Twitterature: The World's Greatest Books in Twenty Tweets or Less

Overview

Perhaps while reading Shakespeare you've asked yourself, What exactly is Hamlet trying to tell me? Why must he mince words and muse in lyricism and, in short, whack about the shrub? But if the Prince of Denmark had a Twitter account and an iPhone, he could tell his story in real time—and concisely! Hence the genius of Twitterature.

Hatched in a dorm room at the brain trust that is the University of Chicago, Twitterature is a hilarious and irreverent re-imagining of the classics ...

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Twitterature: The World's Greatest Books in Twenty Tweets or Less

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Overview

Perhaps while reading Shakespeare you've asked yourself, What exactly is Hamlet trying to tell me? Why must he mince words and muse in lyricism and, in short, whack about the shrub? But if the Prince of Denmark had a Twitter account and an iPhone, he could tell his story in real time—and concisely! Hence the genius of Twitterature.

Hatched in a dorm room at the brain trust that is the University of Chicago, Twitterature is a hilarious and irreverent re-imagining of the classics as a series of 140-character tweets from the protagonist. Providing a crash course in more than eighty of the world's best-known books, from Homer to Harry Potter, Virgil to Voltaire, Tolstoy to Twilight and Dante to The Da Vinci Code. It's the ultimate Cliffs Notes. Because as great as the classics are, who has time to read those big, long books anymore?

Sample tweets:

From Hamlet: WTF IS POLONIUS DOING BEHIND THE CURTAIN???

From the Harry Potter series: Oh man big tournament at my school this year!! PSYCHED! I hope nobody dies this year, and every year as if by clockwork.

From The Great Gatsby: Gatsby is so emo. Who cries about his girlfriend while eating breakfast...IN THE POOL?

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Editorial Reviews

Publishers Weekly
The age of Twitter has arrived, and precocious young writers Aicman and Rensin have taken it upon themselves to redo the world's most beloved literary classics for the Status Update generation. Taking the point of view of the protagonist (sometime several), the duo translate everything from The Old Man and the Sea to The Aeneid to the graphic novel Watchmen in under 2800 characters (20 "tweets" of up to 140 characters each). Splitting the focus between succinct mimicry and anachronistic wackiness (from The Great Gatsby: "Two bad drives met. :O," "Gatsby is so emo. Who cries about his girlfriend while eating breakfast... IN THE POOL?"), Aicman and Rensin can reach moments of inspired hilarity; from Oedipus: "this woman is ALL OVER ME! Total MILF." Juvenile comic asides and texting abbreviations abound ("WTF is Mercutio talking about?"), as do titter-worthy internet cultural references (from Frankenstein: "Just did a bit-torrent-style grave robbery"), though the target audience probably won't have much interest in running commentary on Goethe, no matter how clever (or brief) it is. Readers who persevere will find structured wit and classic charm that belie the authors' 19 years, making this a promising curiosity for the wired literary enthusiast.
Copyright © Reed Business Information, a division of Reed Elsevier Inc. All rights reserved.
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Product Details

  • ISBN-13: 9780143117322
  • Publisher: Penguin Group (USA) Incorporated
  • Publication date: 12/29/2009
  • Pages: 224
  • Sales rank: 967,164
  • Product dimensions: 4.90 (w) x 7.00 (h) x 0.60 (d)

Meet the Author

Alexander Acimen and Emmett Rensin are students at the University of Chicago. Alexander has written for The New York Times and The New York Sun. He would like to be a writer, own a pair of John Lobb shoes, and live out his days reading and writing with his brothers in the Mediterranean basin. While Emmett's dream is to be a sea captain, he has settled on a mastery of card magic and shaggy-dog jokes, and on penning the Great American Novel. They are both nineteen years old.

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Customer Reviews

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Sort by: Showing all of 12 Customer Reviews
  • Posted January 7, 2010

    more from this reviewer

    I Also Recommend:

    A good tongue-in-cheek diversion

    I follow AcimanandRensin on Twitter so I knew I had to get "Twitterature" when it arrived in book format. This is a great diversion, quite funny, but if you're expecting the tweets to help your studies fuggheddaboutit. The books are all condensed in such a way to provide both the storyline and a little commentary - in 20 tweets of less (usually less); if you haven't read any of the books Aciman and Rensin condensed you'll be in for a tough time of it because it won't make any sense (the only book in the collection I hadn't read didn't seem terribly funny tweeted, as opposed to "Hamlet" tweeted....which is hilarious).

