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Abridged Classics: Brief Summaries of Books You Were Supposed to Read but Probably Didn't
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Abridged Classics: Brief Summaries of Books You Were Supposed to Read but Probably Didn't

4.09  ·  Rating details ·  628 ratings  ·  181 reviews
A collection of irreverent summations of more than 100 well-known works of literature, from Anna Karenina to Wuthering Heights, cleverly described in the fewest words possible and accompanied with funny color illustrations.

Abridged Classics: Brief Summaries of Books You Were Supposed to Read but Probably Didn’t is packed with dozens of humorous super-condensed summations o
Hardcover, 160 pages
Published June 5th 2018 by Harper Design
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Average rating 4.09  · 
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Schizanthus Nerd
Aug 05, 2018 rated it liked it
This is one of those super quick (about five minutes) and quirky reads. John Atkinson summarises classic novels in a few words, with each entry accompanied by an illustration or two.

I found I enjoyed the summaries if I’d read the book referenced already or at least knew the basics of the story. For those classics included where I wasn’t already familiar with the plot I found myself thinking some variation of ‘Oh, okay’ or ‘I don’t get it’.

My favourites summaries are:

The Lord of the Rings trilog
Oct 30, 2018 rated it it was amazing
We had so much fun with this book! We read the explanations and then tried to guess the book. “Everyone is sad. It snows.” War and Peace! Haha! That completely sums it up. “War is crazy, unless you are. Orr maybe not.” Catch-22. “Colonialism ruins everything. Also jungle metaphors.” Heart of Darkness. “Two sisters catch husbands. And one catches a cold.” Sense and Sensibility. Tons of fun! 😄
3.5 Stars

Such a fun little book with such cute illustrations!
Lubinka Dimitrova
OK, I'm ready now. Ask me anything about the classics. I've got it. #not ...more
Faidz Zainal Abidin
Dec 11, 2019 rated it it was amazing
I enjoyed this tremendously! Would love to own a copy.
Jul 13, 2018 rated it it was amazing
Classic literature is great, but there's only so much time in your life. This book takes about 100 classic tales and condenses them to one pithy and hilarious sentence, pairs the sentence with a cute cartoon, and voila: a perfect summary. I loved this so much. The sense of humor is right up my alley and the pics were fun. ...more
Mary Lou
Feb 01, 2019 rated it did not like it

By the numbers...

5 - the approximate number of minutes this book takes to read.

20 - the number of dollars that you spent on those five minutes, if you paid the cover price.

0 - the amount of enjoyment you'll get from this book, and/or the amount of time and creativity that went into it.
Jennifer (JenIsNotaBookSnob)
Jun 25, 2018 rated it really liked it
Shelves: 2018nonfiction
Please note, this is VERY abridged. More humorous than informational, usually just a line or two per classic and an illustration. It's definitely more of a humor book than an actual collection of summaries of classics.

It was fun to read though, perhaps a 5 minute read.
Jun 26, 2018 rated it it was amazing
Shelves: 2018
I devoured this in under 10 minutes. My only complaint is that it is too short. I got a copy from the library, but I will have to buy one for myself so I can refer back to it whenever I need a laugh. I adore the artwork and the summaries of classic novels and plays are a hoot.
Meaghan Lee
Nov 29, 2019 rated it really liked it
Shelves: 2019
This review has been hidden because it contains spoilers. To view it, click here.
Jan 10, 2019 rated it really liked it
This was a fun (and quick) book.

I'll admit, there were some *cough*more than some*cough* books in this that I haven't read. I know of them, I know their basic story (in most cases) but I haven't read them. Either way, it was a fun book to kill some time with.
Shannon Glenn
Aug 19, 2019 rated it it was amazing
Very funny light read. Entertaining and enjoyable.
Some of these are funny ...
Really, really funny. I would recommend this to any reader of classic literature. If nothing else, they will get a good laugh.
Jun 10, 2018 rated it did not like it
Neither clever or witty. Unfortunate, since, if you're going to done something that's been before, you should do it better or don't bother. ...more
Thant Zin Kyaw
Jan 23, 2019 rated it really liked it
How to tell spoilers 101

First sentence: Ulysses. James Joyce. Dublin, something, something, something, run-on sentence.
Moby Dick. Herman Melville. Man vs. whale. Whale wins.
War and Peace. Leo Tolstoy. Everyone is sad. It snows.

