Twitterature- Alexander Aciman and Emmett Rensin
“The World’s Greatest Books Retold Through Twitter”
One of my best girl-friends bought me Twitterature, Penguin Books, for Christmas. If you are a twitter user, or know much about it, then this book offers you plenty of laugh-out-loud segments of 140 characters each. Writter by two 19-year-old university students it uses the # and @ functions as well as some great chat-speak acronyms for added comic effect, and captures the essence of over 100 classic pieces of literature in a couple of pages of 140-character-length posts (the whole book is only 145 pages long). The book claims that it has each story “distilled through the voice of Twitter to its purest, pithiest essence… Twitterature provides everything you need to master the literature of the civilized world, while relieving you of the burdensome task of reading it.”
I’m not going to go into the other stories presented (despite finding them all hilarious), but there is an entry on Pride and Prejudice that was most amusing for me. I would advise getting this book solely for the twenty twitter posts (From the fictional @FirstThoughtBestThought) that have been put in this book. Don’t expect insight, because it is crude and brief and made to be almost ridiculous. It’s also created 100 per cent for slapstick comedy for a modern audience (many of which have not read the novel, have perhaps seen the movie, but most likely only know the basic storyline).
It’s a bit anti-feminist and anti-Austen, but I think that anyone can appreciate it. A special little gem is in the first line: “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.” Which is a lovely modern take on it! If you are a purist, you probably won’t like this, but if you take it all with humour in your stride it is great.
This prompted me to look up “Elizabeth_Bennet” on facebook which revealed some excellently amusing things. @Fine_Eyes who, although not tweeting since September of last year, has made a fantastic effort to do the exact same thing as Twitterature on a more ‘comprehensive’ scale: “OMFG! Collins proposed to Charlotte and she actually said YES!! WTF Char?! Has she gone mad?!!”
Also worth a look is @cafepemberley although there haven’t been any recent posts either. I enjoyed reading this brief description: “Bio I am excessively diverted!”
The book itself has actually received quite a lot of backlash from Twitter haters and overly-zealous fans of literature. Does it trivialize our greatest works? Sure. Does it make us laugh? Of course. So why not? If you like it then I think a more extensive version will be coming out soon including works such as “Slaughterhouse Five” and “Waiting for Godot”. If you check out the website: www.twitterature.us there is a list of the works that are already in the book (and I believe the lighter shaded ones to be those that are in the process of being written!). Not yet sold? There’s some great examples on there of other books including Dan Brown’s The Da Vinci Code and Rowling’s Harry Potter.
Have you heard of any other Elizabeth Bennets on Twitter? Ever twittered about Pride and Prejudice? If so- post them up!