The Shakespeare Requirement
The slings and arrows of outrageous fortune keep hitting beleaguered English professor Jason Fitger right between the eyes in this hilarious and eagerly awaited sequel to the cult classic of anhedonic academe, the Thurber Prize-winning Dear Committee Members. Once more into the breach...Now is the fall of his discontent, as Jason Fitger, newly appointed chair of the English Department of Payne University, takes arms against a sea of troubles, personal and institutional. His ex-wife is sleeping with the dean who must approve whatever modest initiatives he undertakes. The fearsome department secretary Fran clearly runs the show (when not taking in rescue parrots and dogs) and holds plenty of secrets she's not sharing. The lavishly funded Econ Department keeps siphoning off English's meager resources and has taken aim at its remaining office space. And Fitger's attempt to get a mossbacked and antediluvian Shakespeare scholar to retire backfires spectacularly when the press concludes that the Bard is being kicked to the curricular curb. Lord, what fools these mortals be! Julie Schumacher proves the point and makes the most of it in this delicious romp of satire.

The Shakespeare Requirement Details

TitleThe Shakespeare Requirement
Author
LanguageEnglish
ReleaseAug 14th, 2018
PublisherDoubleday
Rating
GenreFiction, Humor, Novels

The Shakespeare Requirement Review

  • Larry H
    January 1, 1970
    Jason Fitger, the beleaguered English professor who was the protagonist of Julie Schumacher's very funny Dear Committee Members , takes us on a return trip to Payne University in Schumacher's new book, The Shakespeare Requirement . Fitger, pompous and irascible as ever, finds himself elected chair of the English department, and he has no idea of the chaos and aggravation that awaits him.As if having to work on substandard equipment and in squalid conditions isn't bad enough, the Economics Depa Jason Fitger, the beleaguered English professor who was the protagonist of Julie Schumacher's very funny Dear Committee Members , takes us on a return trip to Payne University in Schumacher's new book, The Shakespeare Requirement . Fitger, pompous and irascible as ever, finds himself elected chair of the English department, and he has no idea of the chaos and aggravation that awaits him.As if having to work on substandard equipment and in squalid conditions isn't bad enough, the Economics Department and its chair, Roland Gladwell, who convinced the university and corporate sponsors that his department needed state-of-the-art classrooms and technology, now has his eye on the English Department's remaining space. Fitger has to guard himself against angry wasps, faulty air conditioning, and a computer that might work—if he could ever get the University's IT department to schedule an appointment. (And don't try to set up a meeting with him on P-Cal, the university-wide calendar system, as he refuses to use it.)But these problems are just the tip of the iceberg. He has to deal with a department in shambles, get his colleagues to adopt a new-agey Statement of Vision for the department (just ridiculous), and his attempts to get a 90-year-old Shakespearean scholar to retire backfire when the man convinces the press that Shakespeare isn't important to the English Department any longer. Plus, any requests he has have to be approved by the dean, who happens to be his ex-wife's lover. It's enough to make any man crumble. The Shakespeare Requirement follows Fitger as he navigates university and department politics, tries to figure out exactly what his relationship is with his ex-wife, and wonders what secrets his assistant, Fran, is hiding. The book shifts narration among a number of characters—Fitger, his ex-wife Janet; Philip, Fitger's boss and Janet's lover; Fran; Roland Gladwell; Professor Cassovan, the Shakespeare expert; and Angela, a sheltered student away from home for the first time.What I enjoyed so much about Dear Committee Members (see my review) is that it was an epistolary novel—the whole story was told through letters Fitger wrote to various people within and outside the university. His voice was tremendously memorable and at times hysterically funny, plus it reminded me of a committee chairman I was working with at the time.However, this book is told in the traditional narrative style, which didn't quite work for me. While most of the characters used the same pompous, high-brow language that Fitger did in the earlier book, the story didn't flow as well in this manner. I thought there were too many characters to follow, and after a while there were so many machinations to keep straight, so much politics to navigate, I didn't enjoy it as much as I had hoped.Stories of systemic dysfunction and office politics are often humorous, and some may find this funnier than I did. There's no doubt that Schumacher is a talented storyteller, and these characters are fascinating. I'd love her to write another epistolary novel someday—it's a terrific change of pace!NetGalley and Doubleday Books provided me an advance copy of the book in exchange for an unbiased review. Thanks for making this available! See all of my reviews at itseithersadnessoreuphoria.blogspot.com, or check out my list of the best books I read in 2017 at https://itseithersadnessoreuphoria.blogspot.com/2018/01/the-best-books-i-read-in-2017.html.
