You may not want to spend hours reading about Shakespeare, and why would you when there are so many plays to watch? But, if you are looking to get a little more comfortable in his world, these are some great places to start.
A Reader’s Guide to Shakespeare, by Joseph Rosenblum – A summer of the plays with commentary by a Professor and lover of Shakespeare
Contested Will Who Wrote Shakespeare by James Shapiro – Tell five people you are learning about Shakespeare, and at least two (depending on the type of people you associate with) that someone else wrote the plays. This books breaks down these arguments and shows why they started in the first place.
Shakespeare on Toast by Ben Crystal – I highly recommend this series if you want to jump right into Shakespeare’s work. This is a great introduction for college kids and adults looking to get up to speed quickly. The books are funny and educational.
If you want to learn more about the time and place that shaped Shakepeare’s world I highly recommend Nel MacGregor’s Shakespeare’s Restless World (it’s a great short podcast too!) and Hannah Crawforth, Sarah Dustagheer & Jennifer Young’s Shakespeare in London.
And of course, all of William Shakespeare’s plays & poems. The best approach to Shakespeare is just diving in and reading for yourself. Soon, you’ll understand what all of the fuss is about.