Premise/plot: What you see is what you get...for the most part. Each classic book featured has an illustration (sometimes two) and a few sentences. It's as concise as can be.

Peter Pan. J.M. Barrie. Some kids and a crocodile pester an amputee.

Wuthering Heights. Emily Bronte. A sort-of brother a
Jun 01, 2019 rated it really liked it
a short humorous book full of short humorous summaries of famous and/or classic books (ex--"War and Peace: Everyone is sad. it snows." or "Little Women: Four sisters get married. Except Beth." ouch, John. too soon.) accompanied by humorous art. This is a fun fast read, whether or not you've read the featured books. I shared excerpts and laughs over them with both my coworkers and my spouse. There were only one or two summaries that I simply didn't get, not having read the book. Most are easily a ...more
Aug 05, 2018 rated it really liked it
Shelves: humour, 2018
There isn’t too much to say about this. Fun and easy read that, as the title suggests, gives quick summaries of books. Except I’d say it’s far more entertaining to read if you’ve already read those books because you can see how succinct some of these one liners are, aha.


The Odyssey: War veteran takes forever to get home, then kills everyone.
The Iliad: Not the Odyssey.
The Lord of the Rings Trilogy: Middle-earth's epic jewelry return policy.
1984: Vision of a dystopian future (now called
Nov 20, 2018 rated it liked it
Adorable and often clever. So abridged it only took me about 15 minutes to read the whole thing, otherwise I would've given it more stars! Also made me want to read The Mysteries of Udolpho because now I know it is "Gothic Scooby-Doo. With lots of secret passages, fainting, and punctuation." What could be better? ...more
This collection of book summaries uses graphic representation as well as short phrases to summarize up some of the well-known literature. They are very humorous, but you have to know something about the book before understanding the humor. This book ould start some interesting discussions in a book club and would make a fun writing assignment in a world literature class!
Oct 06, 2018 rated it really liked it
This is a funny, witty and silly reading. I don’t like reading classics and I think that this book is the perfect way to know them ahahah!
No, I’m kidding, but if you want to read something quick and make some laugh, here it is.
Natalie (Natflix&Books)
Jun 22, 2018 rated it really liked it

Completely silly and takes five minutes to read...but fun. Favorites:

Pride and Prejudice: Girl hates wealthy aristocrat. Wait, no she doesn't.

Lord of the Rings: Middle-earth's epic jewelry return policy.

The Lion, the Witch, and the Wardrobe: A lion eats a witch in a closet. Some kids watch. The lion is Jesus.
Jun 22, 2018 rated it it was amazing
A classic work about classic works.
Ellie Dottie
Jul 08, 2018 rated it really liked it
This is pretty funny!
Jul 18, 2018 rated it really liked it
Abridged Classics well lived up to it's name. It condenses all of those books that you were supposed to read and those classics you think you "should" read (to be a better human being and appear more learned). How can you not like a book that encapsulates the play Waiting for Godot as "Still waiting"?

Well worth the fifteen minutes you will spend reading this tiny tome. You will chuckle and finally understand what the main idea of Albet Camus's The Stranger happens to be.
Kaitlin Drew
Oct 22, 2018 rated it it was amazing
Freaking hilarious and well crafted. A very quick read. As I mentioned this is humorous and not to be taken too seriously and the illustrations are an added stroke of comedic literary gold!!
Oct 27, 2018 rated it really liked it
This is genuinely HILARIOUS and I love it
Donna Ciriello
Oct 30, 2018 rated it it was amazing
Shelves: 2018
A must read!
Daniel Dineen
Nov 03, 2018 rated it really liked it
Nov 10, 2018 rated it really liked it
So much accuracy in so few words.
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