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Sunday, May 22, 2016

Book Review: Pop Sonnets: Shakespearean Spins on Your Favorite Songs by Erik Dideriksen

Pop Sonnets: Shakespearean Spins on Your Favorite Songs
by Erik Dideriksen
Publisher: Quirk Books
ISBN: 9781594748288
October 6, 2015
The Bard meets the Backstreet Boys in Pop Sonnets, a collection of 100 classic pop songs reimagined as Shakespearean sonnets. All of your favorite artists are represented in these pages--from Bon Jovi and Green Day to Miley Cyrus, Beyoncé, and beyond. Already a smash sensation on the Internet--the Tumblr page has 50,000+ followers--Pop Sonnets has been featured by the A.V. Club, BuzzFeed, and Vanity Fair, among many others. More than half of these pop sonnets are exclusive to this collection and have never been published in any form.

The author took old and new songs and rewrote them as William Shakespeare sonnets. The executions are well done. The only thing is, obviously,  you must like Shakespeare, or else this is going to be an awkward read.

For me, reading this was interesting. The songs I listened to growing up and even those I listen to now; I tried to sing along as the way Shakespeare would have done them. The other music that I'd never hear of I just read out load as poetry. For it is said, Shakespeare’s plays and sonnets are best read than acted out.

My favorite songs made into sonnets are one I listened to on the radio or bought in records, cassettes and CDs:
Tom Jones, “It’s Not Unusual”
Neil Diamond, “Sweet Caroline”
The Wonders, “That Thing You Do!”
John Travolta and Olivia Newton-John, “You’re the One I Want: from Grease
Aretha Franklin, “Respect”
The Bee Gees, Stayin’ Alive”
The Beatles, “All You Need is Love”
Abba, “Dancing Queen”
From a TV show my son and I watched when he was young: Will Smith, “The Fresh Prince of Bel-Air”
Bary Manilow, “Copacabana"
Idina Menzel, “Let It Go”
The Animals, “House of the Rising Sun”
Michael Jackson, “Thriller”
and the song I played in the jukebox in the game room in college in the Seventies: The Doors, “Light My Fire.”

There are much, much more.

Love Shakespeare? Jonesing to see your favorite rock songs in a whole new way? Enjoy reading poetry? Pop Sonnets: Shakespearean Spins on Your Favorite Songs is an enjoyable beach read. Just sing along.

5 “To Be or Not to Be, That is the Question!” sheep.

Pamela K. Kinney

About the Author:

Erik Didriksen is a software engineer, musician, sonneteer, and trivia enthusiast. He lives in Astoria, NY.

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