How to Become Ridiculously Well-read in One Evening: A Collection of Literary Encapsulations kindle pdf –

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10 thoughts on “How to Become Ridiculously Well-read in One Evening: A Collection of Literary Encapsulations

  1. says:

    This takes over 100 classic works of literature and summarises each in a few paragraphs, often as a pastiche of the work itself. Most are poems of some sort (free verse, sonnets, plays, , limericks and others), but there are letters, diary entries, straight prose, and Kafka's Metamorphosis is rendered as the lyrics to a blues song.

    The irony is that, in contradiction of the title, you can really only appreciate the entries if you are familiar with the work it parodies.

    Clever, funny, surprising and varied, there are numerous contributors (including the compiler, O E Parrott).

    One that's short enough to quote in entirity is Claudio Vita-Finzi's precis of Anthony Burgess's Clockwork Orange:

    Young Alex breaks people like toys;
    He's cured by a course which destroys
    His freedom of will;
    Relapses until
    He grows up and... boys will be boys.

    There are amusingly awful rhymes and puns, such as this opening about Don Quixote:

    A sort of knightly Mr Fix-It,
    That's the story of Don Quixote....

    Fans of English cuisine(!) may like the start of this tribute to The Wind in the Willows

    The wind in the willows...
    Spring-cleaning for Mole;
    The Rat's on the river,
    The Toad's in a hole -

    The troubling Lolita is remembered in amazingly alliterative series of "What the Papers Said" headlines, starting with:

    And ending with:
    Othello is given similar treatment.

    Perhaps most strangely, the exquisite and rather mannered story of Brideshead Revisited is told in a series of limericks, such as:

    Next day's invitation to dine,
    On plovers' eggs, lobster and wine,
    Is raffishly bluff,
    Non-hetero stuff,
    Where destinies darkly entwine.

    When this was first published in 1985, I think it was (one of) the first of its kind. There have been many similar books since, some by O E Parrott, but this is my favourite. (However, this sort of collection is not to be confused with the sort of reviews published by Manny Rayner, which are equally excellent, in totally different (and more varied) ways: What Pooh Might Have Said to Dante and Other Futile Speculations and If Research Were Romance and Other Implausible Conjectures.)

  2. says:

    Its does exactly what it says on the tin. Very funny collection of spoofs and take offs of various works ranging from Beowulf and assorted Shakespeare up to the present day. Well not quite, my copy, picked up in a second hand book shop, was printed in 1985 so there is a huge source of pretension and 'up-its-=own-arseness' that has not yet been tapped. Think of all the dross you have had inflicted upon you written since then and all the good stuff too and you can see what fun a new edition could be

  3. says:

    Funny synopses/alternate versions of classics everyone "should" read/know.
    I had to give up on this one. It's meant to be brief synopses of classics, so you supposedly don't have to read the books yourself, but they really only make sense if you've already read the books. Plus, most of the synopses had the same format -- usually written as a poem, either a limerick or with a standard ABAB rhyme scheme. It got boring after the first few pages.

  4. says:

    I can't believe I kept this book for 30 years.

    I am slowly reading or re-reading all the books that are laying around my house and reviewing them. It's hard for me to imagine I would have considered this all that witty even 30 years ago. Maybe I liked the concept more than I liked the actual content. It would have appealed to the English major in me. In any event, I found it dull this time around.

  5. says:

    Love the idea behind the book, not too fond of all the poems, but some of them are quite neat.

  6. says:

    I picked this up from the book buffet at the 2016 BookCrossing Anniversary Convention in Athens because I thought it would provide some light reading on my trip. I was not able to get into it during my travels because it was just too offbeat. When I needed a distraction from my other books, though, and wanted to stick with this month's reading theme of numbers, I snagged it off the shelf.

    The little encapsulations of the books were likely not intended to really educate those who haven't read the books in question, which is a good thing. For the books I had read, some of them were amusing and I could follow the blurb -- some of them I couldn't. For the books I hadn't read but was familiar with, I got some basic information that for the most part confirmed the reasons I hadn't yet been drawn to read them. For the books I had never heard of, I learned nothing, although I think some of the bits were amusingly crafted.

  7. says:

    Many of these selections are mediocre Sparknotes-level parody/summary/adaptations, but there are some true gems here, like "The Crucible," "Great Expectations," "The Odyssey," "A Christmas Carol," and "Frankenstein." For what it is, this can be a very enjoyable read. (Spent an hour this evening taking turns reading with my girlfriend, and we enjoyed ourselves!)

  8. says:

    A good pick-up-put-down book, the title is deceptive -- to really enjoy it, you need to have read the book before reading the "encapsulation," which is a short poem, dialog, or blurb relating to the book. Would make a good present for the (other) well-read person in your life.

  9. says:

    I think the title says it all. "Lolita" in alliterative newspaper headlines; "Jayne Eyre" in limericks, and plenty of other parodies. The more you've read, the funnier these are.

  10. says:

    Far better off with SparkNotes.
    Some of the encapsulations were funny and/or entertaining, but would really only make sense if you've already read the associated book.