Deep Fakes and the Infocalypse – What You Urgently Need To Know @NinaDSchick @Octopus_Books @RandomTTours #DeepFakes

Deep Fakes is quite some read, but I wanted to take it on in the blog tour that I was invited to by Anne Cater from Random Things Tours because it seems to me to be one of the most important books within this technological age to help innocent people from being caught up in the deep fakes that people do, as cons and also to create fake news and much more. It is a great book that seems to me to forewarn and forearm against this type of, lets face it, despicable activity. I also thank Octopus Books publishing company for giving me a physical book to review from.
Please find the synopsis and my full review below.

“In writing this book, it is my modest aim to help you understand how dangerous
and untrustworthy our information ecosystem has become, and how its harms
extend far beyond politics – even into our private and intimate life. It is my hope
that this understanding can help us come together to bolster our defences and
start fighting back. As a society, we need to be better at building resilience to the
Infocalypse. Understanding what is happening is the first step.”

In Deep Fakes and the Infocalypse, Nina Schick warns us urgently of the impending
information overload (known as the ‘Infocalypse’) and explains the dangerous political
consequences of this Infocalypse, both in terms of national security and what it means for
public trust in politics. Deep Fakes have been around for less than three years, to silence
and for revenge and fraud. Government, business and society are completely unprepared.
Schick also unveils what it means for us as individuals, how Deep Fakes will be used to
intimidate and to silence, for revenge and fraud, and how unprepared governments and
tech companies are.
The malicious use of Deep Fakes is not only a real threat for democracy but they take
the manipulation of voters to new levels. With the impending US election, and with vast
amounts of money being spent of social media, it is expected that Deep Fakes will become
a huge story later this year – – AI generated fake content is here for good, and we will have to
figure how to navigate a world where seeing is no longer believing.

Review

Technology is moving at a great rate and the probability of most people coming across deep fakes is high, as this book suggests that with every new bit of technology. It feels a deeply uncomfortable read, but one that is sadly necessary to be better informed and armed to spot deep fakes. It is a very important book for our times. One that I wish didn’t need to even be considered having to be written, but glad that it has been and it really hits hard the way that segments of society is so menacing that innocent people get hurt, as get reported on our news and consumer programmes at times and global issues get knocked askew.

It is very informative and even if you are unsure of what a deep fake is, Nina Schick has carefully taken time to explain in plain language what one is before really delving into the misuse of technology and how it has been used to skew politics and other normal things we partake in our lives on everyday platforms like You Tube and more. It also doesn’t miss out deep-fake porn either. It’s enough to make anyone with a conscience to think about the real and dangerous, harmful consequences of deep-fakes. As uncomfortable and real this is, the author has managed to not go down any scare-mongering route tactics.

She goes into what has been happening within Russia and the US in part and brings it right up to 2020 and what has been put out about Covid 19 from people who are supposed to be trusted and hold the most power, not just in their respective countries, but in the world to what is being put out about shootings in the States. The book shows across the world there are internal and global threats that there is a huge impact on everyone’s lives when social media is filled with fakes and misinformation and also goes further still in showing how much damage has been caused to people’s lives who have been victims of fraud.

After, responsibly alerting people to how dangerous the Infocalypse has become it ends on a slightly more positive note saying where to check your facts, such as BBC Fact Checker. Basically safe places where you can get up to the minute facts on what you’ve seen around the web, including social media, so that you can get the truth and figure out if what you’ve seen has been a fake or not and gives practical ways to up your defense in the onslaught of cyber-crime and fakes.

The book is there to help build some resilience and knowledge to protect yourself a bit more against the people who get their kicks out of conning innocent people. There are nuggets of how AI can be good as well, but it is more of a focus to educate people, so they can be better prepared for the parts where technology itself will not protect and it does it in a thought-provoking and considered manner.

#Bookreview by Lou of To Be A Gay Man By Will Young @willyoung @penguinrandom @EburyPublishing

To Be A Gay Man
By Will Young
Rated: 5 stars *****

Authentic, Brave, Emotional, Honest, Essential Reading.

