Archive

Posts Tagged ‘sparknotes’

Book Review: Long Story Short: 100 Classic Books in 3 Panels by Lisa Brown

Image of a book cover. A drawing of a woman at a table saying "Done!". To her right three drawings summarize Moby Dick. In the first, a man with a spyglass stands on a ship's deck. In the second, a white whale is in the foreground while a ship is in the background. In the third, the white whale is eating a man.

For English literature lovers who want to explain why they loved…or hated…a classic in one comic.

Summary:
100 pithy and skewering three-panel literary summaries, from curriculum classics like Don Quixote, Lord of the Flies, and Jane Eyre to modern favorites like Beloved, The Brief Wondrous Life of Oscar Wao, and Atonement, conveniently organized by subjects including “Love,” “Sex,” “Death,” and “Female Trouble.” 

Review:
I became interested in this book because the amazing website American Indians in Children’s Literature described the comic about Little House on the Prairie but when I checked out the link I found the comic gone and a prompt about the book. In fairness, it had been more than 12 years since that article was published so I’m not too surprised Lisa Brown got a book deal in the meantime. It came in quite quickly for me from the library, and I read it in less than 30 minutes.

Rather than being organized by time period, the classics are organized by topic like “Love” and “Death.” This is also an inclusive definition of classics including ancient literature like Beowulf to modern pieces like The Fault in Our Stars. I like her illustration style. It’s colorful and engaging. You can see examples of actual panels from the book on her website. (It doesn’t include the Little House one but it does include one of my other favorites from the book – Edgar Allan Poe.)

You might think this is a way to Sparknotes your way through 100 books. This is not the case. The comics that were the funniest and most meaningful were the ones for books I had read. The ones for pieces I hadn’t fell kind of flat for me. This is actually sort of like a collection of inside jokes from one reader to another, and in order for the inside joke to make sense, you have to have read the book in question. That said, a couple of the comics for books I had read fell flat for me because I felt like they missed the point of the book. For example, I felt like the comic summary of Their Eyes Were Watching God was a very poor summary of an absolutely amazing book. So my experience of the comics was kind of all over the place.

Overall, this is an interesting collection of short comics drawn in an engaging manner. Recommended to big readers who want a couple of inside joke style chuckles. It could also make a good gift to a big reader you know.

If you found this review helpful, please consider tipping me on ko-fi, checking out my digital items available in my ko-fi shop, buying one of my publications, or using one of my referral/coupon codes. Thank you for your support!

3 out of 5 stars

Length: 80 pages – novella

Source: Library

Buy It (Amazon or Bookshop.org)