Iâ€™m not a true Shakespeare guy. I like a lot of individual bits and pieces within his plays, and I love how bawdy he gets at times.
He can be really funny, and he sometimes says beautiful things. But I havenâ€™t read all his stuff, and I have no interest in doing so. Itâ€™s an effort understanding what the hell heâ€™s talking about, though itâ€™s usually worth it.
But I do own a one-volume collection of his complete works, and I have turned to it more than I might have guessed. There are all sorts of modern adaptations of his stuff out there, and I always want to compare it to the original. And every once in a while, Iâ€™ll actually go see a production of something he wrote.
But that single volume is big and heavy. Iâ€™m never going to lie on a couch and read a whole play with that thing. Only when Iâ€™m ready to be scholarly do I pull it out, lay it on a flat surface, and look up specifically what I want. And thatâ€™s the wrong way to read Shakespeare. (Actually, I think that reading him is already wrong. Itâ€™s not really good unless itâ€™s performed.)
Anyway. amazon.com (link) is now selling a complete set of his plays and sonnets in 38 HARDBACK volumes, for ninety-five bucks and free shipping.
Thatâ€™s $2.50 a book, which is less than the paperback versions. This is an amazing deal. And itâ€™s not some crappy set that gives the text and nothing else. Practically everyone needs help with Shakespeare, and these Pelican versions give help. It doesnâ€™t make it easy, but it makes it worthwhile.
I actually noticed the books on sale on Amazon when they were $150, and I agonized about getting the set. But at this point, I really canâ€™t imagine them getting cheaper than this, so go snap it up.