Will Young broke into mass public consiousness on Pop Idol. Since then I have seen his blossoming career in, not just pop music, but on stage in many shows like Cabaret, Strictly Ballroom and more and in films like Mrs Henderson Presents. where he also shines and in some pretty brave and frank interviews. He’s taken this braveness to a whole new level and gone much further and delved much more into the his inner feelings on life. Whether you are within the LGBTQ community, which is of course the primary reach of this book to raise awareness of mental health, or not, this is inspiring, informative and there is something that anyone can grasp onto and take away with them.
He also has a new album out called – Lexicon.

Thank you to Penguin Random House and E-bury Publishing publicists for accepting my request to review.
Follow down for the synopsis, review and essential links to mental health charities, as noted within this book.

Synopsis

In To Be a Gay Man, Will Young speaks out about gay shame, revealing the impact it had on his own life, how he learned to deal with it, and how he can now truthfully say he is gay and happy.

We know Will as a multi-platinum recording artist, Olivier-nominee, and the first winner of the Idol franchise. But his story began long before his first audition. Looking back on a world where growing up being called gay was the ultimate insult and coming out after a lifetime of hiding his sexuality, Will explores the long-lasting impact repressing his true self has had.

As Will’s own story demonstrates, internalised shame in childhood increases the risk of developing low self-worth, and even self-disgust, leading to destructive behaviours in adult life.

Will revisits the darkest extremes he has been to, sharing his vulnerabilities, his regrets, tracing his own navigation through it all and showing the way for others who might have felt alone in the same experience.

Here you will find a friend, champion and mentor, breaking taboos with frank honesty, and offering invaluable practical advice on overcoming the difficult issues too often faced within the LGBTQ+ community.

How To Be A Gay Man

Review

The book opens, practically with a smile. Who can resist reading about a crisp autumnal morning, even if there is a rude awakening by Nellie, Will Young’s daschund who wakes him up and goes on to the podcast he and Chris Sweeney have founded, called the Homo-Sapien’s Podcast.

Will Young talks candidly about the online communities that go about Gay-Shaming. I’m heterosexual myself, but accept everyone and it’s absolutely emotional and shocking to the core. I am impressed that Will Young has got the courage to tell the world about what he found. In this book there’s definitely a certain amount of strength of character.

He then goes onto talk very personally about his family and relationship with his dad and the bullying within the education system and how he reckons LGBTQ is still not addressed properly. What is good, is he backs it up with facts, using The Trevor Project in the USA and Stonewall in the UK for examples and for research into his basis. It makes this a stronger book for it. It’s a real mix of facts, figures, his personal experiences and opinions.

He also addresses the layers of being gay, which may be evident if you have a friend who is in the LGBTQ community or are within it yourself. He also backtracks in time and talks about what it was like in the 1980’s, drawing upon Freddie Mercury and also the detrimental effect parts of religion has had. He also talks of the effects of AIDS in-relation to some of the “public notices” put out and the effects and then even further in time on the government’s “Section 28”, which is more in the present times.
He does touch on theatre and film, but more in-terms of role models, or rather lack of role models who are gay and what that would mean to him and also how the stereotyping when writing a role for a gay character and talks of some actors at a particular time.

You can practically feel the pain leaping off the page as he talks about his prep-school years. He’s also honest about the growing-up and the sexuality side of that time of life and the opening up to a friend.
There are also moments I’m pretty sure some people would bury, never to be repeated again, but this is enlightening and courageous as he talks about regrets and also the shame he has felt and what he has had to deal with.

He touches on Pop Idol and gaining confidence and although he talks a bit about sex, it isn’t in any crude way at all and has a point, but then do does absolutely everything that is written. Everyone can take something away from this book, learn something new or have something clarified or relate to it on all sorts of levels.

He also touches upon the sense of community he does feel and also a bit about volunteer charitable works he is involved in, which, again shows another slice of his life.

Don’t get this wrong. This isn’t a “poor me” type of book. I’ve seen those and this definitely is not one of them. This is very different to those. It’s inspiring and raising awareness and is thought-provoking in a non-pretentious way, which is impressive. He also doesn’t appear to shy away from anything, but tells it how it is for him and it feels honest.

