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The Shakespeare Requirement

(Jason Fitger #2)

3.66  ·  Rating details ·  1,175 ratings  ·  310 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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Nancy Miller I re-read Dear Committee Members prior to reading The Shakespeare Requirement and I am glad I did. There is a lot of "backstory" in the earlier novel…moreI re-read Dear Committee Members prior to reading The Shakespeare Requirement and I am glad I did. There is a lot of "backstory" in the earlier novel that provides context for the sequel. I recommend reading the two in sequence. (less)

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3.66  · 
Rating details
 ·  1,175 ratings  ·  310 reviews

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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 Depa
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
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
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
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
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
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.
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.
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
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
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
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
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.
Nov 03, 2018 rated it really liked it
Shelves: fiction
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
Mar 06, 2019 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
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.
Sep 18, 2018 rated it really liked it
Shelves: fiction
I laughed out loud several times on the subway while reading this.
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.
Jan 23, 2019 rated it liked it
I did not realize that this was a follow on to an earlier novel with the same characters, so I now I need to go back to the first book. I may revisit this review and my rating after doing so.

This is a story about Professor Fitger’s year as Department Head of English at Payne University. It is a fun characterization of life in academia that is more than sufficiently on target to make most members of the professoriate squirm a bit. While lots of people graduate from or spend considerable time in c
Sep 08, 2018 rated it really liked it
Shelves: fiction
This book picks up where Dear Committee Members leaves off. Fitger is struggling as department chair - a department with no budget because they have not turned in their SOV (statement of vision). Fitger cannot turn it in because the English faculty cannot agree...on anything. An additional problem is that the SOV as written - does not insure that a English majors would be required to take a course on Shakespeare. Professor Cassovan (the Shakespeare scholar) refuses to vote for the SOV unless a S ...more
Aug 14, 2018 rated it it was amazing
"The Shakespeare Requirement," by Julie Schumacher, is an engaging and comical follow-up to "Dear Committee Members." The hapless Jason T. Fitger is chair of the English Department at "midsized, middlebrow" Payne University. Fitger's woes are legion: His office is in disarray. The Machiavellian Roland Gladwell, head of the Economics Department at Payne, is determined to squeeze the English faculty out of its space in Willard Hall. Jason's office has no air conditioning, and his telephone and com ...more
Carol Douglas
Sep 19, 2018 rated it really liked it
This is an enjoyable satire about academia's emphasis on programs that bring in money rather than on excellent teaching and scholarship. In this book, a struggling English Department is pitted against a well-heeled Economics Department whose chair is a heel indeed.

The English Department's hapless chair, Prof. Fitger, has a ramshackle office and no budget. He is required to develop a statement of vision for his department, but he isn't allowed to write that the department's goal is to teach stud
Dec 12, 2018 rated it really liked it
The Shakespeare Requirement by Julie Schumacher follows the trials and tribulations of Jason T. Fitger, Professor of Creative Writing and English at the aptly named Payne University. He was first introduced in Schumacher's Dear Committee Members, a clever and funny send-up of the bureaucracy and politics at a university.

Fitger is now the chair of the failing English Department, a position for which he is eminently unqualified. He is hopeless at organization and interpersonal skills. He is an utt
Dec 25, 2018 rated it liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: 2018-reads
Following up on 2014's brilliant epistolary novel, Dear Committee Members, The Shakespeare Requirement returns us to the fictional campus of Payne University, where the days are marked out in e-calendar invites, the liberal arts are slowly being consumed by more commercially-viable departments, and committee meetings are the tenth circle that Dante forgot to mention.

Professor Jason Fitger, who drafted all those delightfully biting recommendation letters from Schumacher's last novel, now finds hi
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
I wanted to love this story – it had everything that I thought would make THE story for me – smart characters, academic political wrangling, a marriage in trouble, and the foundations of the protagonist’s thought as an English professor being discounted in the curriculum. And, while I found several moments of laugh out loud (in shock) descriptions of machinations for personal and departmental supremacy that made the current white house seem like a kinder garden sand box, the pieces all didn’t qu ...more
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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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