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

3.14 of 5 stars 3.14  ·  rating details  ·  816 ratings  ·  183 reviews
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 tru
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Paperback, 224 pages
Published December 29th 2009 by Penguin Books (first published 2009)
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Community Reviews

(showing 1-30 of 1,786)
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I am Bastet
In the interest of full disclosure, I only read some of these. I started out with the books I'd read, then I started skimming, then skipping over most of everything. The only even remotely funny one was Twilight, because that book is so surface level it's easy to make fun of.

What's wrong with this book is that to write effective parodies of literature, you have to actually understand the literature really well. This reads more like sparknotes in tweet form, and I can't help but feel like the aut
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Scott
Dec 18, 2009 Scott rated it 2 of 5 stars
Shelves: humor
This book was a good idea, but poorly executed. Their claim that they "twitterize" classics was a bit of an exaggeration; I'd like to think that I'm pretty well-read, and I hadn't heard of a third of the books listed in here. Despite that, even for the books that I know very well, the tweets were just not all that clever. In some cases, they went for the easy jokes rather than actually parodying the story. I agree with the reviews on the front page - this really does not bode well for the future ...more
Sarah
This book is a great idea. Seriously.

These two college freshman took all the great works of literature and condensed them into about 20 tweets, all 140 characters or less. The result, at times, is pretty funny.

However, there was excessive swearing and sexual innuendo and most of it was done in tweets for books that didn't need it. I can understand using it in, say, Dracula or Catcher in the Rye -- those types. However, this was clearly done just for "humor" and "shock value." I don't understand
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Namratha
Thanks to two articulate AND disrespectful nineteen year olds, the world’s greatest classics have now been condensed to their impurest form.

While the puritans would gasp aloud and turn red to see the much loved tomes reduced to a bunch of impudent tweets, the imp inside us all is wholly entertained.

My favourite was the hack-job on Romeo and Juliet. Have copied it here for your reading pleasure:

ROMEO AND JULIET
By William Shakespeare

@DefNotAHomeo
@JulieBaby

------------------------------------------
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Cindy
Got this from my Penguin niece. Yes, she's a penguin.
___________

Tons of fun, very clever, but does get a little same-y if you read too many at once. It must have been riotously fun following the re-telling of great literature live on Twitter. All compiled into one dead-tree book, the wit loses its edge. However, I do really look forward to re-reading individual abridgments after reading the classic they are parodying.
Nikki
Twitterature is pretty fun and light-hearted. Don't read it if you don't like the idea of fun being poked at classic books, or things like Sherlock Holmes' use of cocaine to be emphasised, etc. The humour wears a little thin after you've read a lot of them, and it's easiest to appreciate when you've already read the classic in question.

I think this'd be more fun to dip into than to actually sit down and read straight through.
Johnny
This book was seriously disappointing. I read the few sample tweets on the books website when I was setting up a Twitterature review assignment for my students, and the Hamlet and Harry Potter ones are pretty amusing (although I admittedly had to clean them up a bit as examples for my public high school sophomores). I checked this book out from the library as a lover of both literature and wit, but for the most part the collections of tweets are an adolescent romp through Western literature. I w ...more
Michael
Ever wonder what Robinson Crusoe would tweet (he’s twitter name is @iamnotgilligan) about? Probably not, but wouldn’t it be interesting to read? Now you can. Twitterature is a book that takes some of the greatest novels and converts it into a twitter account. All those great books in literature converted into little updates, 140 characters of less. Surprisingly it is very amusing and a lot of fun to read; especially if you’ve read the original. They are some great novels in this book such as;