Later, the book moves into his mental health and having a breakdown and PTSD and how it came about and how he seeked help and how he felt. It goes further than that and on closer inspection, there are more parts that are thought-provoking and perhaps some people will also be able to gain, not just knowledge about Will Young, but also certain things that could apply to their lives and that could just assist someone that little bit, but it isn’t a self-help book as such though. He delves into the conditions of drealisation and depersonalisation that he has and going into therapy.

He details what he found in another book, other elements that, it doesn’t matter who you are, what you do, your sexual orientation, that could be beneficial to people as he describes Perfectionism etc and how that is for him, but really you can transplant your own life, if you are a perfectionist etc. At the end, head to the Appendix. It is very responsibly and thoughtfully got CBT Techniques  and then in the second Appendix there is Help and Support contacts.

Will Young writes about how he wanted to connect with himself. The book, I think has enough within it that there will be people who could potentially find it so helpful not to feel alone. The fact that is an extensive list of charities too that specialise in LGBTQ is fabulous. No one should be alone and please, if you are having any issues with mental health or anything, please know that there is support out there. I have listed just a couple from the list Will Young has in his book. They are there for the LGBTQ community and this includes families too.

Links to Support and Mental Health Teams

LGBTQ Foundation
Provides as wide range of services to support lesbian, gay, bisexual and trans-people.
https://lgbt.foundation/          Tel: 03453 303030

Mermaids
Charity Supporting young trans people as well as their families.
https://www.mermaidsuk.org.uk    Tel: 0808 801 0400

Mind Out
LGBTQ+ mental health service
https://www.mindout.org.uk    Tel: 01273 234839

Write-up by Lou of Interview of How To Catch A Killer @DrCJMerritt @KatRamsland #BloodyScotland @Brownlee_Donald

How To Catch A Killer
With
Dr. Chris Merritt and Dr. Katherine Ramsland

Bloody Scotland Online Event

This was a rather fasinating and yet chilling interview between Dr. Chris Merritt and
Dr. Katherine Ramsland about forensics and the psychology of those who kill or to be more precise – psychopaths.

Dr. Chris Merritt started proceedings with an introduction:

Dr. Chris Merritt
Author of the Boateng and Jones series and the Lockhart and Green series; Dr. Chris Merritt is also Clinical Psychologist. He has produced a lot of research papers on mental health, which he has researched and also studies the impact technology has on our lives.

He has practiced clinical psychology in the UK National Health Service. Now, he consults on psychology for businesses and write.

Dr Katherine Ramsland

Dr Katherine Ramslet teaches forensics psychology and has appeared in 200 documentaries, consulted on The Alienist (now on Netflix). She has an article about her in Psychology Today. She has spent 25 years, specialising in serial killers.
She is a Professor at  DeSales University  specifically to teach forensic psychology, focusing on her field of expertise—extreme offenders.

She has worked on a book called How To Catch A Killer about Dennis Radar, one of the most notorious serial killers of all time.

A Notorious Killer

She has known Dennis Radar for 10 years and seemed fascinated by him and in writing about him, although 85% is his work, with some suggestions etc being made. She shown an interesting slide show, which can be seen when the recording is shown of the event.

Finally, caught in 2004, he didn’t come across as a totally stereotypical guy who would be a serial killer. He was a president of a church group and a public figure.
He, however started with a family of 4, so was a mass murderer before he became a serial killer, with more victims outwith the family.
His thing was binding, torturing and killing people. He killed 6 more people. You’ll get a bit more about it in Mindhunter.
What is described is chilling, but there certainly seems a clever way of catching him.  
Katherine talked about how he was manipulative and how she seemed to pay attention to what he said and how he said it. She said that they played chess and she was watching how he played. She talked about the layers of him; which was fascinating to hear about.

She talked of compartmentalising or cubing, which describes the behaviour and she learnt how to talk to him and she reckons it all allowed her to do an indepth study of him.

The Effect

Dr. Chris Merritt asked about the psychological effect that her work could have on her.

Dr Katherine Ramsland talked about how she approaches the case with a clinical perspective and says it hasn’t really effected her. She did however, talk a bit to some of her friends about a few of the more disturbing things. She said she had studied so much and reckoned her approach made the difference in coping.

