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"Twitterature" - classics in 140 characters or less

Twitter Want to reread your favorite classics but don't have the time? Alexander Aciman and Emmett Rensin can help.

They've put together great literary works in no more than 140 characters in the hilarious Twitterature (Penguin, $12), which is more fun than Cliff's Notes could ever be (though possibly less helpful if you're studying for a test.)

The book requires a working knowledge of the classics, of course. You have to get why this tweet from Hamlet is so funny: "Mom says to stop wearing black.'' A new take on Pride and Prejudice's famous opening: "Usually a man wills his home to his wife or kids. But sometimes, he wills it to a distant relative, so when he dies, you're out on your ass.''

Read Twitter versions of The Odyssey, Anna Karenina, Great Expectations and other great works - and let the laughter begin.



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Now why didn't we think of writing a book like this??? Would have been a riot to do, too!

Mona Melendy

Have you--or have they--even ever read P&P? That has nothing to do with the opening line. Perhaps you could call it a vague summary of the book, but if that's what they think it's about, they're missing the point.


Well, "Twitterature" is not a line by line analysis of the books, just the basic storylines put into tweet form. Although of course one could argue that's exactly the set-up for P&P: in addition to be a great comic novel, it's also a commentary on the laws and mores of the time that kept many women's lives so narrow. Jane Austen wasn't just about the romance; she was a social commentator. Why is Emma Woodhouse such a busybody? Society deems a young woman with a fortune shouldn't be ALLOWED to do anything; so she meddles in her friends' lives (very unsuccessfully).

Economics are at the very heart of Elizabeth Bennet's dilemma; she's an idealist, and she wants to marry for love. But can she legitimately afford to? Don't you remember what happened to the poor Dashwoods in "Sense and Sensibility" when Mr. Dashwood died? It wasn't pretty - by their standards, anyway. Though luckily Col. Brandon came along and straightened things out.

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