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  • Angela M
    January 1, 1970
    I was looking through my books read shelf for a funny book to recommend to a Goodreads friend and I realized that I haven’t read very many funny books. Having enjoyed Dear Committee Members by this author, I thought this sequel to Jason Fitger’s trials and tribulations as a college professor would provide me with a few laughs and it did . Fitger is now chair of the English departmental at Payne University and is faced with a number of challenges. The dilapidated offices of the English department I was looking through my books read shelf for a funny book to recommend to a Goodreads friend and I realized that I haven’t read very many funny books. Having enjoyed Dear Committee Members by this author, I thought this sequel to Jason Fitger’s trials and tribulations as a college professor would provide me with a few laughs and it did . Fitger is now chair of the English departmental at Payne University and is faced with a number of challenges. The dilapidated offices of the English department are in dire need of renovation. There is no department budget until he gets the faculty to agree on a Statement of Vision which all of the other departments submitted last year. To make matters worse, Raymond Gladwell, head of the Economics department residing in the newly renovated, state of the art space on second floor of Willard Hall, has plans to take over the English department space on the first floor and basement. To add insult to injury his ex wife is sleeping with the Dean whose approval is needed to make necessary changes in the department. Oh and there are wasps in his office . Dennis Cassovan , professor of Shakespeare on the verge of retirement, wants Shakespeare to be required reading as part of the vision statement, while another faculty member was concerned about “eliminating the dashes in paragraph three.” And so it turns into a “Shakespeare problem.” I admit this was funny, but I also have to admit that I just didn’t enjoy this as much as Dear Committee Members which reflected the absurdity of it all through Fitger’s hilarious, snarky letters which so eloquently depicted his frustrations. This just didn’t work as well for me in the straight narrative format. Then there was a veering off about a student’s personal problems. However, it was entertaining, full of quirky characters, and I still think there is an audience for this, most likely in academia, who could perhaps relate to this no matter what the narrative format. I received an advanced copy of this book from Doubleday through Edelweiss and NetGalley.
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  • Carol
    January 1, 1970
    I’m old enough to remember that the biggest parlor game of the 1970s and 1980s amongst US readers was to bicker over whether the latest Stephen King movie did justice to the book from which it was adapted. Everyone had read each subject book before viewing the corollary movie. You can imagine that no one ever liked the movie better. But, more than that, the conversation criticizing the applicable movie could go on for, literally, hours as each participant piled on with his or her heresy committe I’m old enough to remember that the biggest parlor game of the 1970s and 1980s amongst US readers was to bicker over whether the latest Stephen King movie did justice to the book from which it was adapted. Everyone had read each subject book before viewing the corollary movie. You can imagine that no one ever liked the movie better. But, more than that, the conversation criticizing the applicable movie could go on for, literally, hours as each participant piled on with his or her heresy committed by the applicable director. If we’d had whiteboards, they would have needed to be very large and everyone would have needed to write in quite tiny lettering. It got rather tiresome by his 8th or 9th bestseller. Trust me. In a similar vein, there are a subset of readers who adored Dear Committee Members, Julie Schumacher’s 2014 epistolary novel, a wonderful, fresh send-up of the English Department at Payne University, who will be so disappointed that The Shakespeare Requirement is told in standard narrative form that they will be unable to get past that difference to approach The Shakespeare Requirement on its own terms. As a result, they are likely to nitpick and compare the novels to death, to the detriment of The Shakespeare Requirement. Let’s get this out of the way: The Shakespeare Requirement is no Dear Committee Members. But it shouldn’t have to be. Nor should Schumacher be expected to have written her sequel in epistolary form so that we can all essentially read the same book with a different title and adding few new characters. In fact, the reader most likely to enjoy The Shakespeare Requirement is someone who comes to it without having read Dear Committee Members, enjoys smart humor (several notches up from The Rosie Project but with a similar breeziness to it) and, in particular, is amused by either academia or bureaucracy or is or was an English major. Mea culpa. There’s also nothing in The Shakespeare Requirement that requires a reader to have any certain background knowledge derived from reading the earlier book. One thing Schumacher does exceptionally well is lull the reader along into thinking her novel is one mere quip after another and then, she tackles a serious topic in an authentic and satisfying way. She also excels at endings, which is no small feat. In between, the plot isn’t quite substantial enough to support 320 pages, and it dragged a bit in the middle, but the characters are tremendous fun, and not mere stereotypes. Well ... except for Roland Gladwell, the insufferable Economics Department chair, and that’s no surprise to any English majors. I’ve heard. From friends. Thanks to NetGalley and Doubleday books for supplying a review copy.
