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Abridged Classics: Brief Summaries of Books You Were Supposed to Read but Probably Didn't

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A collection of irreverent summations of more than 100 well-known works of literature, from Anna Karenina to Wuthering Heights, cleverly described in the fewest words possible and accompanied with funny color illustrations. Abridged Classics: Brief Summaries of Books You Were Supposed to Read but Probably Didn’t is packed with dozens of humorous super-condensed summations A collection of irreverent summations of more than 100 well-known works of literature, from Anna Karenina to Wuthering Heights, cleverly described in the fewest words possible and accompanied with funny color illustrations. Abridged Classics: Brief Summaries of Books You Were Supposed to Read but Probably Didn’t is packed with dozens of humorous super-condensed summations of some of the most famous works of literature from many of the world’s most revered authors, including William Shakespeare, Charles Dickens, Emily Brontë, Leo Tolstoy, Jane Austen, Mark Twain, J.R.R. Tolkien, Margaret Atwood, James Joyce, Plato, Ernest Hemingway, Dan Brown, Ayn Rand, and Herman Melville. From "Old ladies convince a guy to ruin Scotland" (Macbeth) to "Everyone is sad. It snows." (War and Peace), these clever, humorous synopses are sure to make book lovers smile.


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A collection of irreverent summations of more than 100 well-known works of literature, from Anna Karenina to Wuthering Heights, cleverly described in the fewest words possible and accompanied with funny color illustrations. Abridged Classics: Brief Summaries of Books You Were Supposed to Read but Probably Didn’t is packed with dozens of humorous super-condensed summations A collection of irreverent summations of more than 100 well-known works of literature, from Anna Karenina to Wuthering Heights, cleverly described in the fewest words possible and accompanied with funny color illustrations. Abridged Classics: Brief Summaries of Books You Were Supposed to Read but Probably Didn’t is packed with dozens of humorous super-condensed summations of some of the most famous works of literature from many of the world’s most revered authors, including William Shakespeare, Charles Dickens, Emily Brontë, Leo Tolstoy, Jane Austen, Mark Twain, J.R.R. Tolkien, Margaret Atwood, James Joyce, Plato, Ernest Hemingway, Dan Brown, Ayn Rand, and Herman Melville. From "Old ladies convince a guy to ruin Scotland" (Macbeth) to "Everyone is sad. It snows." (War and Peace), these clever, humorous synopses are sure to make book lovers smile.

30 review for Abridged Classics: Brief Summaries of Books You Were Supposed to Read but Probably Didn't

  1. 5 out of 5

    Schizanthus Nerd

    This is one of those super quick (about five minutes) and quirky reads. John Atkinson summarises classic novels in a few words, with each entry accompanied by an illustration or two. I found I enjoyed the summaries if I’d read the book referenced already or at least knew the basics of the story. For those classics included where I wasn’t already familiar with the plot I found myself thinking some variation of ‘Oh, okay’ or ‘I don’t get it’. My favourites summaries are: The Lord of the Rings This is one of those super quick (about five minutes) and quirky reads. John Atkinson summarises classic novels in a few words, with each entry accompanied by an illustration or two. I found I enjoyed the summaries if I’d read the book referenced already or at least knew the basics of the story. For those classics included where I wasn’t already familiar with the plot I found myself thinking some variation of ‘Oh, okay’ or ‘I don’t get it’. My favourites summaries are: The Lord of the Rings trilogy - Middle-earth’s epic jewellery return policy. The Handmaid’s Tale - An oppressive patriarchy controls women’s bodies. This book is also about that. Charlotte’s Web - Clever web designer saves a pig. I borrowed this book from my library (I love my library). I can imagine people buying this as a gift book. I’d already read many of the entries online though and while I’m glad I read the book I won’t be buying it.

  2. 5 out of 5

    Cyndi

    We had so much fun with this book! We read the explanations and then tried to guess the book. “Everyone is sad. It snows.” War and Peace! Haha! That completely sums it up. “War is crazy, unless you are. Orr maybe not.” Catch-22. “Colonialism ruins everything. Also jungle metaphors.” Heart of Darkness. “Two sisters catch husbands. And one catches a cold.” Sense and Sensibility. Tons of fun! We had so much fun with this book! We read the explanations and then tried to guess the book. “Everyone is sad. It snows.” War and Peace! Haha! That completely sums it up. “War is crazy, unless you are. Orr maybe not.” Catch-22. “Colonialism ruins everything. Also jungle metaphors.” Heart of Darkness. “Two sisters catch husbands. And one catches a cold.” Sense and Sensibility. Tons of fun! 😄

