The Shakespeare Insult Generator, by Barry Kraft, is a book that doesn't really need a review. I don't know if it is possible to review it, frankly. It's an old-school flip book of the kind where each page has been cut into three sections, with one word per section. All the insulting words are sourced from Shakespeare plays, with a key that indicates if Shakespeare coined the word or not. You can flip through the book to assemble what the cover promises are more than 150,000 unique insults. Here's an insult that I randomly generated:
"Stinking" is fairly obvious. "Nook-shotten," according to the definition provided by the book, means "Full of nooks and angles; confusing, deceptive." And "Measle," as you may expect, means "Disease; diseased wretch." The definitions are very helpful, but I do have a problem with the way the book is laid out: All the definitions are included on the opposite side of the word, like a vocabulary flash card. It would probably have been more helpful to include the definition on the facing page, so that you can learn what a word means at the same time that you see it. As it is, it's easy to get confused by this book, with all the flipping. Here are a few other randomly generated insults:
Lubberly rug-headed mushrump
Naughty self-glorious rampallian
Musty foul-mouthed bed-presser
Fawning tripe-visaged ox-head
The Shakespeare Insult Generator is by no means an essential book. It's more like a gag gift, or perhaps a gift for the Shakespeare aficionado who has everything. But on the other hand, if every Slog commenter had a copy of this book, our comment threads would for sure be a hell of a lot more baroque. Maybe we should see if we can get Nancy Pearl to sponsor an If All Slog Read the Same Book program, to make things a little more Shakespearean around here.