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  • Sherwood Smith
    January 1, 1970
    This is a sequel to the author’s Dear Committee Members, a hilarious sendup of the pettifoggery of academia.In this book, new department head Jason Fitger, pompous and irascible as ever, is as usual clueless about the chaos and aggravation that awaits him, to the annoyance of Fran, his efficient assistant.Looming over all the small exasperations is the menace of the Economics Department and its chair, Roland Gladwell, who convinced the university and corporate sponsors that his department needed This is a sequel to the author’s Dear Committee Members, a hilarious sendup of the pettifoggery of academia.In this book, new department head Jason Fitger, pompous and irascible as ever, is as usual clueless about the chaos and aggravation that awaits him, to the annoyance of Fran, his efficient assistant.Looming over all the small exasperations is the menace of the Economics Department and its chair, Roland Gladwell, who convinced the university and corporate sponsors that his department needed state-of-the-art classrooms and technology. But like all kings, he still has realms to conquer . . . meaning he now covets the English Department's remaining space. Then there is the hell of Mission Statements. Anyone who has had to deal with this most gaseous of useless red tape snarls will shudder, or cackle, at the prospect of the mayhem ahead. Fitger’s attempt to get a 90-year-old Shakespearean scholar to retire backfires when the man convinces the press that Shakespeare isn't important to the English Department any longer. And then, there’s his ex-wife to be dealt with, now the significant other of the dean . . .I suspect the readers who will enjoy this book the most will be those who haven’t read Dear Committee Members. This book is full of quips, and sly as well as not so sly skewerings of faculty politics. The reader does not have to have read the previous book to catch up on the various personalities, as there is plenty of introduction through free indirect discourse narrative terpsichore. But the constant barrage of cleverness began to blur, at least for me, making the middle drag. I knew where a couple of storylines would go from their introduction, such as Angela’s. Standard characters and development weigh down this type of social satire, and I found myself wishing that the author had stayed with the delightful format of the previous book.Still, a fun read—Schumacher does have a way with words!Copy provided by NetGalley
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  • Ron Charles
    January 1, 1970
    School won’t start for another month, but Jason Fitger -- from "Dear Committee Members" -- is now back in a hilarious sequel called “The Shakespeare Requirement,” which gave me a chance to call up Julie Schumacher at her home in St. Paul, Minn., and fawn like a first-semester freshman. Originally, she had no plans to continue the story of Fitger’s travails at Payne University. “But ‘Dear Committee Members’ was such a slim little thing,” she says. “The form was so narrow that I didn’t get a chanc School won’t start for another month, but Jason Fitger -- from "Dear Committee Members" -- is now back in a hilarious sequel called “The Shakespeare Requirement,” which gave me a chance to call up Julie Schumacher at her home in St. Paul, Minn., and fawn like a first-semester freshman. Originally, she had no plans to continue the story of Fitger’s travails at Payne University. “But ‘Dear Committee Members’ was such a slim little thing,” she says. “The form was so narrow that I didn’t get a chance to go play with Fitger the way I wanted to. So after about a year, I found myself thinking, ‘What would it be like for him to chair the department?’ ”“The Shakespeare Requirement” provides the hilarious answer to that question.The epistolary structure of her previous novel is gone — this is a straight narrative delivered with acrid wit — but Fitger is still here at its center, just as irritated and . . . . To read the rest of this review, go to The Washington Post:https://www.washingtonpost.com/entert...
