If you’ve ever lamented to someone about not having enough time to read, there’s a cure for what ails you. While nothing can replace the feel of a good novel in your hands — and the eau de stink of the used bookstore you found it in — the Book-A-Minute website aims to catch you up on all the classics you’ve been meaning to read since … forever. “When even the CliffsNotes are just too long, come here. Covers everything from Shakespeare to Steinbeck,” the site teases. They’ve taken fine literature, science-fiction/fantasy, and children’s bedtime stories and condensed them into amusing one-minute reads. Interestingly enough, you’ll find that many of them are dead-on descriptions of the actual works. Skip through ten classic books below and check a few to-dos off your bucket list.
The Great Gatsby by F. Scott Fitzgerald
Gatsby: “Daisy, I made all this money for you, because I love you.”
Daisy: “I cannot reciprocate, because I represent the American Dream.”
Gatsby: “Now I must die, because I also represent the American Dream.”
Nick: I hate New Yorkers.
The Sun Also Rises by Ernest Hemingway
Stock Hemingway Narrating Character: “It was in Europe after the war. We were depressed. We drank a lot. We were still depressed.”
The Catcher In the Rye by J.D. Salinger
Holden Caulfield: “Angst angst angst swear curse swear crazy crazy angst swear curse, society sucks, and I’m a stupid jerk.”
Inferno by Dante
Some woman puts Dante through Hell.
Moby Dick by Herman Melville
Ishmael: “Call me Ishmael.”
Captain Ahab: “Crew, we will seek the white whale and kill it, because I am insane.”
Crew: “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.)
Captain Ahab: “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.)
The Jungle by Upton Sinclair
Bad things happen. Worse things happen. Better things happen. Awful things happen. Jurgis discovers socialism and gets all happy.
Walden by Henry David Thoreau
Henry David Thoreau: “A truly rich man doesn’t have money, but rather courage, truth, and an inner glory that transcends the passiveness of our physical beings. That’s why I’m going to live in the boonies.”
(Two years later … )
“I’m getting the heck out of here and getting my pencil-making job back. Um. But what I said still goes.”
Frankenstein by Mary Shelley
Walton: “Dear Margaret: My ship picked up this guy. He RULES.”
Frankenstein: “I discovered the secret of life, and everyone died. (dies)”
Frankenstein’s Monster: Inexplicably, I have become suicidal. (jumps out a window)
War and Peace by Leo Tolstoy
Leo Tolstoy: “History controls everything we do, so there is no point in observing individual actions. Let’s examine the individual actions of over 500 characters at great length.”
Huckleberry Finn by Mark Twain
(Goes rafting. Goes home.)