How she came to start working on this

She was curious as a child, when in Michegan and became fascinated by the process. She worked with John Hunter and started to write for the Crime Library and wasn’t intending on becoming an expert on serial killers. She teaches forensics at universities. She talked about how there is so much diversity in serial killers in certain traits and backgrounds.
She is interested in many unique cases these days and less so, than those that hit the main news headlines.

The History of Serial Killing

Interestingly, she talked about how serial killers can be traced way back in history.
The earliest was 2nd BC in China and says it is of interest to psychologists in what leads them to study that. She also wrote about serial killers that go back to Ancient Rome.

She also talked of many different types of seriel killers and of all the different manifestations of murder.

Debunking Myths

Dr. Chris Merritt talked about there being myths around serial killers and one being single white men.

She says that women are also seriel killers and are mostly quiet around it with poisonings, but not always. She says that she is past the whole women are all nurturers and can’t possibly do this. She talked of some women being in teams as they go about their killing. They talked of some in England and the manipulation that presents itself in their behaviours.

They both talked about the psychology of team killers and used the Moors Murderers as a prime example and how she sees how much females in a male/female team can be involved.

Traits

All serial killers are not psychopaths, it would seem. It is fascinating to hear that there is so much work that is going into studying the traits really early on and kids who are maybe at risk of becoming a psychopath. Sometimes, however there isn’t a childhood history. She studies the case histories and looks into what arouses a person and their perspective on the world.

Most Like To Interview

Dr. Katherine Ramsland would most want to interview Jack the Ripper.

Dr. Chris Merritt’s and Dr. Katherine Ramsland’s books are available to buy.

Pics of their latest….

 

#BookReview by Louise of – A Year of Living Simply – My Journey From Complexity to Contentment By Kate Humble @katehumble @Octopus_Books @RandomTTours #AYearOfLivingSimply

A Year of Living Simply
My Journey From Complexity to Contentment
By Kate Humble
Rated: 5 stars *****

A joyous treat of a certain peace and serenity that is actually achievable for others too.
It isn’t a self-help book, it is a journey through a part of Kate Humble’s life, but there are plenty of ideas that can inspire readers of this book too. Together with warmth, enthusiasm and relatable anecdotes, it’s a wonderful book for our times.
Thank you to Anne Cater at Random Things Tours and Octopus Books for inviting me on the tour and for sending me a physical copy of the book.
Discover more about the author, the synopsis and my full review below.

About the Author

Kate Humble is a farmer, writer, activist, entrepreneur and one of the UK’s best-known TV
presenters. She started her television career as a researcher, later presenting
programmes such as ‘Animal Park’, ‘Springwatch & Autumnwatch’, ‘Lambing Live’, ‘Living
with Nomads’, ‘Extreme Wives’ and ‘Back to the Land’. Her last book, Thinking On My
Feet, was shortlisted for The Wainwright Prize and The Edward Stanford Travel Writing
Award.
Find out more about Kate on Twitter @katehumble and @farmerhumble, on
Instagram @kmhumble and at www.katehumble.com and www.humblebynature.com.

A Year of Living Cover

Synopsis

If there is one thing that most of us aspire to, it is, simply, to be happy. And yet attaining
happiness has become, it appears, anything but simple. Having stuff – The Latest, The
Newest, The Best Yet – is all too often peddled as the sure fire route to happiness. So why
then, in our consumer-driven society, is depression, stress and anxiety ever more
common, affecting every strata of society and every age, even, worryingly, the very
young? Why is it, when we have so much, that many of us still feel we are missing
something and the rush of pleasure when we buy something new turns so quickly into a
feeling of emptiness, or purposelessness, or guilt?
So what is the route to real, deep, long lasting happiness? Could it be that our lives have
just become overly crowded, that we’ve lost sight of the things – the simple things – that
give a sense of achievement, a feeling of joy or excitement? That make us happy. Do we
need to take a step back, reprioritise? Do we need to make our lives more simple? Kate
Humble’s fresh and frank exploration of a stripped-back approach to life is uplifting,
engaging and inspiring – and will help us all find balance and happiness every day.

