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The Faker's Guide to the Classics: Everything You Need to Know About the Books You Should Have Read (But Didn't)

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From Anna Karenina and Beowulf  to Ulysses and Wuthering Heights, The Faker's Guide to the Classics condenses the great (but long and complicated) novels, plays, and poems of world lit into bite-size nuggets, cutting out the bloated analysis and nauseating debate of other reading guides. Each of the 100 books profiled is a classic that everyone knows but only hardcore lit From Anna Karenina and Beowulf  to Ulysses and Wuthering Heights, The Faker's Guide to the Classics condenses the great (but long and complicated) novels, plays, and poems of world lit into bite-size nuggets, cutting out the bloated analysis and nauseating debate of other reading guides. Each of the 100 books profiled is a classic that everyone knows but only hardcore lit majors have actually read. Now you, too, can: Blather about books you were supposed to read for class but didn’t; fudge literary discussions at fancy parties; impress a date with your knowledge and wit; and slice through the ivory tower to read like a ninja. Each entry contains: a quick and dirty narrative description of plot, including twists and surprise endings, told with humorous brevity; famous quotes accompanied by smartass responses; and the original cover or an illustration conveying the work’s tone (or lack thereof). Brief author bios—including misdeeds and scandals—add illuminating and occasionally disgusting background to each work. All of the text appears in simple, contemporary English, so it’s easy to understand and short enough to tweet. With this must-have guide, never worry again whether a reference to Miss Havisham is an insult or wonder what happened to Moby-Dick. Not reading the classics has never been easier!


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From Anna Karenina and Beowulf  to Ulysses and Wuthering Heights, The Faker's Guide to the Classics condenses the great (but long and complicated) novels, plays, and poems of world lit into bite-size nuggets, cutting out the bloated analysis and nauseating debate of other reading guides. Each of the 100 books profiled is a classic that everyone knows but only hardcore lit From Anna Karenina and Beowulf  to Ulysses and Wuthering Heights, The Faker's Guide to the Classics condenses the great (but long and complicated) novels, plays, and poems of world lit into bite-size nuggets, cutting out the bloated analysis and nauseating debate of other reading guides. Each of the 100 books profiled is a classic that everyone knows but only hardcore lit majors have actually read. Now you, too, can: Blather about books you were supposed to read for class but didn’t; fudge literary discussions at fancy parties; impress a date with your knowledge and wit; and slice through the ivory tower to read like a ninja. Each entry contains: a quick and dirty narrative description of plot, including twists and surprise endings, told with humorous brevity; famous quotes accompanied by smartass responses; and the original cover or an illustration conveying the work’s tone (or lack thereof). Brief author bios—including misdeeds and scandals—add illuminating and occasionally disgusting background to each work. All of the text appears in simple, contemporary English, so it’s easy to understand and short enough to tweet. With this must-have guide, never worry again whether a reference to Miss Havisham is an insult or wonder what happened to Moby-Dick. Not reading the classics has never been easier!

30 review for The Faker's Guide to the Classics: Everything You Need to Know About the Books You Should Have Read (But Didn't)

  1. 5 out of 5

    Amalia Gavea

    ''The director thought he could improve on a time-tested classic but only succeeded in making a total mess of it.'' Call me superficial, but how could I not like a book after that quote? I love reading books about Books and this one is a delightful, light read. The writer chooses some of the best examples of Literature and writes a brief summary for each one of them, using sarcasm and wit. It doesn't try to be funny, it IS funny and this where its success lies, in my opinion. She treats the b ''The director thought he could improve on a time-tested classic but only succeeded in making a total mess of it.'' Call me superficial, but how could I not like a book after that quote? I love reading books about Books and this one is a delightful, light read. The writer chooses some of the best examples of Literature and writes a brief summary for each one of them, using sarcasm and wit. It doesn't try to be funny, it IS funny and this where its success lies, in my opinion. She treats the books and their authors with respect, without being rude. I needed a funny, lighter read, amidst all the literary doom and gloom. I admit I laughed out loud quite a few times, it was very entertaining to read these summaries, as a bibliophile, and think on some of the issues that Witte brings up. Also, she has written one of the best ''Acknowledgments'' sector I have ever read.