    1 out of 1 people found this review helpful.

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  • Anonymous

    Posted June 3, 2010

    Useless Parody

    The authors could read the original texts.

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  • Posted April 24, 2010

    A fun read with a really good interpretation of the classics

    I opened this book to the tweets on Anna Karenina. From that one story, I was hooked. It was a great representation of the classic in a fun and modern way. Some people might not approve of the way in which the classics are "re-interpreted"; however, true classics lovers with a modern sense of humor will greatly enjoy this book. Perfect, short chunks that are easy and fun to read.

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  • Posted April 17, 2010

    It's twittastic!

    I purchased this book as an impulse gift for my 19 year old son. And then spent an hour reading it, and laughing. My son loved the gift---and it got the coveted thumbs-up in his dorm room.

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  • Posted February 21, 2010

    more from this reviewer

    Absolutely Hilarious

    Some of the books it feels like the author(s) haven't actually read (and some I haven't ready so I can't tell), but for most of the entries the satire is spot on and brilliant. Quite worth the meagre cost.

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  • Posted January 10, 2010

    The Slaughter of Classical Literature

    This is the beginning of the degradation of not only the most important, and influential pieces of history: but a parody on itself as the degradation of modern mankind.

    Twitterature: Cliffnotes too long for ya?

    0 out of 2 people found this review helpful.

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  • Posted January 4, 2010

    Twitterature lays out the classics 140 characters at a time.

    Have you ever used Cliff Notes to review for a test? Well, Twitterature, by Alexander Aciman and Emmett Rensin, is the Cliff Notes of the Tweeting world, though I do not advise you to use the book to help you study for a test. It is an irreverent look at great works of literature from the point of view of the protagonists. The twist is that the protagonists have a Twitter account.

    That's right. The protagonist tweets the whole book in 140-character tweets using no more than twenty tweets total. Don't worry. A glossary is included in the back of the book for the Twitter uninitiated members among us. This is very useful for those who are still wondering about the value of tweeting in the first place.

    Tweet from (me) @writerobrien:

    Twitterature lays out the classics one tweet at a time answering the question, "What was Hamlet trying to say?" in a manner filled with wit and humor.

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  • Posted December 7, 2009

    more from this reviewer

    An irreverent-and funny!-look at literature via Twitter

    Last night I decided to do a little reading before going to bed. First I read Moby Dick, then I enjoyed a re-reading of Jane Eyre, and I finished by tackling all seven books in the Harry Potter series. Yes, I speed read, but even with that skill there's no way I could read all those books in one night. No, I didn't use Cliffs Notes. So how did I read all those books? I spent some time with the new book Twitterature.

    The brainchild of two college students, Twitterature combines the simplicity of 140-character "tweets" used within the world of Twitter, with well-known works of literature. No doubt some of the long-dead authors of the classics included in this book (The Iliad, The Old Man and the Sea, The Metamorphosis) are turning over in their graves while at the same time, some serious aficionados of these volumes might very well roll their eyes. However, the rest of us will giggle with laughter.

    The authors do a very good job of summarizing every book, zeroing in on the key themes in each. In addition, they inject quite a bit of humor into the stories.

    From The Picture of Dorian Gray: "My wish came true! The portrait bears the grimace of my malice. Must hide it in my attic. Fantastic! Who said that art was useless?"

    From Romeo and Juliet: "Her nurse asketh if I want to marry Juliet. She is the sun but this is waaay too fast. Am I being punk'd? Where's Ashton?"

    From The Old Man and the Sea: "It is pulling hard. The coast is far away. May be home late." Next entry: "Still being pulled." Next entry: "Still being pulled."

    While I wouldn't recommend this book to prepare for a college test on any book summarized within its pages, Twitterature is none-the-less an hysterical look at over 80 books, from classics to modern, popular tomes such as The Da Vinci Code. For those not well versed in Twitter terms, there is a glossary in the back with common expressions. Parents of young Twitter fans take note: Twitterature contains a fair amount of "colorful" language and may not be appropriate for children/pre-teens.

    Quill says: An irreverent look at both classic and popular literature through the world of Twitter.

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    Posted July 17, 2010

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    Posted October 28, 2011

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  • Anonymous

    Posted July 18, 2010

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  • Anonymous

    Posted January 5, 2010

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