Keeping Up With The Penguins

Reviews For The Would-Be Booklover

Describe A Book In A Single Sentence

To celebrate publishing the first ten reviews here on Keeping Up With The Penguins, I’m going to have a crack at something different today. Taking my inspiration from a game I’ve seen floating around on Twitter (you can follow me there, if you like!), I’m going to try to describe each of those 10 books in a single sentence. If you can’t be bothered to read the reviews in full, consider this your complete “tl;dr” summary guide.

The Hunger Games – Suzanne Collins

A teenage girl is plucked from a life of obscure poverty to fight to the death in a reality show run by the evil dictator of a wealthy capital, and she wins (even though she spends half the time thinking about her love life).

The Scarlet Letter – Nathaniel Hawthorne

The author tells us how much he hates the Puritans over and over again, by having a no-good priest not only knock up a married woman but also let her endure the punishment for years while he escapes scot-free… until her husband returns.

Vanity Fair – William Makepeace Thackeray

300 pages of scandal, love and intrigue in the lives of two young women and the men around them, followed by 300 pages of men going to war, men dying, women crying, and long descriptions of fictional mansions (snore).

My Brilliant Career – Miles Franklin

A 16-year-old girl living in the bush wrote a novel about a 16-year-old girl living in the bush, and how much she wanted a flashy career in the city instead of a stupid husband.

David Copperfield – Charles Dickens

The beautifully-written life story of a man who lived through the Victorian era, from his humble beginnings as the thorn in the side of a bastard stepfather to his happy ending as a successful writer with a wife who actually loves him.

In Cold Blood – Truman Capote

A nice Kansas family of four gets merked for no apparent reason, and the story only unravels through the long, drawn-out investigation and trial of the two perpetrators.

Lady Chatterley’s Lover – D.H. Lawrence

A wealthy paraplegic Lord takes it into his head that his wife should take herself some lovers and get knocked up, only when she does it with the gamekeeper he doesn’t like it so much, and they all end up miserable.

The Book Thief – Markus Zusak

The Grim Reaper tells the story of a young girl whose mother was taken by the Nazis; she learns to read hidden away in the basement of her foster family, and figures out quick-smart why you shouldn’t mouth off about Hitler.

Mrs Dalloway – Virginia Woolf

A brilliant stream-of-consciousness depiction of a day in the life of a wealthy socialite, featuring a peripheral veteran who tops himself, which sounds great except that I’m not smart enough to follow it and most of it made no sense at all.

The Catcher in the Rye – J.D. Salinger

An emo kid bails on his education and spends a few days wandering around New York, getting drunk and smoking cigarettes and chickening out of losing his virginity.

You know, that’s actually harder than you’d think! I probably spent more time working out how to describe books in a single sentence than I did writing the original reviews. Still, I thought I’d work up just one more for you so we can play a guessing game. This is a one-sentence review of the next week’s book… can you guess what it is?

A bad boy’s decade-long butthurt over getting friendzoned, culminating in his death – at which point, he and his true love spend eternity haunting their old stomping grounds, while their surviving children enter into incestuous marriages.

If you know it, let me know in the comments (or tell everyone how clever you are over at KUWTP on Facbeook!). And please feel free to share any one-sentence reviews of your own, I’d love to hear them!





  1. Great post. I loved your descriptions. I may want to give this a try myself. I do not know if I am creative enough however.

    • ShereeKUWTP

      April 13, 2018 at 5:59 PM

      Hahahaha it’s trickier than it looks, but I reckon you can give it a shot 😉 Looking forward to seeing what you come up with, Brian!

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