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  • Jenny (Reading Envy)
    January 1, 1970
    Hilarious followup to Dear Committee Members. Should be required reading of all of us working in academia, for comic relief as we head into the fall semester (but read the first book first as they are consecutive). The professor from the first novel has new responsibilities in this one, but is still trying to confront his failed relationship amidst these new challenges - these include losing access to the departmental conference room (as all rooms on campus are in the new campus scheduling syste Hilarious followup to Dear Committee Members. Should be required reading of all of us working in academia, for comic relief as we head into the fall semester (but read the first book first as they are consecutive). The professor from the first novel has new responsibilities in this one, but is still trying to confront his failed relationship amidst these new challenges - these include losing access to the departmental conference room (as all rooms on campus are in the new campus scheduling system, omg is this about where I work?!), the encroaching imperialism of the Economics Department upstairs (who got renovated the previous year, with fancy carpet, espresso, and donor plaques), and worse, the writing on the wall seems to be the ultimate demise of his entire department. I think anyone in academia will find a lot of familiar groans in this book. I was giggling in the corner the entire time.Thanks to the publisher for providing an eARC through through Edelweiss. It comes out August 14.
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  • Rebecca Foster
    January 1, 1970
    (2.5; DNF @ 44%) This sequel to Dear Committee Members was only mildly amusing. Jason Fitger is now Payne’s chair of English, a shabby and underfunded department that always seems to get passed over while Economics receives special treatment. His hapless floundering – wasp stings, dental treatment, accidentally getting high on pills before a party – induced a few cringes but no real laughs. The supporting characters are well drawn, but overall I had zero qualms about setting this aside.
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  • BOOKLOVER10
    January 1, 1970
    "The Shakespeare Requirement," by Julie Schumacher, is an engaging and comical follow-up to "Dear Committee Members." The hapless Jason T. Fitger is chair of the English Department at "midsized, middlebrow" Payne University. Fitger's woes are legion: His office is in disarray. The Machiavellian Roland Gladwell, head of the Economics Department at Payne, is determined to squeeze the English faculty out of its space in Willard Hall. Jason's office has no air conditioning, and his telephone and com "The Shakespeare Requirement," by Julie Schumacher, is an engaging and comical follow-up to "Dear Committee Members." The hapless Jason T. Fitger is chair of the English Department at "midsized, middlebrow" Payne University. Fitger's woes are legion: His office is in disarray. The Machiavellian Roland Gladwell, head of the Economics Department at Payne, is determined to squeeze the English faculty out of its space in Willard Hall. Jason's office has no air conditioning, and his telephone and computer do not work. Jason's irritable assistant, Fran, who is passionate about fostering sick animals, has little patience for Jason's whining. Although Fitger still has feelings for his ex-wife, Janet Matthias, she has moved on and is dating someone else.Adding to Jason's headaches, the powers-that-be are considering shrinking his department. They claim that, in the twenty-first century, the liberal arts are not as relevant as business, finance, computer programming, and the sciences. In fact, thanks to a hefty infusion of cash from wealthy donors, the second floor of Willard Hall, where Gladwell rules his fiefdom, has been fully renovated and "includes state-of-the-art technology-enhanced classrooms, a fully equipped computer lab, elegant seminar and meeting rooms, faculty offices, and a café."Schumacher's comedy of errors has sharp descriptive writing and a large cast of eccentric characters. A fossilized professor who has been at Payne for forty-two years, Dennis Cassovan, is horrified when someone suggests that the heretofore-required course on Shakespeare should be discontinued. Others share Cassovan's indignation, and the Bard becomes a cause célèbre. Another subplot deals with first-year student Angela Vackrey, a bright but introverted young lady who, when she gets into trouble, finds support from several unlikely sources. The author's prose is energetic and literate. She skewers hypocrites and blowhards who lack penetrating intellect, genuine humility, and refinement. Schumacher suggests that if a professor wants to get ahead, he must be politically astute and proficient in networking, fund-raising, and self-promotion. Jason T. Figler is a good-hearted fellow, but he will never be one of Payne University's superstars. In "The Shakespeare Requirement," Schumacher entertainingly pokes fun at the bureaucracy, rivalries, and absurdities of academia.