Kate Humble book pic

Review

The minute the book is opened, there is some sort of serenity about it and an optimism. Kate Humble talks briefly about some hard times that she has faced, but it moves onto a positive calmness. It is a joy to read about her walking in the countryside. I, myself am surrounded by countryside and yet, still feel this and a quiet calmness whilst reading this book, in a way I’ve never known quite possible through a book.

It is interesting reading about her aspirations and her home. Everything is so down-to-earth and relatable. Basically she really is as far removed from a diva as you can possibly get, which is lovely.

Kate Humble talks about simple pleasures in life, which is quite grounding in a sense. She also talks of the clutter, which, I’m sure everyone accumulates over time and has to tackle it at some point.
There is also the stark contrast between 2 different types of lives – the busyness of a life that makes a name and money, but brings a cold office environment and how that can change to a lesser paid job, but with less strain.
Pleasures, she shows come in all different forms, such within people you meet, an unexpected letter or tantalising food.
There’s plenty about “earthships” and about shopping too and I must admit, I love her attitude to shopping in a physical shop. It’s also interesting reading about her gain knowledge on gardening.
She writes of kindnesses and community and having that social interactions with others, in all the different forms it takes, but especially the importance of physically seeing someone. This, and so many parts of the book is so heartwarming.

The book is not only inspirational and aspirational, it holds some key things that people, even in these uncertain times, can do now and maybe create an improvement in their own lives or to others. What’s great about this book, is it all seems so naturally written and so much may resonate with people or may give people some thought about their own lives and may inspire people to appreciate the simple things in life more than, what they perhaps currently do, since the book shows a great deal, in different forms, how to show appreciation and also how time can be given to really value things and people.
It also all feels an honest account, when reading the book, which holds a lot of positive, strong values throughout and also just how to ease life a little bit, instead of everything going from 0-100 and missing everything in-between. There seems a lot that society could take from this book and learn from.
It is simply, extraordinarily wonderful and a perfect book of its type!

Year of Living Simply BT Poster  (1).jpg

#Bookreview by Lou of #Travelogue of In SatNav We Trust – A Travelogue by Jack Barrow @JackBarrowUK @RandomTTours #InSatNavWeTrust

In SatNav We Trust –
A search for meaning through historic counties of England
By Jack Barrow
Rated: 4 stars ****

This is a wonderfully adventurous book. It’s enough to have people yearning for travel and maybe aspire to exploring the UK.

I thank Anne Cater at Random Things Tours and Jack Barrow for inviting me onto the tour and for sending me a physical copy of the book.

Find out more about the book, my review and the author below.

Synopsis

In SatNav We Trust – a search for meaning through the Historic Counties of England is a journey through ideas of science and belief, all the while searching for meaning and a bed for the night. Or was that the other way around?

On May 1st 2013 I set off from Oxford on the trip of a lifetime. It wasn’t a trip around the world or up the Himalayas, I set off to visit every one of England’s 39 historic counties. These are the counties that used to exist before all the boundary changes that chopped Yorkshire into bits, got rid of evocative sounding names such as Westmorland, and designated the big cities as metropolitan boroughs. I wanted to visit England as it used to be, although that’s not quite how it turned out.

In SatNav We Trust started out as a travelogue exploring all the usual suspects, spectacular landscapes, architectural or engineering wonders, historic towns with their cathedrals and castles. However, it soon developed into a journey through ideas and beliefs, an exploration of how the rational and the apparently irrational jostle for position in human experience. The book discusses our fundamental scientific understanding of the universe when, deep inside us, we might be as irrational as a box of frogs. This context, the exploration of England—the places stumbled across with no day to day plan, created the backdrop for these ideas.

In Sat Nav Cover

Review

Firstly, what a fabulously witty title. It catches the eye pretty well. It promises a journey through historic counties of England and certainly delivers as it begins in Oxfordshire and goes to Cambridgeshire, Bedfordshire, Suffolk, Cheshire, Yorkshire, Derbyshire, Nottinghamshire, and many more.

