Two book reviews: The Age of Shakespeare & Olivier1. You'd think a book called The Age of Shakespeare would be about, well, the times in which Shakespeare lived. But it's not; it's really about Shakespeare - a little bit about his chronology, some interesting bits about the businesses he ran, and some quite academic, very interesting stuff about his writing at various stages.
I guess it's a generalist book when I was expecting a more specialised angle. However, having said that if you don't mind the equivocal writing style of an academic, The Age of Shakespeare gives an illuminating glimpse into the period Shakespeare worked in, one where English theatre underwent a radical transformation.
2. Olivier is a big fat book, filled with perhaps "too much information" on many aspects of Laurence Olivier's life. I wanted to find out how he became a great actor, and what his views were on acting and theatre and movies. But instead the great mass of the book seems devoted to his many relationships. All very interesting, but I can't help feeling I would never seek this information out about anyone. It feels I am invading his privacy. Why do we (the "general public") feel we should know the intimate details of famous people's lives?