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  • Gaele
    January 1, 1970
    I wanted to love this story – it had everything that I thought would make THE story for me – smart characters, academic political wrangling, a marriage in trouble, and the foundations of the protagonist’s thought as an English professor being discounted in the curriculum. And, while I found several moments of laugh out loud (in shock) descriptions of machinations for personal and departmental supremacy that made the current white house seem like a kinder garden sand box, the pieces all didn’t qu I wanted to love this story – it had everything that I thought would make THE story for me – smart characters, academic political wrangling, a marriage in trouble, and the foundations of the protagonist’s thought as an English professor being discounted in the curriculum. And, while I found several moments of laugh out loud (in shock) descriptions of machinations for personal and departmental supremacy that made the current white house seem like a kinder garden sand box, the pieces all didn’t quite fit for me. The writing, and the multiple perspectives were intriguing, but there wasn’t a large distinction in voice between them: language was often pompous and tried too hard to impress with just how smart and above it all they were. At many points I felt as if the words were used as smokescreen, trying to confuse and muddle the view to what real intentions were. And while I enjoyed Jason Finger and his voice, finding him alternately utterly befuddled and completely in charge depending on the situation, his presentation and story had funny moments, it just didn’t show, for me, the growth or progress that I hoped for, even as there were many battlefields on which victories could have been gained. Perhaps small moral ones, or departmental, but I just didn’t have it all feeling coherent once the book had ended. I received an eArc copy of the title from the publisher via Edelweiss for purpose of honest review. I was not compensated for this review: all conclusions are my own responsibility. Review first appeared at I am, Indeed
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  • Annie
    January 1, 1970
    For a while, we got a lot of students at our library who wanted to write about why a liberal education was or was not worth the cost. So I frequently found myself defending the humanities on the fly by talking about critical thinking, empathy, and other, more intangible benefits. I’m rather proud of myself for being able to do this, because it’s a lot more than the faculty of the beleaguered Payne University can do in The Shakespeare Requirement, Julie Schumacher’s sequel to her uproarious novel For a while, we got a lot of students at our library who wanted to write about why a liberal education was or was not worth the cost. So I frequently found myself defending the humanities on the fly by talking about critical thinking, empathy, and other, more intangible benefits. I’m rather proud of myself for being able to do this, because it’s a lot more than the faculty of the beleaguered Payne University can do in The Shakespeare Requirement, Julie Schumacher’s sequel to her uproarious novel Dear Committee Members. (It’s not necessary for readers to read Dear Committee Members to understand The Shakespeare Requirement. Both books are hilariously on-point satires, so I recommend them both.)Read the rest of my review at A Bookish Type. I received a free copy of this book from the publisher via Edelweiss, for review consideration.
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  • Jessica
    January 1, 1970
    Really enjoyed this satirical look at academia. From a craft point of view, loved the multiple points of views and seeing the same event over and over through different eyes. #writinggoals
  • Amanda
    January 1, 1970
    How magnificent.
  • Richard Schur
    January 1, 1970
    I really enjoyed this satire of campus life. It is probably the best one I have read. It is laugh out loud funny in parts, and it nails the absurdity of life in a bureaucratic organization. Some characters are more fuller formed than others, but this is to be expected given the genre. I liked how Schumacher had empathy for just about all of her characters; this made their foibles and desires understandable and human. Probably a must read for anyone who works or has worked at a university.
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  • Joe Gaspard
    January 1, 1970
    A very worthy successor to the outstanding “Dear Committee Members “
  • Joan
    January 1, 1970
    Full disclosure: The author is my sister, so of course I’m going to give it 5 stars. But in any event, I would not give it less than 4. She writes *really* well, with great characters. And the ending is fantastic.