He tells things how it is when travelling and in each place in his 4×4, and has even included the everyday places and items. He is also very honest in how he feels and how he almost gave up early on in this mammoth trip. Campsites seems to be the order of the day for accomodation. This isn’t just about all the tourist things that you can do, it’s very different from a travel book like that. It is indeed a full travelogue of the actual journey and what can be seen en-route, that some people may miss when passing through, the roads that are taken and the people who he meets, as well as the accomodation.

There is some humour within the trip that weaves in and out the interesting philosophising of life of the mix of rational and irrational anxieties that occur within people’s lives, including his own as he does some reflection. He manages, which seems like no mean feat, to think creatively about how to fit in Maslow’s theory of heirarchy, whilst in Rutland with what he is actually doing and expecting, in a way that is far from heavy reading.

The attention to detail in each place is great and it certainly is a fun trip, that becomes something more than just that with the observations of not just the places, but of life. It’s how this all binds together that makes the book engaging.

If you’ve travelled around England before, you’re certain, as I was, thinking, “been there, done that” and then finding places that may just have to go on that travel to-do list. If you’ve not done staycations before, then this book may inspire you to travel around England to visit many of the counties and discover for yourself what they hold.

About the Author

In Sat Nav We Trust Jack Barrow Author Pic. jpgJack Barrow is a writer of books and blogs about ideas based on popular philosophy in modern life. He is a critical thinker but not a pedant. He has an interest in spiritual perspectives having been brought up as both a Mormon and a Jehovah’s Witness. He’s not sure, but he believes this particular  ecclesifringical upbringing makes him a member of a pretty exclusive club. He is also fascinated by science. At the same age as his parents were taking him to church services, he was also watching Horizon documentaries and Tomorrow’s World, becoming fascinated about science and technology. Perhaps around the time of the moon landings, when he was six or seven, he came to the conclusion that, sooner or later, people would realise that the sky was full of planets and stars, science explained the universe, and that there was no God looking down. He really thought that religion’s days were numbered. Declining congregations seemed to back that up, but since then there has been a growth in grass roots movements that seem to indicate people are looking for something to fill the void left by organised religion. He now has a particular interest in the way people are creating their own spiritual perspectives (whatever spiritual means) from the bottom up using ideas sourced from history, folkloric sources and imagination. Rather ironically it was members of the Jehovah’s Witnesses who first introduced him to the landscape of Wiltshire, with its stone circles and ancient monuments, which later kindled his interest in spiritual beliefs taken from more ancient perspectives.

He has also written a novel; The Hidden Masters and the Unspeakable Evil is a story of a group of magicians who discover a plot to build casinos in Blackpool and so turn the resort into a seedy, tacky, and depraved town. During this hard-drinking occult adventure, with gambling and frivolous trousers, Nigel, Wayne and Clint travel north on Friday night but they need to save the world by Sunday evening because they have to be back at work on Monday morning.

Jack lives in Hertfordshire, England, where he earns a living writing about things in engineering; this usually means photocopiers and bits of aeroplanes. He shares his home with R2D2 and C3PO, occasionally mentioned in his blog posts. People used to say he should get out more. At the time of writing he is currently shielding from the apocalypse, having been of a sickly disposition as a child, and wondering if he will be able to go to a live music pub ever again.

In Sat Nav We Trust BT Poster

 

#Bookreview by Lou – Shakespearean by Robert McCrum – Showing how Shakespeare is relevant for 2020 and beyond @CamillaElworthy @picadorbooks @panmacmillan

Shakespearean
by Robert McCrum
Rated: 5 stars *****

Shakespearean 4

Take a look at William Shakespeare as you’ve perhaps never seen him before. Robert McCrum has done a wonderful job in showing that Shakespeare is as relevant today in 2020 as he ever has been when he first picked up a quill and paper. If you’ve thought Shakespeare is too high-brow or just irrelevant, this is sure to make you think again as what we feel and see going on today, Shakespeare would understand, as shown through all the themes that are still universally acknowledged. This is a book that isn’t academic, it’s beautifully presented to be readable for everyone in a relaxed manner.

Thanks to Camilla Elworthy who invited me to review after seeing a tweet on my view of Shakespeare and how I too see him being relevant still for 2020 and beyond.

