Thursday, May 19, 2016

Without Swiping

Twitter-compliant summaries by John Atkinson
Before everything written before 1950 was declared irrelevant, we had to read the Great Books. My adolescent mind couldn't fathom why they were Great in the first place. Why, for example, did I have to plow through nearly a thousand pages to get to the climactic battle with the whale? Or to suffer through a like number of pages that chronicled the descent of an unlikeable loser in An American Tragedy?

I often snuck peeks at Cliff's Notes or even a Classics Illustrated comic, not to escape reading the masterworks, but just to find out what was going on in plain English, without all the fancy accoutrements, adornments, and allusions. These venerable study aids, which were once regarded as superficial, are now "in depth" because they are too lengthy for a blog post.

Cartoonist John Atkinson has the right idea with his two- or three-line summaries, all of which can be read on a smartphone without swiping. He still has too many complete sentences, though. Gotta fix that, John.

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