James Shapiro, Contested Will: Who Wrote Shakespeare? (Simon & Schuster, $25). This crisp study of the history of what is euphemistically known in literary circles as “the authorship question” is, or should be, the last word on a bizarre notion that somehow managed to sway such heavy hitters as Mark Twain, Henry James, and Sigmund Freud. If you really, truly think that somebody else wrote Shakespeare’s plays, you probably won’t be persuaded by Shapiro’s closing chapter, a brilliantly pithy summary of the unanswerable evidence that he really, truly did. Otherwise, Contested Will is essential reading for anyone who cares to know how silly smart people can be (TT).