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Review to come A funny, light academic comedy, The Shakespeare Requirement is a sequel to Schumacher s hilarious epistolary novel Dear Committee Members, and I must agree with several of my Goodreads friends that it pales in comparison Dear Committee Members was inspired The Shakespeare Requirement, although humorous, is not Also it has so many details of comic academia in common with two other novels that I ve read recently primarily Straight Man by Richard Russo but also Blue Angel by Francine Prose eve A funny, light academic comedy, The Shakespeare Requirement is a sequel to Schumacher s hilarious epistolary novel Dear Committee Members, and I must agree with several of my Goodreads friends that it pales in comparison Dear Committee Members was inspired The Shakespeare Requirement, although humorous, is not Also it has so many details of comic academia in common with two other novels that I ve read recently primarily Straight Man by Richard Russo but also Blue Angel by Francine Prose everything from the specificity of a broken tooth to battles with machinery and architecture that sometimes I forgot which novel I was reading However five chapters in, it briefly came alive and new when the beleaguered Professor Jason T Fitger star of the two books , local literary SOB and unexceptional novelist and, of course, English Department chair 109 , a man in a never ending fight to exist, deals with his ex wife Janet Matthias Janet works in the law school and was tangential in the first book With her we suddenly get to see a real woman in all her disdainful glory far better written than the wife in Russo s book She is original and funny and I wish Schumacher had chosen to write her life as a sequel The first book was so strong and complete, I don t think there sneeded about Fitger But Janet s epistolary novel would be one I would have savored In her acknowledgements, Schumacher mentions that her editor turned down the first version of this sequel, and since I loved Dear Committee Members , I m experiencing editor s envy Had I been her editor, I would have urged her to doepistolary novels from the points of view of other characters mentioned in the first book What was so enticing about Dear Committee Members was how Schumacher communicated through Fitger s everfrustrated letters to his colleagues his deep love and care for his students in other words, soul shone through his crusty fa ade such that the reader fell in love Imagine doing that for a whole community of impossible people Now that would be a series worth reading.It s unfair to compare this book to the earlier one or to Straight Man , but it s hard not to If you haven t read Dear Committee Members, you ll probably be able to see this new bookobjectively than those of us who have And if you haven t read Straight Man, the comedy may seem bombastic and original 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,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,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 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 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 This is the clever satirical sequel to Julie Schumacher s Dear Committee Members The trials and sufferings of Professor Fitger continue and his battle in the age old academic conflict of humanities vs technical education is brutal The financially solvent Econ Dept has remodeled and taken over the floor above him He has no heat, no computer, no budget, and an animal rescuing secretary The personalities and the unreasonable requirements of his university are the same in any large institution g This is the clever satirical sequel to Julie Schumacher s Dear Committee Members The trials and sufferings of Professor Fitger continue and his battle in the age old academic conflict of humanities vs technical education is brutal The financially solvent Econ Dept has remodeled and taken over the floor above him He has no heat, no computer, no budget, and an animal rescuing secretary The personalities and the unreasonable requirements of his university are the same in any large institution government agency organization and I believe the reader will connect, as I did, with the overwhelming absurdities in Fitger s occupation Underneath it all, Professor Fitger is a good guy and education is his sword 4.5 stars Highly recommended 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 conquermeaning 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 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 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 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 `Download ⇹ 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 into the breachNow 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