  • eilasoles
    January 1, 1970
    Brilliant and funny though it does leave me feeling distinctly unhappy about my hopes for a prospective life in academia.
  • Sarah
    January 1, 1970
    Payne University's English Department Chair, Jason Fitger, is starting the new school year without an approved budget. He also doesn't have a working computer, refuses to learn P-Cal, and is quickly losing his crumbling office space to the ever expanding Economics Department just upstairs. So much of his misfortune is just that, dumb luck, but so much of it is his own doing too. Schumacher deftly negotiates this tidy balance of character set out in the excellent first book, Dear Committee Member Payne University's English Department Chair, Jason Fitger, is starting the new school year without an approved budget. He also doesn't have a working computer, refuses to learn P-Cal, and is quickly losing his crumbling office space to the ever expanding Economics Department just upstairs. So much of his misfortune is just that, dumb luck, but so much of it is his own doing too. Schumacher deftly negotiates this tidy balance of character set out in the excellent first book, Dear Committee Members. Fitger continues here as a love-to-hate character and the action is filled with petty minutae, best played out on an academic hallway. The objective is to get the budget passed and thwarting him at every turn is the villain, an evil Econ Professor. But the devil is in the details and Schumacher as a professor of English herself, knows best. You see to get his budget passed, Fitger needs to have a department approved Statement of Vision. And the Statement of Vision can't be approved by a majority like other departments, but unanimously because it is late. And Fitger has a strong opposing vote; Cassovan needs the SOV to include a Shakespeare Requirement or he votes no. But if a dead white male is the only named requirement, then the feminist professor retracts her yes vote. Fitger learns the hard way the price of every individual vote. And just when I had about lost hope for Fitger, he stands up, shows up, and says "I do". I probably enjoyed the originality of Dear Committee Members better, but this was a very satisfying follow up to The Fitger Problem.
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  • SM
    January 1, 1970
    I was half way though the book when I wondered why I was still reading it? Then I began to realize that I was caring about some of the characters and wanted to see what kind of ending this could possibly have. Jason Fitger, the newly elected chair of the English department, was not a sympathetic character. There were many things holding back the department and his ineptness did nothing to solve them. Roland Gladwell, the chair of the Econ department, was a perfect villain with his excessive fund I was half way though the book when I wondered why I was still reading it? Then I began to realize that I was caring about some of the characters and wanted to see what kind of ending this could possibly have. Jason Fitger, the newly elected chair of the English department, was not a sympathetic character. There were many things holding back the department and his ineptness did nothing to solve them. Roland Gladwell, the chair of the Econ department, was a perfect villain with his excessive fund raising and department expansion plans. Janet Matthias, Fitgers ex-wife and a high level assistant in the Law department, was extremely competent and tuned into campus politics. Her hints to Fitger about problems about to affect his department were pointless since he didn't know what to do about any of it. Janets mild tolerance of Fitger after their divorce was confusing. Frances (Fran) Iganatieff is Fitgers administrative assistant, eccentric, recalcitrant, and wise in the things needing to be done running the department daily but not one to do the work for him. Angela Vackery, an intelligent new student with low self confidence and social skills, ends up pulling people out their self absorption in an effort to help her succeed. The books ending was satisfying.
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  • Ellyn Lem
    January 1, 1970
    An enjoyable follow-up to the delightful "Dear Committee Members" that anyone in academia would have to appreciate. This one continues the exploits of the beleaguered Chair and creative writing professor who is being outdone at every turn by the money-bags Econ Chair. While the other novel was told all through letters, which was a very clever and impressive feat, this one is a more traditional narrative. There was still much humor on every page, but not a lot of plot and sometimes all the terrib An enjoyable follow-up to the delightful "Dear Committee Members" that anyone in academia would have to appreciate. This one continues the exploits of the beleaguered Chair and creative writing professor who is being outdone at every turn by the money-bags Econ Chair. While the other novel was told all through letters, which was a very clever and impressive feat, this one is a more traditional narrative. There was still much humor on every page, but not a lot of plot and sometimes all the terrible things befalling the English Dept and its Chair felt exaggerated beyond toleration. Not a lot of character development of these major players from the first novel as well, but I did appreciate the new character Fran, as the Chair's assistant. A subplot involving a religious student didn't seem to provide enough conflict or action, making me think the imaginative Schumacher could have come up with another study story line that would hold more interest. Still, I whizzed through the book recognizing so much of university-life unflattering aspects, especially the poor quality of our offices and other physical spaces! Looking forward to what Schumacher writes next.
