15 Literary Classics In 15 Seconds Or Less!

by | May 4, 2016 | Humor For Writers, The Writing Life | 3 comments

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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.

THE END

 

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.

THE END

 

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.)

THE END

 

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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!

THE END

 

5. Les Misérables by Victor Hugo

 

Jean Valjean: I’m hungry. (Steals a loaf of bread.)

Javert: Criminal!

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.)

THE END

 

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.

THE END

 

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.

THE END

 

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.)

THE END

 

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!

Macduff: Nope.

THE END

 

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!

THE END

 

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.

THE END

 

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.

THE END

 

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.)

THE END

 

14. The Call of the Wild by Jack London

 

WOOF!

(A domesticated dog makes a life for himself in the wild.)

THE END

 

15. White Fang by Jack London

 

ARF!

(Literally the opposite of The Call of the Wild.)

THE END

 

Writer Questions

 

QUESTION: What book do you think should get the Book-A-Minute treatment? Sound off in the comments!

3 Comments

  1. jennifer wooodworth

    Catch-22!

    Reply
  2. John Phillips

    To kill a Mockingbird
    Grapes of Wrath
    Old Man and the Sea

    Reply

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