*
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Aletha Tavares
"Life can offer us no greater treasure than art. It is all that is beautiful, and all that allows a man's soul to take leave of the quotidian trifles that molest his waking mind, to be lifted to the highest peaks of experience, and to peer briefly into the sublime. It is that which removes man from the static residue of time and casts him into the gentle waves of the eternal. It is to hear and to speak softly the beauteous tongue of antiquity, and yet to forsee all that will unfold through the i ...more
Amy Murphy
I really liked the idea of this book when I read the introduction, I always enjoy modernisations, and the idea of literature through modern media is really interesting for me. But I didn't think the book gave true "translations" of classic stories like it claimed, since it included inside meta jokes and judgements on the original stories. Furthermore, I thought the Twittter language didn't feel authentic or modern enough to really achieve its purpose.
Sheela
I've granted one-star to this book because the concept is clever. Taking classic books and making them into 140-character tweets (IN THEORY) is a brilliant idea, but in actuality, authors such as Jane Austen and J.D. Salinger are rolling in their graves. The whole book just seemed like it came to fruition as part of an "end of the year school assignment" and to think some publisher thought it would be fantastic to bring it to publication...well, he/she should be fired. This was an abomination to ...more
Melissa
Very funny and irreverent. Definitely for those who are both used to Twitter and have read the majority of the books (there's only one title in the book I havcn't read - The Devil in the Flesh by Raymond Radiguet - and that book's set of tweets didn't make nearly as much sense as the others. I did hear someone say something about how this is the next evolution in Cliff's Notes/Sparknotes and I beg to differ; this definitely won't help you pass a test or write your term paper. It's just a fun way ...more
Kirsti
Works of literature reimagined as tweets. I wasn't that impressed with the book, but I was impressed that two college freshmen could come up with this idea, write the book, and sell it to Penguin Books. Go U of C kids.

From Ender's Game: "At times I feel inadequate but then realize I'm doing pretty well for an eight-year-old with a murder in my past and an army at my command."

From Watchmen: "Must break into a military facility and visit Doctor Manhattan. I hate seeing him, he's always waving his
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Corinna
idea carina e originale, e soprattutto simaptica, quella di "riscrivere" i grandi classici della letteratura (e Twilight!) sotto forma di tweets!!
Katharina
This was such a disappointment. I gave the second star pretty much only for the idea behind it, because that idea should have resulted in a really cool book. But it didn't.
There are a few lines that made me laugh, but mostly the writers just think they're being a lot more witty than they actually are, going for easy jokes instead of actual parody.
This would have been a 4 or 5 star book if (someone with a sense of humor and talent for parody like) Cleolinda had written it.
Jennalyn
When you work in a library, sometimes you stumble upon books you would never normally read. This was one of those. It sounded funny and amusing. Unfortunately, it mostly wasn't.

If I hadn't read the original book, the tweets were just confusing - too random and disjointed to follow without knowing the plot of the original book. For the books I had read (or was at least familiar with), the twitter versions were usually silly, always simplistic, and often juvenile. They resorted to obvious puns or
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Katja
Weltliteratur in 140 Zeichen - geht das?
Ich war anfangs etwas skeptisch, weil ich eigentlich nicht so dafür bin, dass man Klassiker der Literatur modernisieren sollte, aber ich twittere selber auch, also dachte ich mir, ich versuche es einfach mal und schaue, ob mir das Buch gefällt. Immerhin wird es ja mit dem "Muss für alle Twitter-Fans" beworben.

Und das Buch hat mich wirklich überrascht, weil es den Nagel wirklich auf den Kopf trifft. Der einzige Nachteil ist eben, dass durch die Verkürzung
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Noa
Twitterature is exactly what it seems to be: literature through tweets. In the space of 140 characters and 20 tweets, Alexander Aciman and Emmet Rensin retell some of the classics of world literature.

The book is short and easy to read even if you are not familiar with some of the works that appear here. It is also very funny, with some tweets that made laugh out loud.

Another case solved. I'm the Batman of Britain
Sherlock Holmes (@KeepDiggingWatson)

WHAT THE FUCKING FUCKITY FUCK ARE THESE FUCK
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Elizabeth
Favorites were Harry Potter (1-7), The Hobbit, and Eugene Onegin. Unfortunately the LOLZ did not entirely outweigh the groans, the fact that it's written by a couple of college boys would explain the fact that the humor is overwhelmingly 'dudish'.
Sue
This book does not "satirize" the classics. It outright mocks them and their authors and devotees with racist, misogynistic, and homophobic dude-bro humor. Disappointing. Don't waste your time.
Rachel
Jan 05, 2015 Rachel rated it 2 of 5 stars  ·  review of another edition
Recommends it for: twitter fans, people who don't like classic lit
Shelves: classics, humour, parody
It was almost tolerable. It annoyed me that some of the events in the famous novels were mixed up, and that there was far too many references to male genitalia. It wasn't exactly ny sense of humour.
Lots of obscure, less known classics used which was interesting.
Despite how critical they were of many classics, they seemed to go soft on Twilight. So much squandered comic potential there.
I did learn some new words and phrases though. 'Pederast' for one, though I fail to see exactly how useful tha
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Chris
Definitely written by college sophomores. Borderline funny. But just borderline.
Jane
Two well-connected, comfortable, teenage boys mock the Cliffs Notes synopses of good books. This could have been SO much better, but that_was_NOT_the_point. The point was to get published, pave their way to uni/grad school and future publishing contracts, and if they were lucky - being well-connected can get great publicists and the fickle public has been proven to buy - get real paid.

