Way back in the Dark Ages, when I graduated from High School, my English teacher gave me a copy of the book Shrinklits, by Maurice Sagoff.
“From Antigone to Lolita, from Beowulf to The Hobbit. The world’s greatest literature is summarized in Maurice Sagoff’s hilarious light verse. The result-70 intoxicating distillations of the classics everyone has been taking far too seriously for far too long.”
It was a small but very entertaining paperback that still has a spot on my bookshelves. My favorite bit, taken from the amusing distillation of Beowulf is:
Monster Grendel’s tastes are plainish.
Breakfast? Just a couple Danish.
Not only were the story distillations fun, they really gave a good feel for each of the stories and caused me to read several of them (Beowulf, I’m looking at you) that I might not have picked up otherwise. Continue reading