  2. 4 out of 5

    Michelle Witte

    So, uh, does anyone have a faker's guide to the Faker's Guide? Seriously, 100 classics is a lot of reading.

  3. 5 out of 5

    Carolyn

    This is the most fun book you can read about serious books! She does not treat her subject with sanctity, which so many English teachers do. That is why we all hated Lit class, right. Well, Ms. Witte will make you love Lit! I think that the summaries for the books I already read were absolutely hilarious and as for the ones I haven't read, it makes me want to read them all the more! This is recommended to anyone who loves books. I do think you'll enjoy it more if you have a few of these already This is the most fun book you can read about serious books! She does not treat her subject with sanctity, which so many English teachers do. That is why we all hated Lit class, right. Well, Ms. Witte will make you love Lit! I think that the summaries for the books I already read were absolutely hilarious and as for the ones I haven't read, it makes me want to read them all the more! This is recommended to anyone who loves books. I do think you'll enjoy it more if you have a few of these already on your Goodreads "read" list, because you will surely be saying with the author, "Yes! WTF?!" Terrifically enjoyable! Don't let the title scare you away from this gem!

  4. 4 out of 5

    Lindy

    Hilarious. This book Is just like having a witty friend give you a quick sum-up of a classic book that you yourself probably would have fallen asleep during and put off for next year's to-read list. Hooray for a cool friend who's willing to read it themselves so you can just take the jist from them, with their humorous opinion on events thrown in. Michelle Witte is the best. She also includes author facts and--if it was--reasons the book was banned.

  5. 4 out of 5

    Kevin Maring

    Remember when you were fifteen and you nearly pee'd yourself laughing because The Harvard Lampoon's "Bored of the Rings" was so freekin' hilarious? And then you read it again when you were thirty after finding it at a yard-sale and you couldn't believe you were ever so naive? And when you picked it up off Ebay when you were 45 you couldn't believe you were ever so stoned? If you're a fifteen year old stoner, you just might enjoy *this* book.

  6. 5 out of 5

    Mary

    This should be shelved in humor. This is worth reading whether you've read none, some, or all of the titles included. I can only imagine how much fun it would be to sit down over a drink with smart, sassy Michelle Witte.

  7. 4 out of 5

    Marcie

    "Snarky" said the sub-sub-title. I can appreciate snarky humor (prerequisite of working with high school students). I haven't read all the classics I would like to have read. Why not pick this little book up? Because it misses the point of classic literature. Yes, "The Old Man and the Sea" is about a fisherman's ill-fated catchjourney, but it's Hemingway's language and sparse descriptions that make it more than "another boring fish tale". Yes, "Pride & Prejudice" seems ridiculous in summary, but "Snarky" said the sub-sub-title. I can appreciate snarky humor (prerequisite of working with high school students). I haven't read all the classics I would like to have read. Why not pick this little book up? Because it misses the point of classic literature. Yes, "The Old Man and the Sea" is about a fisherman's ill-fated catchjourney, but it's Hemingway's language and sparse descriptions that make it more than "another boring fish tale". Yes, "Pride & Prejudice" seems ridiculous in summary, but it's the commentary on British society in Austen's time that makes it a classic (well, that and Mr. Darcy). And when was the value of Shakespeare measured merely in plotline, not in baring of human nature and mastery of language? Sophocles, Dante, Bronte, Fitzgerald, Camus, Conrad ... there is, perhaps, one positive appraisal amidst the 100 classics in this "guide" - which makes the book worthless if trying to decide which classic is your next worthy read. What story seems even remotely plausible, or pleasurable, when summed up in three paragraphs or less? What author's life-in-brief can withstand this snarky "analysis" and judgments? (I could make a connection to high school student commentary on required reading in English...) Skip the Faker's Guide. Enjoy for the original.