  3. 5 out of 5

    Lubinka Dimitrova

    OK, I'm ready now. Ask me anything about the classics. I've got it. #not

  4. 5 out of 5

    BetweenLinesAndLife

    3.5 Stars Such a fun little book with such cute illustrations!

  5. 4 out of 5

    Meaghan Lee

    This review has been hidden because it contains spoilers. To view it, click here. My favorites- Little Women: “Four sisters get married. Except Beth.” Peter Pan: “Some kids and a crocodile pester an amputee.” Wuthering Heights: “A sort-of brother and sister fall in love. It’s foggy.”

  6. 4 out of 5

    Faidz Zainal Abidin

    I enjoyed this tremendously! Would love to own a copy.

  7. 5 out of 5

    Mary Lou

    By the numbers... 5 - the approximate number of minutes this book takes to read. 20 - the number of dollars that you spent on those five minutes, if you paid the cover price. 0 - the amount of enjoyment you'll get from this book, and/or the amount of time and creativity that went into it.

  8. 5 out of 5

    Erikka

    Classic literature is great, but there's only so much time in your life. This book takes about 100 classic tales and condenses them to one pithy and hilarious sentence, pairs the sentence with a cute cartoon, and voila: a perfect summary. I loved this so much. The sense of humor is right up my alley and the pics were fun.

  9. 5 out of 5

    Jennifer (JenIsNotaBookSnob)

    Please note, this is VERY abridged. More humorous than informational, usually just a line or two per classic and an illustration. It's definitely more of a humor book than an actual collection of summaries of classics. It was fun to read though, perhaps a 5 minute read.

  10. 5 out of 5

    Rachel

    I devoured this in under 10 minutes. My only complaint is that it is too short. I got a copy from the library, but I will have to buy one for myself so I can refer back to it whenever I need a laugh. I adore the artwork and the summaries of classic novels and plays are a hoot.

  11. 4 out of 5

    Lindsay

    This was a fun (and quick) book. I'll admit, there were some *cough*more than some*cough* books in this that I haven't read. I know of them, I know their basic story (in most cases) but I haven't read them. Either way, it was a fun book to kill some time with.

  12. 5 out of 5

    Tamra

    So much fun! Definitely would welcome a volume 2.

  13. 5 out of 5

    Shannon Glenn

    Very funny light read. Entertaining and enjoyable.

  14. 5 out of 5

    Suellen

    Some of these are funny ... Really, really funny. I would recommend this to any reader of classic literature. If nothing else, they will get a good laugh.

  15. 4 out of 5

    Thant Zin Kyaw

    How to tell spoilers 101

  16. 4 out of 5

    Jeff

    Neither clever or witty. Unfortunate, since, if you're going to done something that's been before, you should do it better or don't bother.

  17. 4 out of 5

    Becky

    First sentence: Ulysses. James Joyce. Dublin, something, something, something, run-on sentence. Moby Dick. Herman Melville. Man vs. whale. Whale wins. War and Peace. Leo Tolstoy. Everyone is sad. It snows. Premise/plot: What you see is what you get...for the most part. Each classic book featured has an illustration (sometimes two) and a few sentences. It's as concise as can be. Peter Pan. J.M. Barrie. Some kids and a crocodile pester an amputee. Wuthering Heights. Emily Bronte. A sort-of brother First sentence: Ulysses. James Joyce. Dublin, something, something, something, run-on sentence. Moby Dick. Herman Melville. Man vs. whale. Whale wins. War and Peace. Leo Tolstoy. Everyone is sad. It snows. Premise/plot: What you see is what you get...for the most part. Each classic book featured has an illustration (sometimes two) and a few sentences. It's as concise as can be. Peter Pan. J.M. Barrie. Some kids and a crocodile pester an amputee. Wuthering Heights. Emily Bronte. A sort-of brother and sister fall in love. It's foggy. Sense and Sensibility. Jane Austen. Two sisters catch husbands. And one catches a cold. My thoughts: I read this one in one sitting. Anyone could. I read it with a cup of tea in hand. It was delightful--for the most part, both the tea and the book. I could write BOOKS about how they summarized the Bible wrong. But. I won't. (For those that are curious, the summary is "Be good or else.") I would recommend this one for anyone who enjoys a super-quick read. Especially if your library has it. (I don't know that I could ever justify buying it--at least to myself. It just took me about fifteen minutes to read.)

