If there’s one thing I pride myself on here at Keeping Up With The Penguins, it’s my tl;dr reviews of classic and popular literature. I aim to tell you everything you need to know about a book in a single sentence, summing up the entire plot and my reaction to it. This past year, I’ve reviewed a stack of wonderful books, and I think it’s high time we revisit some of them – the tl;dr version 😉
P.S. If you’re feeling a little out of the loop, “tl;dr” stands for “too long; didn’t read”. It’s frequently used across the internet to indicate a very brief summary of a very long preceding ramble…
The Great Gatsby by F. Scott Fitzgerald
My tl;dr summary is this: a shady rich guy gets taken in by a slapper, and owning a fancy car comes back to bite him in the arse. All the characters talk and act like self-indulgent teenagers; it’s basically an old-timey version of The OC.
Read my full review of The Great Gatsby here.
A Clockwork Orange by Anthony Burgess
My tl;dr summary would be that everyone is evil, there are no good guys, and everything sucks. If you can accept that reality with a heaping serve of extreme violence, then this might be the book for you.
Read my full review of A Clockwork Orange here.
Wild by Cheryl Strayed
Tl;dr? Wild is Eat, Pray, Love meets Survivor. I would recommend it to mid-20s fuck-ups like me, who don’t mind clumsy metaphors.
Read my full review of Wild here.
Wuthering Heights by Emily Brontë
Tl;dr? Wuthering Heights is a bad boy’s decade-long butthurt over getting friendzoned. If that appeals to you, and you don’t have any personal emotional turmoil going on, go for it.
Read my full review of Wuthering Heights here.
The Scarlet Letter by Nathaniel Hawthorne
The Scarlet Letter is a good one to talk about at parties, but if it’s tl;dr, just picture an old-timey Gilmore Girls.
Read my full review of The Scarlet Letter here.
As I Lay Dying by William Faulkner
My tl;dr review: Faulkner drunk texts the death and burial of a Southern woman with a crazy family.
Read my full review of As I Lay Dying here.
The Girl On The Train by Paula Hawkins
My tl;dr summary would be this: a barren, drunk, stalker “girl” witnesses what could be a clue to what could be a crime, and you’ve got to swim through some very choppy waters to get yourself back on solid ground after that. If you’re a thriller aficionado you might find it cliche, and if you’re in a dark place it might trigger some stuff for you: you’ve been warned.
Read my full review of The Girl On The Train here.
The Divine Comedy by Dante Alighieri
My tl;dr summary of The Divine Comedy overall is this: Inferno is hilarious and great, Purgatorio is just okay, Paradiso is a heap of shit. Read Inferno, and don’t bother with the rest (unless you need a sleep aid).
Read my full review of The Divine Comedy here.
The Sun Also Rises by Ernest Hemingway
My tl;dr review of The Sun Also Rises would be this: it’s a self-indulgent story about drunk Americans and Brits trying to fuck one another and ignore their existential crises in Spain, whinging all the while and bruised male egos galore. Proceed with caution.
Read my full review of The Sun Also Rises here.
American Sniper by Chris Kyle
My tl;dr review: American Sniper is basically Fifty Shades of Grey, except that it’s the love story of Chris Kyle and his guns. It’s a few hundred pages of horribly-edited masturbatory anecdotes about war. If you want to learn the truth of war, seek it elsewhere. I would recommend American Sniper to precisely no one.
Read my full review of American Sniper here.
Paper Towns by John Green
My tl;dr summary of Paper Towns would be this: two kids living in no-one-gives-a-fucksville get their kicks running around doing dumb shit, until the mysterious unattainable girl runs away and the boy next door (who “loves” her) chases her across the country. It’s great for younger teenagers, but will probably grate the nerves of anyone who has already finished high-school.
Read my full review of Paper Towns here.
The Turn Of The Screw by Henry James
Tl;dr? A governess goes bonkers and starts seeking ghosts (that may or may not be real, no one can figure it out), kind of like an old-timey Sixth Sense but told in the wordiest possible way.
Read my full review of The Turn Of The Screw here.
The Picture of Dorian Gray by Oscar Wilde
A tl;dr review of The Picture of Dorian Gray: imagine giving Kim Kardashian or Paris Hilton immortal youth, and and endless supply of drugs and alcohol.
Read my full review of The Picture Of Dorian Gray here.
Can you give me a tl;dr summary of your favourite read this year? Drop it in the comments below (or share it over at KUWTP on Facebook!)
December 14, 2018 at 10:41 PM
This made me laugh. What you wore about American Sniper is particularly good. I love your tl;dr sentences. I am not sure if I have heard the term before.
December 15, 2018 at 11:35 AM
Hahahaha cheers Brian – I’m particularly proud of that one! 😍👍🏼
December 16, 2018 at 12:44 PM
OMG these are hilarious!!!!! I laughed the hardest at Strayed. THAT WAS PERFECT, and you should coin it.
For me, Strayed was like a humor-less A Walk in the Woods meets a horse dies and so does my empathy.
Paper Towns: Florida is a shallow, flat, shitty place to live, and suicidal girls rarely seek the professional help they need in John Green novels.
December 17, 2018 at 8:22 AM
HA!!! You get it!! That Paper Towns one is better than anything I came up with, amazing!! 😍😍😍
December 21, 2018 at 7:14 AM
I’ve been wanting to read A Clockwork Orange. I had to read The Great Gatsby in high school but I had a hard time getting into it!
December 21, 2018 at 8:27 AM
Hahaha you’re certainly not the only one who struggled with Gatsby! I think it’s ridiculously overrated, and I fail to understand why we’re collectively so obsessed with it. Let me know how you get on with A Clockwork Orange, it’s such a confronting read… 🙈❤️