I say return, because last year I had an article called, In One Minute or Less, the Greatest Books Ever Written. It was completely irreverent and funny, so in keeping with the spirit of distilling books down to their ultimate essence, I give you a whole new slew of books.
So throw away your Kindle, and throw away your iPad. Because who needs to read, when you can have the entire book in one minute or less?
Our thanks to the scholars at Book-a-Minute Classics.
Some pigs lead a revolt against people, act like jerks, and play poker.
The Oedipus Trilogy
Laios and Iocaste, your son will kill his father and marry his mother.
Laios and Iocaste
Let’s kill it.
Oedipus, you will kill your father and marry your mother.
(Oedipus runs away and fulfills the prophecy.)
Woe are us. (die)
Dear Margaret: My ship picked up this guy. He RULES.
I discovered the secret of life, and everyone died. (dies)
Inexplicably, I have become suicidal. (jumps out a window)
By John Steinbeck
Kino and Juana
Our son is sick. Can you help him?
Eat my doorstep, penniless bum.
(Kino finds a pearl.)
Now that we’re rich, I’ve lost my spirituality.
Yeah, and I’ve been killed.
Oh, Juliet! (dies)
Call me Ishmael.
Crew, we will seek the white whale and kill it, because I am insane.
Alas, your destructive obsession will be our undoing.
(They almost find the white whale. Then they almost find the white whale. Then they find it.)
I stab at thee. I stab at thee.
(Everybody dies except Ishmael, although this is no surprise, because it was foreshadowed CONTINUALLY from the BEGINNING.)
By Arthur Miller
Abigail Williams, you and your friends are in trouble, unless you can shift the blame to someone else.
She did it! He did it! They did it! Everybody but us did it!
Ah, now we are getting somewhere.
(Everybody gets hanged, which just goes to show how evil McCarthyism is.)
By Joseph Heller
I want a promotion, so I screw over all my men.
I want to get out of here, so I walk around naked and pretend to be sick.
Fine. Praise us, and we’ll let you go home.
No. I’ll desert instead, because I’ve learned that war is crazy, and it’s bad too, because it makes people do really weird things and die. Also, high ranking military officers are evil incarnate.
Easily Deluded Reader
Look at all the subtext. This must be one of the greatest anti-war pieces of our time.
I’m so extraordinary, I can commit crimes. (kills some people)
I’m the spiritual side of Raskolnikov.
I’m the intellectual side of Raskolnikov.
I have reconciled the two sides of my personality, represented so well by Sonia and Porfiry. (confesses)
The Great Gatsby
By F. Scott Fitzgerald
Daisy, I made all this money for you, because I love you.
I cannot reciprocate, because I represent the American Dream.
Now I must die, because I also represent the American Dream.
I hate New Yorkers.
(Gulliver visits some places.)
We can talk.
(Gulliver goes home.)
Humanity sucks. I hate people.
By Upton Sinclair
Bad things happen. Worse things happen. Better things happen. Awful things happen. Jurgis discovers socialism and gets all happy.
By Thomas Pynchon
A screaming thing comes across the sky. It’s a V-2 rocket carrying twelve thousand pounds of symbolism, and it’s coming down on your poor, deluded, postmodern head.