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  • David
    January 1, 1970
    lot of reviewers seem to be comparing it unfavorably with her earlier "Dear Committee Members", told entirely in letters from the protagonist [Professor of English] of this one, but I didn't read the previous book so just evaluating this as a stand-alone..........and it was among the best, funniest novels I've read. This is sort of faint praise, in that I hardly ever read fiction, but even in an absolute sense I found this book engaging and fun. Some interesting subplots [ex: a student's coping lot of reviewers seem to be comparing it unfavorably with her earlier "Dear Committee Members", told entirely in letters from the protagonist [Professor of English] of this one, but I didn't read the previous book so just evaluating this as a stand-alone..........and it was among the best, funniest novels I've read. This is sort of faint praise, in that I hardly ever read fiction, but even in an absolute sense I found this book engaging and fun. Some interesting subplots [ex: a student's coping with unintended pregnancy, ups and downs of Prof. Fitger's relationship with his ex-wife] around main plot of new Chair of the English department trying to fend off turf attack by Economics.As a department-chair for past 5 years, I found the various characters and setbacks and obstacles he faces maybe a little overdrawn but basically realistic as they leave him "asking himself whether it would be preferable to chop off both of his hands with an axe or continue to serve as department chair." (p. 296). hang in there, Professor Fitger! At least you got to be the star of a good book, and with any luck you're term-limited as well. It gets better.......
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  • Ashley
    January 1, 1970
    Jason Fitger has gotten himself promoted to head of the English department, but his troubles are just beginning. In an effort to attract more students by easing up on required classes, the department's statement of vision leaves out Shakespeare. This omission is brought to the attention of Dennis Cassovan, the department's Shakespeare man, and he becomes the unwitting witness to Payne University's protest of the removal of the Shakespeare requirement.Meanwhile, Jason is also unknowingly battling Jason Fitger has gotten himself promoted to head of the English department, but his troubles are just beginning. In an effort to attract more students by easing up on required classes, the department's statement of vision leaves out Shakespeare. This omission is brought to the attention of Dennis Cassovan, the department's Shakespeare man, and he becomes the unwitting witness to Payne University's protest of the removal of the Shakespeare requirement.Meanwhile, Jason is also unknowingly battling Roland Gladwell, head of the department of economics, who wants the English department removed like the scourge it is from the first floor of Willard Hall. Gladwell's machinations reveal how money and political deals do not always work in the antiquated academic setting.I enjoyed the absurdity of this novel more than 2014's Dear Committee Members, especially the quirky characters of the English department and university staff at large. Schumacher skewers academic life, but not too harshly. As an English major, I'm pretty sure I took classes with the spirit of the professors mentioned in the story.
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  • Susan
    January 1, 1970
    Julie Schumacher who wrote the hilarious Dear Committee members is back in the Academic snake pit with The Shakespeare Requirement."The Shakespeare Requirement" details Jason Fitger’s, struggles to get a dozen English Faculty to agree on a draft of the “Statement of Vision” for the college. His efforts are thwarted at every turn and most by the senior Shakespeare scholar who believes all English majores should be required to take a Shakespeare class. As if trying to get academics to agree on any Julie Schumacher who wrote the hilarious Dear Committee members is back in the Academic snake pit with The Shakespeare Requirement."The Shakespeare Requirement" details Jason Fitger’s, struggles to get a dozen English Faculty to agree on a draft of the “Statement of Vision” for the college. His efforts are thwarted at every turn and most by the senior Shakespeare scholar who believes all English majores should be required to take a Shakespeare class. As if trying to get academics to agree on anything weren’t trouble enough, Fitger and the English Dept. must watch as the Economics Department, rich in resources, is attempting to boot out the English Dept. for more space for itself. And Fitger's attempt to get a mossbacked and antediluvian Shakespeare scholar to retire backfires spectacularly when the press concludes that the Bard is being kicked to the curricular curb. A witty, scathing account of the serious subject of the Humanities in Peril.
