But be ye hardcore Stratfordian or a brash Marlovian, there are several really good books about Shakespeare that I believe everyone interested in the topic should read. The first one is a book I think everyone should read!
Shakespeare on Toast
I've read a lot of Shakespearean essays, articles, and books that present Shakespeare in a very and righteously scholarly way, which is to say high falutin' with lotsa fancy (And oftentimes highly unecessary) words. Ben Crystal brings Shakespearean studies down to Earth, in a book that is pleasing not only to scholarly types but to the Hoi Polloi as well, and is a great book for anyone who does not know that much about the subject. He brilliantly points out aspects of Shakespearean and Elizabthean language by referencing Mos Def lyrics at one point.
The Boy Who Would be Shakespeare
Shakespeare scholars have long lamented that no one has ever found any significant William Shakespeare documents. No notes, letters, journals, or original manuscripts by this Bard have ever been found. That's why a ruckus was created when many Shakespearean documents were found, including original manuscripts, and a previously unknown play! Turns out they were all forgeries however, really clever ones that fooled too many people who should've known better. It reads like a crime drama even though it is a true story.
Becoming Shakespeare is an excellent overview of how Shakespeare has been perceived and changed, (Yes, changed!) throughout the centuries. Author Jack Lynch is violently pro-Stratfordian, but that takes nothing away from this book about the evolution of Shakespeare. Did you know virtually no one has seen the entire play Hamlet? That's because the original is four hours long! The various ways it has been edited and abridged are quite entertaining.