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 – 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.
A Clockwork Orange – 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.
Wild – 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.
Wuthering Heights – 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.
The Scarlet Letter – 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.
As I Lay Dying – William Faulkner
My tl;dr review: Faulkner drunk texts the death and burial of a Southern woman with a crazy family.
The Girl On The Train – 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.
The Divine Comedy – 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).
The Sun Also Rises – 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.
American Sniper – 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.
Paper Towns – 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.
The Turn Of The Screw – 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.
The Picture of Dorian Gray – 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.
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!)