  18. 5 out of 5

    Crystal

    a short humorous book full of short humorous summaries of famous and/or classic books (ex--"War and Peace: Everyone is sad. it snows." or "Little Women: Four sisters get married. Except Beth." ouch, John. too soon.) accompanied by humorous art. This is a fun fast read, whether or not you've read the featured books. I shared excerpts and laughs over them with both my coworkers and my spouse. There were only one or two summaries that I simply didn't get, not having read the book. Most are easily a short humorous book full of short humorous summaries of famous and/or classic books (ex--"War and Peace: Everyone is sad. it snows." or "Little Women: Four sisters get married. Except Beth." ouch, John. too soon.) accompanied by humorous art. This is a fun fast read, whether or not you've read the featured books. I shared excerpts and laughs over them with both my coworkers and my spouse. There were only one or two summaries that I simply didn't get, not having read the book. Most are easily accessibly and most often hilarious. I'm not sure I'd have been happy to buy this, but since it was a loan from the library, I was happy to while away 30 minutes and will be happy to share it with someone else soon. A highly recommended little literary diversion.

  19. 4 out of 5

    jin

    There isn’t too much to say about this. Fun and easy read that, as the title suggests, gives quick summaries of books. Except I’d say it’s far more entertaining to read if you’ve already read those books because you can see how succinct some of these one liners are, aha. Favorites? The Odyssey: War veteran takes forever to get home, then kills everyone. The Iliad: Not the Odyssey. The Lord of the Rings Trilogy: Middle-earth's epic jewelry return policy. 1984: Vision of a dystopian future (now called There isn’t too much to say about this. Fun and easy read that, as the title suggests, gives quick summaries of books. Except I’d say it’s far more entertaining to read if you’ve already read those books because you can see how succinct some of these one liners are, aha. Favorites? The Odyssey: War veteran takes forever to get home, then kills everyone. The Iliad: Not the Odyssey. The Lord of the Rings Trilogy: Middle-earth's epic jewelry return policy. 1984: Vision of a dystopian future (now called Tuesday).

  20. 5 out of 5

    Kristin

    This collection of book summaries uses graphic representation as well as short phrases to summarize up some of the well-known literature. They are very humorous, but you have to know something about the book before understanding the humor. This book ould start some interesting discussions in a book club and would make a fun writing assignment in a world literature class!

  21. 4 out of 5

    Kristen

    Adorable and often clever. So abridged it only took me about 15 minutes to read the whole thing, otherwise I would've given it more stars! Also made me want to read The Mysteries of Udolpho because now I know it is "Gothic Scooby-Doo. With lots of secret passages, fainting, and punctuation." What could be better?

  22. 5 out of 5

    Samuele

    This is a funny, witty and silly reading. I don’t like reading classics and I think that this book is the perfect way to know them ahahah! No, I’m kidding, but if you want to read something quick and make some laugh, here it is.

  23. 5 out of 5

    Donna Ciriello

    A must read!

  24. 4 out of 5

    Vlada

    An amusing little book that can be finished in 10 minutes flat.

  25. 4 out of 5

    Jesse

    A classic work about classic works.

  26. 4 out of 5

    Danielle

    This is genuinely HILARIOUS and I love it

  27. 5 out of 5

    Sarah

    This was a viral internet comic that somehow turned into a book. (It didn't need to be a book.) Mildly amusing one-liner jokes about classic literature.

  28. 5 out of 5

    Lauren Salisbury

    Accurate. This would make a great graduation gift for an English major!

  29. 5 out of 5

    H

    Abridged Classics well lived up to it's name. It condenses all of those books that you were supposed to read and those classics you think you "should" read (to be a better human being and appear more learned). How can you not like a book that encapsulates the play Waiting for Godot as "Still waiting"? Well worth the fifteen minutes you will spend reading this tiny tome. You will chuckle and finally understand what the main idea of Albet Camus's The Stranger happens to be.

  30. 5 out of 5

    Natalie (Natflix&Books)

    3.5 Completely silly and takes five minutes to read...but fun. Favorites: Pride and Prejudice: Girl hates wealthy aristocrat. Wait, no she doesn't. Lord of the Rings: Middle-earth's epic jewelry return policy. The Lion, the Witch, and the Wardrobe: A lion eats a witch in a closet. Some kids watch. The lion is Jesus.

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