Literature for the Imminently Dead
Good evening. Morning. Afternoon. Delete as appropriate. Good. Evening. Good.
HAPPY SODDING THING
As we all know, while most of us are lucky enough have our health, often kept in a secure hutch with a frequently replenished water supply at a temperature not exceeding seventeen degrees, some of us are not so lucky enough. In fact, some of us are not very lucky at all.
Some of us, as it so happens, have terminal illnesses. This means they will soon die, perhaps even right now. Not before now, though, because then they would no longer have terminal illnesses and would have entered the text of this article under false pretences.
Having so little time at hand gives one a sense of urgency that the likes of you may only wonder at. I have experienced this myself, having recovered from a terminal illness earlier this year. Hours are precious; minutes tolerably valuable; days of great import, excepting vomiting-days. One does not want to waste time reading a long tome when a short would suffice. Neither does one want to waste time learning skills and information which will soon be as useless as hats for silt.
No, what anyone in this position wants - and by "anyone" I mean myself, and by extension others - is some means of sampling the cream of the crop without reading, or indeed encountering at all, tedious quantities of unnecessary words.
With this in mind, here are the classics in five words or fewer.
PRIDE AND PREJUDICE (Jane Austen)
Feisty heroine: "Won't marry!" Marries.
GREAT EXPECTATIONS (Charles Dickens)
Virgin. Discovers humility. Still virgin.
THE ILIAD (Homer)
Fight. Games. Fight. Games. Fight.
FINNEGANS WAKE (James Joyce)
Riverrun. Bababadalgharaghtakamminarronnkonnbronntonnerronntuonnthunntrovarrhounawnskawntoohoohoordenenthurnuk! Irish incomprehensibility. The
THE MAYOR OF CASTERBRIDGE (Thomas Hardy)
Wife sold. Guilt. Regained. Misery.
ROMEO AND JULIET (William Shakespeare)
Hormones conquer Verona. Cast expire.
MACBETH (William Shakespeare)
Macbeth king. Witches: "die!" Does.
THE BIBLE (God with co-writers)
PARADISE LOST (John Milton)
Devil pontificates. God somewhat irrelevant.
THE PRINCE (Niccolò Machiavelli)
Teach yourself bastard. Be thanked.
ON THE ROAD (Jack Kerouac)
Bored. Travels. Bored. Travels. Bored.
THE CATCHER IN THE RYE (JD Salinger)
Complain, moan, sarcasm, mooch, MESSAGE
THE ART OF WAR (Sun Tzu)
Win then fight. Helpful, apparently.
DEAD SOULS (Nikolai Gogol)
VAST MORAL EPIC bugger, suicide.
1984 (George Orwell)
Misery. Tortured by State. Happy.
Back late. Wife happy. Mythical.
What do you think, did we get it right? Comment here...
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