If TV Guide Wrote Classic Book Summaries

Ever read the local TV listings and marvel at their ability to cram the plot of an epic film into just a few words? Unfortunately, sometimes space constraints mean they might have to overlook a few of the nuances.

So this had me thinking, what if the same folks who summarize television shows and movies had to write up listings for classic books?

Well, I think they might go something like this:

  • The Telltale Heart, by Edgar Allen Poe. Half-blind elderly man gets in bad rental situation.
  • Moby Dick by Herman Melville. Sports fishing contest strains nerves.
  • Wuthering Heights by Emily Bronte. A young man's lifelong struggle with anger management issues, domestic abuse and hygiene problems.
  • Romeo and Juliet by William Shakespeare. Hormonal teens and their families enact Jerry Springer-like drama.
  • The Scarlett Letter by Nathaniel Hawthorne. Single mother makes "A" of herself with local preacher.
  • Connecticut Yankee in King Arthur's Court by Mark Twain. Head injury patient experiences a couple of rough knights.
  • To Kill a Mockingbird by Harper Lee. Coming of age tale says "Boo" to racism.
  • The Odyssey by Homer. Ancient Greek goes on road-trip, meeting a rag-tag team of misfits along the way.
  • Jane Eyre by Charlotte Bronte. Teacher strives to overcome classism, sexism and an erratic, non-union employment situation.
  • The Count of Monte Cristo by Alexandre Dumas. Frenchman in frame-job seeks justice, revenge, and inspires tasty sandwich.
  • Bridge of San Luis Rey by Thornton Wilder- Shoddy public works department effort in Peru leads to potential lawsuit.
  • Alice in Wonderland by Lewis Carroll- Indigestion of picnic lunch triggers colorful socio-political dream sequence.
  • Jude the Obscure by Thomas Hardy. Jude carries pain of the world on his shoulders before getting McCartney's good advice.
  • Frankenstein by Mary Shelley. Rejection of adopted child with a disability turns love to hate and overseas travel.
  • Lolita by Vladimir Nabokov. Amber Alert candidate goes too far with real-life MySpace page and child predator.
  • Gulliver's Travels by Jonathan Swift. Man acts as connection between bigwigs and the little people.
  • Pride and Prejudice by Jane Austen. Five sisters in rural district seek 29 dimensions of compatibility before the invention of online dating.
  • Picture of Dorian Gray by Oscar Wilde. An artist finds a corrupt male model puts too much of himself into his work.

Have any you'd like to add to this list? Just let me know!


Da Old Man said...

Great Concept. :)

How about Of Mice and Men by John Steinbeck: Two pals find more than they bargained for at work.

Jenn Thorson said...

Da Old Man- Ah, good one! Nice addition. :)

Prefers Her Fantasy Life said...

Animal Farm -- a bunch of farm animals discover their slogan "We will work harder" doesn't work and need a government bail out.

Oh, wait a minute....I'm confused. But great post!!

Jenn Thorson said...

Meg- NICE!-- Orwell would have appreciated the updated satire, I think. :)

Nanny Goats In Panties said...

This was genius. I'm going to go stumble this right now!

Jenn Thorson said...

Nanny Goats- Hey, thanks a bunch! Much appreciated.

Melanie said...

ROFLOL! Too funny. And it just so happens, I saw "Tale of Two Cities" summarized on the tv screen this morning. London lawyer makes ultimate sacrifice for love during reign of terror.

Jenn Thorson said...

Melanie- Ah, I can always count on you, Melanie, to get in the spirit of things here! :) Excellent.

Anna Lefler said...

Oh, man, Jenn...these are AWESOME!

(You can't see me, but I'm making vigorous bowing motions toward you right now...)

Literate AND funny! My favorite!!!!



GrumpyOldCoder said...

Lol! How about:

The Old Man and the Sea: An old man goes fishing but doesn't have much luck.

Jenn Thorson said...

Anna- Hey, you don't know how delighted I am that folks get it and play along! THAT'S the real heart-cockle warmer. :) Thanks a bunch.

GrumpyOldCoder- Excellent-- thanks for tackling (pun coincidental) Hemingway for us!

Anonymous said...

"Can anyone summarize war and peace ?"

Jenn Thorson said...

Jaffer- Well, I'm out of the running, as I haven't made the attempt to read that particular one. :) Maybe some brave soul will step forward. Jaffer?? Are you volunteering? :)

Dougist said...

A Christmas Carol by Charles Dickens - Old and new friends come over for a visit

Here's my shot at Count Leo's work...

War and Peace by Leo Tolsty - Six Russians encounter thousands of others as slavic emotions erupt.


Anonymous said...

@Jenn Thorson - I didn't even survive reading the summary on Wikipedia !

So many characters, so many stories ...zzz...zzz...zzz...

Jenn Thorson said...

Doug- Heh, and several of the thousand having some iteration of the name "Ivan" in it. :) Brave fellow for stepping forward and giving us Leo.

Jaffer- Seriously! Not easy to pare that down into a few words.

Jay said...

Oh, at last!! I was locked out of all Blogger blogs - they seemed to think I was a spybot. Cheek!! All's well now, but I couldn't post a thing for a while there!

I love these - yes, indeed, the TV guide has a language all of its own doesn't it? LOL!

Jenn Thorson said...

Jay- Oh, well certainly glad to have you back among the Blogger. I will vouch for you not being a nefarious spy.

hammy said...

To Kill a Mockingbird by Harper Lee. Coming of age tale says "Boo" to racism.

:) That was quite a hoot. Loved this.


Jenn Thorson said...

Hey, thanks, Hammy!! :)

John J Savo, the Authoring Auctioneer said...



Anonymous said...

Love the concept. I wish I thought of it.

You've been Stumbled.

Jenn Thorson said...

John and Unicorns- Hey thanks, folks! :)