Don’t want to slog through lengthy old books like A Tale of Two Cities or The Giving Tree? Sick of being judged by your avid-reader “friends” who talk about books you’ve never heard of? Want to sound smarter without the strain of actually bettering yourself? ...
Don’t want to slog through lengthy old books like A Tale of Two Cities or The Giving Tree? Sick of being judged by your avid-reader “friends” who talk about books you’ve never heard of? Want to sound smarter without the strain of actually bettering yourself? Never fear. In How Not to Read, you’ll find techniques to fake your way through literature so you never have to read another book—ever!
Inside, you’ll find:
• Tips for getting through anything you have to read by reading faster: Just read every third word. (One Hundred Years of Solitude becomes “Many as the Colonel was, that when him ice.” Wow! It’s like a Gertrude Stein poem only more comprehensible!)
• Entire genres summed up in a single page: Historical fiction becomes “Guess who else had sex: Hitler!”
• Literary insults to make yourself seem smarter: “The only thing sadder than you is a Joycean epiphany!” “You’re as weak as a passive sentence written in negative form. And probably not considered by anyone to be worth more than an adverb.”
It’s time to stop fearing those people who keep bringing up Ayn Rand. How Not to Read is here to liberate the world from ever needing to read a book again.
Comedian and Brooklyn bookseller Wilbur gained some attention when he created BetterBookTitles.com, presenting a sort of Wacky Packages approach to novels, all cleverly retitled to succinctly sum up the contents of each book with “fake, more accurate covers.” Thus, Ian McEwan’s Atonement was retitled Kids Say the Darndest Things, and Margaret Atwood’s The Handmaid’s Tale became Sarah Palin’s America. The witty concept successfully continues here in a 32-page section of book jacket redesigns, the centerpiece of this literature lampoon. Wilbur, who views books as “lengthy one-way conversations,” claims no one has time to read anymore (“I didn’t even take the time to profred this bokk”), so he offers tips on looking smarter while faking it: never reread, and buy used books because “someone already did the work of bending the spines and underlining smart quotes.” Listing activities that have distracted people from reading (“Meeting up for drinks at Applebee’s”), he examines banned books (“The Da Vinci Code: Banned for being a really poorly written book”), bestsellers, blurbs, book clubs, censorship, children’s books, classics, literary terms, poetry, screenplay adaptations, misleading titles (“John Updike’s Rabbit books are not about rabbits”), and graphic novels: “American Splendor: A long reminder to never move to Cleveland.” (Sept. 14)