(I was lucky enough to be sent a copy of this book by the publishers in exchange for an honest review. Thank you, Quirk Books!)
Book: Pop Sonnets: Shakespearean Spins on Your Favorite Songs by Erik Didriksen
Details: Parody collection suitable for all ages
Publishing Information: Released October 6, 2015 by Quirk Publishing
Barnes and Noble Amazon Goodreads IndieBound
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 20,000+ 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.
Cover Review: I was blown away by the quality of this book. It was very apparent that a lot of thought and time went into creating every aspect of the entire set-up. The cover is super cute and fun, perfectly matching the tone and creativity of the words within. There were pictures included in between the sections of the book, the naked book contains actual music to play some of the songs within including lyrics, and even the font of the book gives it a very oldtime-y and Shakespearean feel.
I wasn’t sure what to expect when going into this book. The idea sounded absolutely hilarious to me from the moment that I first heard about it, but I was worried about how it would be executed. On one hand, there was the potential that these parodies would be incredibly well done, authentic feeling, and a joy to read. There was also the chance that Erik Didriksen would do what everyone did in elementary school when mocking Romeo and Juliet – just replacing every “you” with “thou” and “are” with “art”.
I was very, very pleasantly surprised. Every parody wasn’t just replacing a few words and keeping the rhymes. Every line was original and filled with Shakespearean terms and vocabulary, while keeping the overall theme and idea throughout the song. It was always obvious what song was being parodied, but it was like they were being completely rewritten by Shakespeare.
If you truly did wish to win my hand,
You should have graced it with a wedding band.
-Beyoncé, “Single Ladies”
The book followed Shakespeare’s typical rhyming patterns and still managed to read smoothly. My sister and I had a fun time taking turns performing the parodies, and they would usually even work to be sung to the original tune! Each song, however, usually was only the chorus or a couple of verses, as opposed to an entire parody of the full song.
This was definitely a book that I read while sitting next to Spotify, as I didn’t know even close to all of the songs. I would say that I knew at least half of them, but I was definitely looking a lot of them up as I went to make sure that I was getting the full experience. I wouldn’t say that this is necessarily a bad thing, though, as the variety of different music ensures that everyone will be able to find a parody of a song that they like. The book featured teen hits like One Direction’s “What Makes You Beautiful”, viral sensations such as Rebecca Black’s “Friday”, along with more classic songs like Billy Joel’s “Piano Man”.
Though I have of my craft imparted much,
My artistry’s beyond what thou canst touch.
-MC Hammer, “U Can’t Touch This”
As you can probably tell by this point, I really enjoyed this fun little book. Is it a completely necessary read? No. However, it delivers exactly what it promises in its synopsis and is sure to make you laugh, so if you’re looking for some quick entertainment that you could go back to and reread, I would definitely recommend this book!
Thanks for reading! 🙂