Twitterature: The World’s Greatest Books Retold Through Twitter is funny. Or, as the Internet might say, funneh.
Over the years the Internet has evolved—I refrain from saying “exploded”—into many things, many of which have developed their own language. For those of us who tweet and must use only 140 characters to express ourselves, this lingo comes in handy when we need to cut things down.
Alexander Aciman and Emmett Rensin have used this concept and produced the Web 2.0 version of CliffsNotes, with each book condensed into around of 2 pages of tweets (some of the more dramatic books get 2.5). While tweeting might not be your thing, the one-liners presented do a great job of condensing the main points into a few interesting lines that pretty much sum up what the book needs to say, with a bit of modern banter and some LOL, WTF, OMG along the way.
Some of my favorites include:
@BigMAC Battle went well! Cut mothafuckas from the nave to the chops! Neither bade farewell nor shook up! WORD UP! REPRESENT!
Oedipus the King
@WhathappensinThebes PARTY IN THEBES!!! Nobody cares I killed that old dude plus this woman is ALL OVER ME!!! Total MILF!
@MorningStarlet OMG I’m in HELL!
For people who need a guide to acronyms and such, there’s a handy dandy glossary at the back, and you don’t have to have read all the novels covered—I certainly haven’t. While some of the authors might roll over in their graves thinking, My character is not a hip hop bro, I’m sure many of us (and them) will appreciate the humour that goes with these “translations” of their work. If anything, it might encourage readers to buy the actual novels—I know that Anna Karenina and Heart of Darkness are looking more interesting to me—while some of the entries might make other novels seem pretentious and make you wonder, Why is this required reading again?
Be warned, though, that Twitterature could be considered spoilery. I mean, if the character dies, it’s right there, and if you are ever planning to read that novel and don’t like knowing these things, just be careful. (Though in my opinion someone always dies in required reading.)
One tiny whinge. Some years ago Modern Library published the Best 100 novels of the 20th century, and Ulysses by James Joyce came out as number 1. I have never read it and I am told it’s not an easy read. I was hoping it would be in this book, but it’s not. Can I has a sequel? :)
Twitterature is published by Penguin Australia and was released this week. The UK edition will be released on November 5, and the US edition on December 29.
Title: Twitterature: The World’s Greatest Books Retold Through Twitter (excerpt)
Authors: Alexander Aciman and Emmett Rensin
Release date: October 26, 2009
Publisher: Penguin Australia