format of the previous book, but I still enjoyed this a lot - it reminded me strongly of Jane Smiley's Moo.
Dec 09, 2018 rated it really liked it
Written in novelistic rather than epistolary form, this follow-up to Dear Committee Members pulls back from the narcissism of Professor Fitger to reveal a world of other people with their own hopes, dreams, and disappointments. This may make the book less funny, but it also gives it an empathy and emotional stakes its predecessor (by design) lacked, and the ending makes this clear in an unexpected and lovely way.
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JULIE SCHUMACHER grew up in Wilmington, Delaware, and graduated from Oberlin College and Cornell University, where she earned her MFA. Her first novel, The Body Is Water, was published by Soho Press in 1995 and was an ALA Notable Book of the Year and a finalist for the PEN/Hemingway Award. Her 2014 novel, Dear Committee Members, won the Thurber Prize for American Humor; she is the first woman to h ...more

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Jason Fitger (2 books)
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