  8. 5 out of 5

    Yaaresse

    The negative reviews for this book amuse me, but not as much as this book amused me. It's called humor people. Satire. Sarcasm. It's not literally meant to take the place of reading the original book. Actually, I have read most of the books included in this little ditty. I really hated some and truly enjoyed others, but I often found the Faker version funnier for having endured the original. And really? Witte got the plots spot on. Ok, sure, they were stripped down a bit. Ok, they were stripped The negative reviews for this book amuse me, but not as much as this book amused me. It's called humor people. Satire. Sarcasm. It's not literally meant to take the place of reading the original book. Actually, I have read most of the books included in this little ditty. I really hated some and truly enjoyed others, but I often found the Faker version funnier for having endured the original. And really? Witte got the plots spot on. Ok, sure, they were stripped down a bit. Ok, they were stripped down a lot. But reading her take on A Clockwork Orange or was far more enjoyable than slogging through the originals. Everyone goes on and on about how "romantic" Jane Eyre is, but Witte calls out Rochester for being the creeper he is.

  9. 4 out of 5

    Roger Blakesley

    An appalling book. It's cutesiness wore thin instantly. It wouldn't even enable you to fake your knowledge of the Classics mentioned. The book advertises snarkiness; if that's what passes for snarky these days, I feel sorry for these days. The book comes across as a Japanese children's comic book, badly translated. A book that actually serves the stated purpose of briefly informing you on the Classics is Beowulf on the Beach. And it's plenty funny. Faker's Guide is a complete waste of time.

  10. 4 out of 5

    Amanda

    I really enjoyed reading the summaries of the books that I have read before because they were pretty funny. I thought this book would help me decide which classics I would like to read in the future. Honestly though, most of them sounded uninteresting (and full of sexual content) so now I don't feel too guilty for only having read like 15 of these. I had heard of most of these books but there were just a few that were not familiar at all.

  11. 5 out of 5

    Jana

    Books usually make me feel smarter for having read them. This did the opposite. I could feel my brain cells dying, like when I watch "reality" tv. I will give the book two whole stars for the great list of classics in the chapter headings and for the word "snarkasm" of which the author uses plenty.

  12. 5 out of 5

    CariAnne

    The cover says "Now with more snark, sizzle and sarcasm." Look at that as a warning. Skip this book (the writer seems to miss key points in some of the literature she discusses...and the author is entirely TOO snarky) and read the books discussed, instead. To me, his book was not enjoyable in the least.

  13. 4 out of 5

    Mary

    I get that she's targeting high school seniors or college students who need to get the gist of a book without investing the time to read it, but her crass was off-putting. I'd prefer a cleaner approach.

  14. 4 out of 5

    Tina

    *** 1/2 So I admit to skipping some of the summaries of books that I hope to read some day. Overall, the snark was a lot of fun, and I appreciate the author taking one for the team, if she really did read all of these books.

  15. 4 out of 5

    Shishir

    A jestful book on classics giving a contemporary view of the old classics. (Could not finish reading it ran out of library time - a shame)

  16. 4 out of 5

    Tree

    It was fun at first to read the quick summary of the classics I love with a little attitude added in. Then it grew tiresome.

  17. 4 out of 5

    Dorraine

    The mile-a-minute jokes and almost-outdated pop culture references grew tiresome quickly. Practically every joke made by crossing out the text could have been left out and improved the summaries.

  18. 4 out of 5

    E. Kahn

    Cliff's Notes for people too lazy for Cliff's Notes. This might be a three star for content but I found the girlfriendy prose very offputting.

  19. 4 out of 5

    Jay

    Great funny book hat will save one lot's of time that would be wasted on so called classics.

  20. 4 out of 5

    Katy

  21. 4 out of 5

    Jackie

  22. 4 out of 5

    Staci

  23. 4 out of 5

    Jess

  24. 4 out of 5

    Max S.

  25. 4 out of 5

    Shauna Guthrie

  26. 5 out of 5

    Jurmir

  27. 4 out of 5

    Dragutin Vukovic

  28. 4 out of 5

    John

  29. 4 out of 5

    Jennifer Columbe

  30. 4 out of 5

    Andrew19

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