Don’t buy this book to teach your children; take them along as you commit these beautiful speeches to memory.



Don’t be fooled by the title. This book is for anyone who wants to brush up on Shakespeare.

Playwright Ludwig, who has written numerous hit plays for Broadway and London’s West End, explains his simple, proven method for teaching the works of the Bard of Avon—and we know it works, since he has used his children as guinea pigs, starting when they were 6. Now that they’re off to college, flipping quotes back and forth, it’s obvious that the simple repetition of short sections of speeches is most effective. The author includes a wide variety of speeches from such classic Shakespeare characters as Puck, Orsino, Macbeth, Falstaff, Rosalind and Hamlet. Learning to quote Shakespeare is one thing, but Ludwig opens up the secrets of the plays, the characters and the genius of the man. The best person to learn from is one who is passionate about his subject, and Ludwig certainly fits that bill. There is subtlety here: “no one in history, before or since, has written better than this.” There is sufficient sprinkling of like praise and professional envy throughout the book. Shakespeare’s creativity serves to cause creativity in those who read him. The difficulties we often encounter in his works are the unfamiliar words (though an English schoolchild would know more than an American), the oddly curious sentence structure and the broad use of metaphors. Shakespeare’s dramatic methods, such as repetition of sounds, inversion of thoughts, curious rhyming and breaking right into the action are just a few of those that make him great. Some readers may liken it to a foreign language, but once the key phrases are explained, they will appreciate the magic and begin to fall in love with Shakespeare.

Don’t buy this book to teach your children; take them along as you commit these beautiful speeches to memory.

Pub Date: June 11, 2013

ISBN: 978-0-307-95149-6

Page Count: 352

Publisher: Crown

Review Posted Online: May 4, 2013

Kirkus Reviews Issue: May 15, 2013

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Carefully researched and chilling, if somewhat overwritten.


Comprehensive, myth-busting examination of the Colorado high-school massacre.

“We remember Columbine as a pair of outcast Goths from the Trench Coat Mafia snapping and tearing through their high school hunting down jocks to settle a long-running feud. Almost none of that happened,” writes Cullen, a Denver-based journalist who has spent the past ten years investigating the 1999 attack. In fact, Eric Harris and Dylan Klebold conceived of their act not as a targeted school shooting but as an elaborate three-part act of terrorism. First, propane bombs planted in the cafeteria would erupt during lunchtime, indiscriminately slaughtering hundreds of students. The killers, positioned outside the school’s main entrance, would then mow down fleeing survivors. Finally, after the media and rescue workers had arrived, timed bombs in the killers’ cars would explode, wiping out hundreds more. It was only when the bombs in the cafeteria failed to detonate that the killers entered the high school with sawed-off shotguns blazing. Drawing on a wealth of journals, videotapes, police reports and personal interviews, Cullen sketches multifaceted portraits of the killers and the surviving community. He portrays Harris as a calculating, egocentric psychopath, someone who labeled his journal “The Book of God” and harbored fantasies of exterminating the entire human race. In contrast, Klebold was a suicidal depressive, prone to fits of rage and extreme self-loathing. Together they forged a combustible and unequal alliance, with Harris channeling Klebold’s frustration and anger into his sadistic plans. The unnerving narrative is too often undermined by the author’s distracting tendency to weave the killers’ expressions into his sentences—for example, “The boys were shooting off their pipe bombs by then, and, man, were those things badass.” Cullen is better at depicting the attack’s aftermath. Poignant sections devoted to the survivors probe the myriad ways that individuals cope with grief and struggle to interpret and make sense of tragedy.

Carefully researched and chilling, if somewhat overwritten.

Pub Date: April 6, 2009

ISBN: 978-0-446-54693-5

Page Count: 406

Publisher: Twelve

Review Posted Online: May 20, 2010

Kirkus Reviews Issue: Feb. 15, 2009

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The sub-title of this book is "Reflections on Education with Special Reference to the Teaching of English in the Upper Forms of Schools." But one finds in it little about education, and less about the teaching of English. Nor is this volume a defense of the Christian faith similar to other books from the pen of C. S. Lewis. The three lectures comprising the book are rather rambling talks about life and literature and philosophy. Those who have come to expect from Lewis penetrating satire and a subtle sense of humor, used to buttress a real Christian faith, will be disappointed.

Pub Date: April 8, 1947

ISBN: 1609421477

Page Count: -

Publisher: Macmillan

Review Posted Online: Oct. 17, 2011

Kirkus Reviews Issue: April 1, 1947

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