On Thursday, the literary nerds of Twitter came out in full force to participate in the hilarious hashtag #ExplainABookPlotBadly. It was an exercise in both concision (140 characters, y'all) and gracefully missing the point.
It's easy enough to explain the world's most famous books in 140 characters or less. Try this one: Boy learns he's a wizard, spends teenage years fighting nemesis who killed his parents. But it's a lot harder to explain books in a way that's simultaneously terrible and somewhat recognizable. As with other literary Twitter hashtags, this one brought a breath of fresh — okay, musty, library-scented — air to a a social media platform that's often crowded with outrage and selfies.
Do you know your literary canon well enough to spot the book described by these garbled explanations? Answers below.
- Lonely rich dude stalks careless rich girl who likes his shirts. He dies.
- Everybody has the same name in a small imaginary Colombian village.
- Little girl bullies evil headmistress with a piece of chalk.
- The Great Depression was tough for people.
- This one overweight nerd can't find love and then he finds it with an older woman. He dies.
- Misunderstood wizard dude just wants to kill an annoying kid for like seven books. He dies.
- Chill bro that doesn't care about anything murders someone on a beach because the sun's too hot.
- Nice old man can't get 14-year-old to love him.
- [Twitter Embed: https://twitter.com/darth/statuses/510066073987989504]
- A pirate is obsessed with killing a little kid who can fly.
- This one knight seems cool and all, but he's actually a crazy person.
- An old woman seriously cannot deal with her breakup, so she refuses to put her cake in the refrigerator. For years.
- Old man hangs out on a boat for a really long time.
- Eccentric rich dude writes a fake will aimed at a bunch of people who aren't related to him.
- Some annoying warrior bros fight over this one hot woman.
- Almost everyone in the world dies except for a little boy.
- An old man's daughters are mean to him so he goes crazy.
- Wife shames husband for not being cool enough to murder the king.
- Dude accidentally sleeps with his mother and it's gross.
- A really, really, really long day in Ireland.
- Old guy looks like a teenager. Watches high school girl sleep. Her blood smells good. It's so-o-o romantic.
- A woman is really into color-coding her notebooks.
- [Twitter Embed: https://twitter.com/gmelero/statuses/509904329206026242]
- Cynical teen has a great time in New York just kidding he has a terrible time.
Answers: 1. The Great Gatsby, 2. 100 Years of Solitude, 3. Matilda, 4. The Grapes of Wrath, 5. The Brief Wondrous Life of Oscar Wao, 6. Harry Potter, 7. The Stranger, 8. Lolita, 9. Green Eggs and Ham, 10. Peter Pan, 11. Don Quixote, 12. Great Expectations, 13. The Old Man and the Sea, 14. The Westing Game, 15. The Iliad, 16. The Road, 17. King Lear, 18. Macbeth, 19. Oedipus Rex, 20. Ulysses, 21. Twilight, 22. The Golden Notebook, 23. Frankenstein, 24. The Catcher in the Rye