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  • Dipesh
    January 1, 1970
    This is a decent and funny follow up to the author's previous work, Dear Committee Members. I think anyone acquainted with academia will recognize much of reality within it. Having said that, the genius of the prior work was in how it was told from the protagonist's perspective via letters, whereas this one isn’t. The book is decent and enjoyable, but doesn’t reach the heights the prior one did. While I found the multiple plots compelling, the main tension was wrapped up in a manner that bordere This is a decent and funny follow up to the author's previous work, Dear Committee Members. I think anyone acquainted with academia will recognize much of reality within it. Having said that, the genius of the prior work was in how it was told from the protagonist's perspective via letters, whereas this one isn’t. The book is decent and enjoyable, but doesn’t reach the heights the prior one did. While I found the multiple plots compelling, the main tension was wrapped up in a manner that bordered on deus ex machina, which is just about never satisfying. I won a copy via a Goodreads giveaway, which is how I came to read it so soon.
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  • Andrew
    January 1, 1970
    I was surprised at certain choices for this sequel. I think the most obvious is the format: this is not an epistolary novel like its predecessor, Dear Committee Members. I think that makes it less unique, and perhaps less memorable, because of the shift in subtext and character perspective. It does, however, I think, make this novel on the whole more humanistic (by that, I mean more reflective of real human people). I like it more than not, and would recommend it to readers who like Richard Russ I was surprised at certain choices for this sequel. I think the most obvious is the format: this is not an epistolary novel like its predecessor, Dear Committee Members. I think that makes it less unique, and perhaps less memorable, because of the shift in subtext and character perspective. It does, however, I think, make this novel on the whole more humanistic (by that, I mean more reflective of real human people). I like it more than not, and would recommend it to readers who like Richard Russo's stuff (not just because of the easy academia comparison to Straight Man, but because of style).
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  • Lorri Steinbacher
    January 1, 1970
    The Shakespeare Requirement does what a comic novel should do. It skewers its subject-- academia--in all the right places. The atmosphere and personalities are exaggerated, but only enough to bring the ridiculous into relief. It's over the top, but just, and you relate. Fitger is an impossible character to like and yet through your exasperation with literally everything he does or tries to do you find yourself rooting for him. Fun. Made me remember how much I liked Dear Committee Members.
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  • Vickie
    January 1, 1970
    The Shakespeare Requirement is an entertaining, satirical read that takes on the state of affairs in today’s academia. Some of the plights and characters of the struggling to survive Humanities are so agonizingly real, it makes you want to cry; others are a bit over the top. There is a sub plot involving a naive freshman student that seems as if it belongs in another book and belabors the story. Otherwise, it is engaging and in some ways all too real.
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  • Jolynn
    January 1, 1970
    Really loved Dear Committee Members. This follow-on was definitely funny at times and had wonderful aspects like the relationship/banter between Fitger and Janet and the character Fran, but overall a little long for what it is... with some random tangents, and less engaging than the first book. Still glad I read it.
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  • Mary Ann
    January 1, 1970
    Hilarious, witty novel that sums up in brilliant detail the current state of small liberal arts colleges and their English Departments. I give it only 4 stars because it needs to be a bit longer. There are a couple of episodes that the narrative builds toward but doesn't actually deliver. Instead, the reader learns the consequences of those. And they are too funny to omit.
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  • Kelly Macfarlane
    January 1, 1970
    New Chair (of English department, naturally) struggles with Admin and dastardly plot from wealthy department (Economics); hilarious hijinx should ensue. Except that they don't so much ensue. It's an OK story, with some interesting minor characters and subplots, but they don't add up to a full novel, and the "English under threat! Will Hero manage to foil plot?!" is getting rather over-used.
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  • Dipra Lahiri
    January 1, 1970
    A worthy successor to the hilarious "Dear Committee Members". Many of the episodes and characters will seem all too familiar to those in academia, but really are universal in nature. One more novel in this series will make it complete.
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