The Dude, The Bard, and the Bookshelf: A Classical Reading List for Lebowski Fans

Off the Shelf asked Adam Bertocci, author of Two Gentlemen of Lebowski: A Most Excellent Comedie and Tragical Romance, to create a list of books for us and, boy, did he oblige!

We’ve divided Adam’s selections into two lists, both for fans of The Big Lebowski. Today’s list is comprised of the more classical titles Adam’s chosen. So, without further ado, we present The Dude, The Bard, and the Bookshelf: A Classical Reading List for Lebowski Fans!

Two Gentlemen of Lebowski
by Adam Bertocci

Let’s get the shameless advertising over with quickly, shall we? This here is my contribution to literary culture, a critically-acclaimed and modestly-priced mashup of The Big Lebowski with the works of Shakespeare. It’s been praised by everyone from Jeff Bridges to the Royal Shakespeare Company. But enough about me. -Adam Bertocci

A Midsummer Night’s Dream
by William Shakespeare

I suppose I should recommend you the entire Shakespearean canon, but that would be too easy. (For me, not for you—he wrote quite a bit, after all.) In the interest of narrowing things down, I think fans of the Dude will find Midsummer a good entry into the Bard. It’s funny and it’s accessible. What’s more, it has the same anarchic spirit abiding in The Big Lebowski, and the same cultural clash of lower-class people getting mixed up in rich folks’ affairs. Lord, what fools these mortals be, as the fella says. -Adam Bertocci

The Year’s Work in Lebowski Studies
by Edward P. Comentale and Aaron Jaffe

My choices get more creative in Part Two of this list, I swear. This is serious fun for the serious reader: these essays prove a treat for those who like their fandom with a side of grad-school blather… and since I am just such a person, that’s a compliment. My only regret is that the title implies more years’ work that never came, though I’m a proud contributor to the unaffiliated successor Lebowski 101. -Adam Bertocci

Lebowski 101: Limber-Minded Investigations into the Greatest Story Ever Blathered
by Oliver Benjamin

It’s the same as the last book, only different, as the phrase goes. Really more of a 300-level Lebowski book than a 101 if you ask me. Expect polysyllabic verbiage here ‘n’ there; I don’t even understand half of my own contribution. - Adam Bertocci

Rosencrantz and Guildenstern Are Dead
by Tom Stoppard

It’s hard to put into words the importance I place on my father’s beat-up 1967 copy of this—I was so young when I first picked it up, certainly too young to ‘get’ it at the time, but nonetheless I credit it for planting a seed in my mind that characters might well have lives and thoughts beyond what their creators show us. It was also my first taste of playful takes on the classics beyond outright spoofs. And lest we forget, Stoppard also co-wrote Shakespeare in Love, one of the most enchanting takes on the Bard ever committed to film. -Adam Bertocci

Pride and Prejudice and Zombies: The Classic Regency Romance
by Jane Austen

When you pitch a book, you include something called ‘comp titles’, which are books similar to yours (that have sold well, ideally) that prove that a market exists. This was my comp title. You can probably blame it for paving the way for me. Austen is unfortunately no longer with us to offer her apologies. -Adam Bertocci