Friday, October 26, 2012

Shakespeare On Toast: Review

Guys! I am actually *ALMOST* on track! I just need to push it the next few days. I have six books left on my list and only 5 days till the end of the month.

Title: Shakespeare On Toast
Author: Ben Crystal
ISBN: 1848310161 
Publishing House: Icon Books
Book Source: NetGalley
Buy Now: Amazon - Barnes & Noble

Goodreads Synopsis:

Who's afraid of William Shakespeare? Just about everyone. He wrote too much and what he did write is inaccessible and elitist. Right? Wrong. "Shakespeare on Toast" knocks the stuffing from the staid old myth of Shakespeare, revealing the man and his plays for what they really are: modern, thrilling and uplifting drama. Actor and author Ben Crystal brings the bright words and colourful characters of the world's greatest hack writer brilliantly to life, handing over the key to Shakespeare's plays, unlocking the so-called difficult bits and, astonishingly, finding Shakespeare's own voice amid the poetry.Told in five fascinating Acts, "Shakespeare on Toast" sweeps the cobwebs from the Bard - from his language, his life, his time - revealing both the man and his work to be relevant, accessible and full of beans. This is a book for everyone, whether you're reading Shakespeare for the first time, occasionally find him troublesome, think you know him backwards, or have never set foot near one of his plays but have always wanted to ...It's quick, easy and good for you. Just like beans on toast.


This book drew me because of its title. It was very clever and fun, so I found myself requesting and reading it straightaway. Not to mention the cover was great, and the topic in question sounded very intriguing.

In school I had to study three works for Shakespeare - Hamlet, Macbeth and Julius Caesar. I was too young to appreciate either Macbeth or Hamlet, but was old enough to understand good literature by the time it came to Julius Caesar. I had to study a lot on Shakespeare's background,  The Globe Theatre, and random snippets on the time in history his writing had gotten famous. It was rather dull at times and easily forgettable at others - as I can safely say I don't remember much on it. However, reading this book has helped heaps.

As the author says in the start of the book:

"First and foremost: This book is not a number of things.
This book is not a particularly 'actorly' book full of stories of acting Shakespeare. There are plenty of other books out there full of fabulous anecdotes about acting Shakespeare.
Nor is this really a scholarly book, full of incredibly complicated analyses of structures and themes that may (or may not) be in Shakespeare's plays. There are plenty of academic books already out there too."

The author took a very new approach to Shakespeare that I found very interesting. His writing and style, as well as the material and intent, was to humanize Shakespeare as much as he could to us. He wanted to make us get inside his head and understand more on Shakespeare's writings, their original purposes. He wanted us to understand the period of time Shakespeare had come in, which would, in its turn explain numerous things about his choices for particular.

Ben used humor and simple ways to engage the reader, a way to help us get into the mind of Shakespeare and enjoy his work. He also simplified many things we would find intimidating and attempted to make us all understand how Shakespeare's work was indeed for the masses, not just snobs, and obnoxious people that go to see his plays nowadays. I liked the witty and fun style of writing and found this book quite helpful!

Rating: 4/5


  1. Thanks for the welcome on Book Blogs. I'll have a look round here when I get a moment.

    Andrew MacLaren-Scott (aka Don QuiScottie)

  2. Thank you for the welcome on Book Blogs! :) My blog is

    GREAT Review by the way. Haven't heard of this book before, but now I'd love to read it. :)

    From the Kozy Korner,