Abridged Classics: Brief Summaries of Books You Were Supposed to Read But Probably Didn’t
Abridged Classics: Brief Summaries of Books You Were Supposed to Read But Probably Didn’t is exactly what it says — a whole collection of short (one- or two-panel) cartoons about a whole bunch of famous books.
It’s a good blend of content. Some of the books I’ve never heard of, such as Ivanov or To the Lighthouse, and a few, you need to know the work to get the joke, but most are familiar, just through cultural absorption, and thus funny. Some, such as Little Women, are technically spoilers, but since most of the books are decades or hundreds of years old, I’m not going to complain.
Since (according to my husband’s lit professor) the pinnacle of American literature is Moby Dick, I’m happy to report that it is included early on. My personal favorite entry was A Farewell to Arms, which reads, “There are no winners in war. And very few adjectives.”
There’s not much I can say about this that you won’t understand just from reading the sample pages below. The cartoons are cute and friendly. There are two indexes in the back, one by book and one by author, that are helpful to revisit favorites. This is a great little escape that will make you feel smarter after reading. Don’t read it all at once, but dip in and out. It’s like a good Twitter feed in print. (The publisher provided a review copy.)
Ivanhoe I only know of because of the classic Liz Taylor movie from the 50s. It was probably popular then, but did not have staying power.
Seems to be a fairly standard historical epic.
Same here, but this mentioned Ivanov, which is apparently a play by Anton Chekhov.