Thanks to technology, the Internet, and social media, we’re fast becoming a society of speed readers! Inspired by the folks at Book-A-Minute, we took a look at fifteen of our favorite novels and plays and condensed them into shorter (and funnier!) versions you can read in less than a minute. If you haven’t read these literary classics before, be warned: potential spoilers ahead!
Very, Very Abridged Versions Of Our Literary Favorites
1. The Stranger by Albert Camus
Meursault: The sun is so bright. (Shoots a man dead. Then shoots his corpse four more times.)
Chaplain: Turn to God before you are executed.
Meursault: Life is meaningless.
2. Hamlet by William Shakespeare
King Hamlet’s Ghost: Avenge me, my son!
Hamlet: Dad, you’re so lame. Everything is lame.
Ophelia: I am drowned!
Polonius: I am stabbed!
Claudius: I have received my comeuppance!
Hamlet: I am fatally wounded!
Gravedigger: Business is good.
3. Moby-Dick; or the Whale by Herman Melville
Ishmael: Call me…the book’s analog for the audience.
Ahab: The white whale took my leg; I will take its life.
(Many, many pages devoted to descriptions of different species of whale and other sea creatures.)
Ishmael: Look! It’s Moby-Dick; or the Whale!
Ahab: My relentless pursuit of revenge will surely not end tragically!
(Everyone except Ishmael dies.)
4. A Christmas Carol by Charles Dickens
Marley’s Ghost: Change your ways, Scrooge!
Scrooge: Bah, humbug!
Bob Cratchit: My son is dying…on Christmas.
Scrooge: Bah, humbug!
Ghost of Christmas Past: What happened to you, Scrooge?
Ghost of Christmas Present: What’s happening to you, Scrooge?
Ghost of Christmas Future: …
Scrooge: Oh…I guess I’ve been kind of a jerk. My bad!
Tiny Tim: Yay! God bless us, everyone!
5. Les Misérables by Victor Hugo
Jean Valjean: I’m hungry. (Steals a loaf of bread.)
Cosette: I’m so pampered that I have no concept of real life.
Eponine: Guys, I’m kind of bleeding over here. Guys? (She dies.)
Jean Valjean: I have spared your life!
Javert: About that… (Drowns himself.)
6. The Great Gatsby by F. Scott Fitzgerald
Nick: I’m excited to be in New York!
Gatsby: I’m a terrible role model.
Daisy: Don’t name your children after me.
Nick: New York is overrated.
Gatsby & Daisy: We’re terrible people.
The Eyes of Dr. T. J. Eckleberg: Everyone misses the point.
7. Oedipus Rex by Sophocles
Oedipus: I must stop this plague!
Tiresias: You’re blinder than I am. And I’m actually blind.
Oedipus: I’ve accidentally murdered my father and married my mother!
Chorus: Choice is meaningless. Fate is inescapable.
8. The Metamorphosis by Franz Kafka
Gregor Samsa: I’m a giant vermin…for some reason.
Gregor’s Sister: Even though I think you’re repulsive, here’s some milk.
Gregor’s Boss: You’d better have a good excuse for why you didn’t come into work.
Gregor Samsa: I’m so alone. (Dies.)
9. Macbeth by William Shakespeare
Lady Macbeth: You should be king.
Macbeth: I should be king!
Lady Macbeth: Guess what? You’re king now.
Macbeth: I will forever be king!
10. Mrs. Dalloway by Virginia Woolf
Mrs. Dalloway: I’ll buy the flowers.
Mr. Dalloway: Okay.
Mrs. Dalloway: Also, I wish I never married you.
Mr. Dalloway: Huh?
Sally Seton: We totally made out back at Bourton.
Mrs. Dalloway: I have a party to host.
Peter Walsh: I still love you.
Mrs. Dalloway: Suicide sounds great!
11. 1984 by George Orwell
Winston: Life has always been boring.
Julia: It doesn’t have to be.
The Party: Did you do the thing?
Winston: I did the thing.
12. As I Lay Dying by William Faulkner
Addie: Bury me in Jefferson. (Dies.)
Anse: All right, chil’ren, let’s go bury yo’ mama.
Cash: I broke my leg.
Darl: I started a fire.
Dewey: I’m pregnant.
Anse: Mama’s good ’n buried. I’ma marry me a new woman.
13. The Crucible by Arthur Miller
Abigail: Everyone I don’t like is a witch!
Thomas Danforth: Clearly, you are telling the truth.
(Everyone accused is hanged.)
14. The Call of the Wild by Jack London
(A domesticated dog makes a life for himself in the wild.)
15. White Fang by Jack London
(Literally the opposite of The Call of the Wild.)
QUESTION: What book do you think should get the Book-A-Minute treatment? Sound off in the comments!