Bought this cos it was cheap and on sale in the airport, and I needed something to read. I've not read much Bill Bryson - only his European travel adventures in Neither Here Nor There. I know he's pretty funny. This particular book kinda - isn't. Its got some good, subtle giggles in there. But nothing laugh-out-loud-and-then-read-aloud-to-your-friend-or-person-sitting-next-to-you-on-the-underground-so-they-can-laugh-too.
Its interesting - I guess - if you're interested in Shakespeare (I am). What is refreshing about the book is that Bryson makes no qualms about admitting just how much we really don't know about Shakespeare. Arguably, the details of Shakespeare's life are not important (I'm a big believer in anti-author-ism myself), but they are still pretty intriguing - and deep down we all love a good gossip. What Bryson does really well is expose the vast amount of absolute bollocks that scholars have passed off for "fact" over the last 400ish years. Its shocking how many esteemed Shakespeare scholars and fellow writers have done such stupid things as - decide Shakespeare didn't write this particular play because it isn't very good. Or, decided that Shakespeare must have done this, because it would be nice if he had.
Overall this is a really easy read, which - if you don't know much about Shakespeare - and even if you do think you know something (I learnt quite a bit myself) - you will enjoy. This book will helpfully make you less ignorant overall. Not a bad deal really. You never know when those random facts may come in useful one day.