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

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

by Alexander Aciman, Emmett Rensin

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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 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?

Product Details

ISBN-13: 9781101162828
Publisher: Penguin Publishing Group
Publication date: 12/29/2009
Sold by: Penguin Group
Format: NOOK Book
Pages: 224
File size: 298 KB
Age Range: 18 Years

About the Author

Alexander Aciman was born in 1990 and attended the University of Chicago during which time he cowrote Twitterature: World’s Greatest Books in 20 Tweets with Emmett Rensin. Currently, Aciman writes for Tablet Magazine and Time.

Emmett Rensin was born in 1990 and attended the University of Chicago, during which time he cowrote Twitterature: World’s Greatest Books in 20 Tweets with Alexander Aciman. He writes for various publications including Los Angeles Times and USA Today.

What People are Saying About This

From the Publisher

"Do you hear that? It's the sound of Shakespeare, rolling over in his grave."
The Wall Street Journal

"Twitterature makes me want to punch someone, preferably the 'authors'. They're in Chicago. I'm gonna take a road trip..."
—@damig, Twitter

"JUst f*#%&ng shoot me now..."
—Mike C,

Customer Reviews

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Twitterature: The World's Greatest Books in Twenty Tweets or Less 3.7 out of 5 based on 0 ratings. 15 reviews.
Melissa_W More than 1 year ago
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).
reannon on LibraryThing More than 1 year ago
Great concept! Sixty great works of literature retold in twenty tweets or less - a tweet is a computer message of 140 characters or less. It is a tiny book, but has the full Penguin Classic treatment. You know this book isn't the usual Penguin Classic, though, by the quote at the bottom of the cover: "The classics are so last century" - Guardian.The works turned into tweets include lots of Shakespeare, some Austen, several of the Russian classics, various Brontes, Homer, Virgil, Dante, Cervantes, and so on. Examples include: from Hamlet - "WTF is Polonius doing behind the curtain!" From Dante's Inferno: "I'm havin' a midlife crisis. Lost in the woods. Shoulda brought my iPhone".Lots of amusing stuff. The editors are 19, so there is some level of immaturity, too much cuss words, scatalogical references, and so on. Overall, pretty darn funny. The only one I really don't like and thought was unfair to the original was the Sherlock Holmes one, which is all a series of cocaine jokes. Thanks to Peter for the great Yule gift!
meggyweg on LibraryThing More than 1 year ago
Absolutely hilarious -- though, I confess, it was much easier to understand and appreciate the Twitterature versions of books I had read versus books I had not. (I have only read twelve of the fifty or so books tweeted. *hangs head in shame*)This book very nearly inspired me to join Twitter, too.
EnriqueFreeque on LibraryThing More than 1 year ago
I've never tweeted once. After reading Twitterature: The World's Greatest Books in Twenty Tweets or Less -- at first a nominally amusing read that turned tiresome and awfully unfunny fast once the cutesy tweeting novelty wore off -- it's clear I've missed nothing by not embracing this brave new (and hyper-abridged) culture of the twit, tweeter, whatever.Twitterature is the classics in 140 words or less. Har. Like an evening spent with a bad, linguistically challenged stand up comic. Irritating.Twitterature's individual entries are so short they're like Spark Notes to the real Spark Notes of the classics. Frankly, I'd rather read the real classics. Unabridged.It's unfortunate that the made up word, "twitterature," just so happened to rhyme with the real word, "literature," thus making the gimmicky publication of this co-collegiate-authored book of mostly bad gags, possible.But, on the flip-side, isn't it fortunate that "twitterature" also rhymes with ... "shitterature"? Because "shitterature" encapsulates Twitterature to a "t".
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
The authors could read the original texts.
CoralPA More than 1 year ago
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.
RedBalloons More than 1 year ago
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.
DavidWhite More than 1 year ago
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.
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
writerobrien More than 1 year ago
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.
FeatheredQuillBookReviews More than 1 year ago
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.
Holden-Caulfield More than 1 year ago
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?