As with other reviewers, I read first those of books I knew well, then scanned the rest. Time is precious. Real
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Johnny B. Rempit
This book is a reflection of the environment we are living in. A world of short attention spans, quick sound bites and the never ending search for the next big thing. Right now, it's Twitter's turn in the limelight. If you are not familiar with the program, Twitter is social networking in it's most compressed form. Only 140 characters (including spaces) are allowed for your thoughts, dreams, rants or what have you. As such, reading/interpreting major literary works as 'tweets' is, I think, an in ...more
Jay
The funny died about halfway through. It actually was quite funny parts, and I did laugh or chuckle a bit and read them aloud to whoever was near by (occasionally the cat), but some of them didn't quite work so well.

Some of my favourites-

From Wuthering Heights: The house is now mine. Since the neighbour has Catherine, I'll seduce his sister. We'll see how brave he is when she's got Heathcock in her.

Mrs Dalloway: Perhaps I should jump out of a window too, that might get me away from this ridiculo
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Ashleigh
I really enjoyed this book; I took my time with it because I didn't want to ruin it by reading it all at once and it becoming 'samey' (which I found, even just reading two or three parodies at a time, it had a tendency to do). Even doing that, though, I found myself getting bored quickly.

My personal favourite was MacBeth - it's probably one of my favourite of Shakespeare's and it was the one that I did keep revisiting for a quick giggle. Actually, I really enjoyed all of the Shakespeare parodies
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TheMadHatter
This book was written by two 19 year old college students and I'd take my hat off (if I was wearing one) to them for a really clever idea. They had an unique idea (taking the classics and twitterfying them), they executed it and they got it published in the mainstream. Impressive stuff.

However, this book really didn't work for me. Maybe I am too old, but I just didn't get the humor (most people think my humor is off key most of the time, so maybe that is a bad sign for this book if even I didn't
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Caleb Abel
**BOOK CLUB BONUS ROUND**

Laura and I headed back to my hometown of Rocky Mount this past weekend to attend my little brother’s Homecoming. It’s a two hour drive each way, and thanks to a little Southern Snowstorm, we ended up with six total hours to blow. Fortunately, Laura, being the brilliant woman that she is, thought to buy a book pre-trip that would be easy to pick up and drop just as easily without worrying about remembering silly details like characters or setting or plot. The result this
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SZ
We all like our parodies, don't we? (if not I'll like them for you) From GR reviews to Tumblr tags to a snark of a commentary scrawled in the margins, guaranteed a smile if nothing else.

I used to have this lecturer who was one of those people who'd have some kind of inner orgasm over something he'd say that he'd perceive to be witty, profound or whatever in equal parts. Honestly, he'd have this self-serving wankdom of a smile after coming out with these one-liners like he'd passed on a riddle w
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Sahar Sabati
I never thought classics could be so funny. And I never thought I would appreciate Twilight so much.

Twitterature is exactly what you think it is when you first hear the word: literature via Twitter. Imagine some of your favourite classics (and some less favourite ones that made you sweat in class): The Catcher in the Rye, Macbeth, The Iliad, The Three Musketeers. Now strip them of all the extra fluff, and image these stories told with only the bare essentials – as well as in 20 tweets of 140 cha
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Emmett L. Rensin (left) and Alexander Aciman (right) are sophomores at the University of Chicago. Alex has contributed several essays to The New York Times, is a devoted follower of Napoleon Bonaparte, and is known on occasion to enjoy a game of Bocce, or Pugilism. Emmett is a Huffington Post contributor and an ordained reverend and is devoted to accomplishing his three life goals: penning the Gre ...more
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