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Othello: The Shakesperience

. Sourcebooks, Inc. iBooks. iOS, requires 5.0 or later. 2012. $5.99.
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Gr 9 Up—Let's face it. Who hasn't struggled with Shakespeare? Sourcebooks' "Shakesperience" iBooks, which build on their earlier print plus CD series, are designed to remedy this problem by helping readers connect with the playwright's texts more easily and more deeply. Othello catapults users from a colorful book cover image directly into act 1, scene 1 on a screen designed to look like the double-page spread of an open book. Indexes and navigation icons are hidden until the top of the screen is touched.The text drives the iPad experience: behind words and phrases highlighted in blue are explanatory notes, and by the second page turn users will discover audio scene introductions by the renowned Shakespearian actor Sir Derek Jacobi, and short, read-along audio recordings by notable stage and film actors. Comparative audio renditions of actors performing carefully selected classic lines (Paul Robeson, John Kani, and Hugh Quarshie as Othello and Emma Fielding and Uta Hagen as Desdemona, etc.), bonus archival recordings by F. Scott Fitzgerald and Edwin Booth, and video clips from live performances will enhance viewers' engagement with the play.Additional layers of information include galleries of captioned black-and-white and full-color stage photographs; costume and set renderings; production notes; authoritative articles providing historical context; and interviews with actors, directors, and a voice coach. Tools for note-taking, highlighting, and bookmarking are available, as are embedded definitions and a searchable glossary of more than 1400 terms. A table of contents aids access. For teachers and students, as well as all of those who missed the brilliance of Shakespeare the first time around, The Shakesperience: Othello, is a dream come true.—Kathleen Wilson, New York University, NY, NY (10/11/12)

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