Follow through for the blurb and my full review.

Shakespearean 2

Blurb

Why do the collected works of an Elizabethan writer continue to speak to us as if they were written yesterday?

When Robert McCrum began his recovery from a life-changing stroke, described in My Year Off, he discovered that the only words that made sense to him were snatches of Shakespeare. Unable to travel or move as he used to, McCrum found the First Folio became his ‘book of life’, an endless source of inspiration through which he could embark on ‘journeys of the mind’, and see a reflection of our own disrupted times.

An acclaimed writer and journalist, McCrum has spent the last twenty-five years immersed in Shakespeare’s work, on stage and on the page. During this prolonged exploration, Shakespeare’s poetry and plays, so vivid and contemporary, have become his guide and consolation. In Shakespearean he asks: why is it that we always return to Shakespeare, particularly in times of acute crisis and dislocation? What is the key to his hold on our imagination? And why do the collected works of an Elizabethan writer continue to speak to us as if they were written yesterday?

Shakespearean is a rich, brilliant and superbly drawn portrait of an extraordinary artist, one of the greatest writers who ever lived. Through an enthralling narrative, ranging widely in time and space, McCrum seeks to understand Shakespeare within his historical context while also exploring the secrets of literary inspiration, and examining the nature of creativity itself. Witty and insightful, he makes a passionate and deeply personal case that Shakespeare’s words and ideas are not just enduring in their relevance – they are nothing less than the eternal key to our shared humanity.

Shakespearean 3

Review

Anyone with any interest or would like to start developing or has an interest in Shakespeare, this book is the perfect book for you. Even if you’ve thought that Shakespeare is a playwright that isn’t for today and wondering why we should bother with him, this book is perfect for you. This book could have the ability of removing any barriers a person has perceived to have about Shakespeare and to think of him in a whole new light as it captures him and ourselves as we live today in 2020. The book proves that if Shakespeare was an immortal human-being and not just, as he is now – immortal on the page, that he would have a great deal of understanding of what people are living through in 2020 and all the “chapters” and “themes” that run through our lives.

This book shows how relevant to the 21st century, Shakespeare was as he ever has been, ever since he put quill to paper. The themes are universal and the themes of life, love, politics, introspection, death have never changed throughout the centuries and the same goes for emotions. All still exists and appeals to today’s audiences. Robert McCrum expertly explores, through the modern world as well as his plays and sonnets, which are quoted throughout the book, why Shakespeare has become such an icon in Britain and across the world.

Shakespearean is erudite. It’s written in a gentle way, which is accessible to everyone in-terms of the language used. The author has shown exactly how the words from Shakespeare are as relevant today as they ever were by showing them within current situtations and how even the most famous of actors turn to Shakespeare when describing a very current occurance. That’s what makes this book exciting!

The book illustrates well, the timelessness of Shakespeare and tells of the great actors who have clamoured over getting the roles within films and theatres, especially The Globe Theatre. Then there’s also the highly successful TV comedy – Upstart Crow.
So many actors have been touched by Shakespeare’s work, right down to Fleabag’s creator – Pheobe Waller-bridge.

The way everything to do with Shakespeare is related to the modern world is done in a way that is most original. I’ve never seen anything written like this before. Robert McCrum’s passion shines through and this in turn, creates for a book that has a certain something special. It’s not done in a usual historian way. This is more like an informative conversation. It’s so relaxed in the way each chapter is presented. There’s nothing high-brow about the elegance of it all.

The mentioning of Shakespeare and Marlowe and what came after Marlowe’s death in Shakespeare’s work is fascinating!

The book is thought-provoking and the author also creates this in the middle of the book when he delves further into some of the plays, but again in this masterful accessible way, that will undoubtedly inspire some people to see a performance, when previously they thought it may not be for them as he explains Shakespeare’s language of the plays in a non-complex way.

It goes onto being insightful about how Americans view Shakespeare and about how their famous authors have studied his works, and shows the comparison in themes and the way they express them in their writing. It also shows how Shakespeare has influenced their musicals.

All in all, this is a book about Shakespeare I very highly recommend and do believe it could have you seeing his work in a whole different light.