58 Classic Novels In 33 Words Or Less

“TL;DR” is internet-speak for “Too long; didn’t read.” You’ll see it used when some passionate nerd writes an exceptionally wordy comment or blog post. If one of your fellow online readers is nice enough, he or she will take the time to skim it and sum up the content in one snarky sentence. You’ll find these few words say essentially the same thing the obsessive author took a dissertation to explain. Since many readers are going back to school soon, we decided to use this technique to sum up the summer reading list you never got around to cracking. (What the hell, right? When else do we get to show off our really useful English degrees?) So think of ‘em as “ClutchNotes.” Read on, feel confident going into English class and use the time we’ve saved you to peruse our back catalog of genius.

1984 by George Orwell

Steve Jobs’ wet dream.

Animal Farm by George Orwell

Actually not about pigs at all–it’s an allegory for the Russian Revolution. Mmm. Bacon.

Atlas Shrugged by Ayn Rand

Sharing is for p***ies.

Beowulf by Anonymous

Do not f*** with other dudes’ moms.

Billy Budd by Herman Melville

Seamen, seamen everywhere…

Brave New World by Aldous Huxley

Everyone gets stoned, everyone gets laid, Alphas rule the world, Epsilons clean the toilets, but The Savage just wanted to be left alone.

Catch-22 by Joseph Heller

War, what is it good for? Absolutely nothin’.

The Catcher In The Rye by J.D. Salinger

Emo traveler’s guide to NYC.

The Communist Manifesto by Karl Marx and Friedrich Engels

Sharing is caring.

Crime And Punishment by Fyodor Dostoyevsky

One crime; a lot of punishment.

David Copperfield by Charles Dickens

Orphan leads crappy life. No magic.

Death In Venice by Thomas Mann

Pedophile gets cholera from stalking little boy.

Doctor Zhivago by Boris Pasternak

Communism is a real bummer.

Emma by Jane Austen

Matchmakers weren’t always online dating sites.

A Farewell To Arms by Ernest Hemingway

Don’t knock up a nurse in a world war.

For Whom The Bell Tolls by Ernest Hemingway

Three G’s of Spanish Civil War: gore, guerrillas and gang rape.

Frankenstein by Mary Shelley

For the last time, it’s not the monster’s name.

The Glass Menagerie by Tennessee Williams

Girl collects glass animals to forget her loser family.

Gone With The Wind by Margaret Mitchell

Money-hungry Southern belle falls in and out of love; should’ve tried therapy.

The Grapes Of Wrath by John Steinbeck

You’ll eat anything when starving, even a stranger’s breast milk.

Great Expectations by Charles Dickens

Boy falls for bitchy girl (see: Gwyneth Paltrow); life of misery follows.

The Great Gatsby by F. Scott Fitzgerald

Don’t trust your wife’s ex-boyfriend if his first name is “The Great.”

Heart Of Darkness by Joseph Conrad

…the white man really f***ed things up.

I Know Why The Caged Bird Sings by Maya Angelou

Autobiography of an African-American bird.

Invisible Man by Ralph Ellison

Man only turns invisible metaphorically. Disappointing.

The Iliad by Homer

Two sides at war. One girl in the middle. Tons of Trojans. Pretty much “True Blood.”

Inferno by Dante

Hell: You do not want to go to there.

Jane Eyre by Charlotte Brontë

Cinderella, if she were ugly and didn’t have a fairy godmother.

The Jungle by Upton Sinclair

You should be a vegetarian.

To Kill a Mockingbird by Harper Lee

No mockingbirds are killed. African-Americans are.

Les Misérables by Victor Hugo

F*** le police.

Lolita by Vladimir Nabokov

Pedophiles can be pretty likable.

Lord Of The Flies by William Golding

Humanity is depraved. Oh, and if you like bacon, you might be a rapist.

Macbeth by William Shakespeare

Murder makes you crazy, man.

The Metamorphosis by Franz Kafka

Dude turns into a beetle, WTF?!?

Moby-Dick by Herman Melville

Man versus food in extended phallic allegory.

Oedipus by Sophocles

Classic boy meets father, boy kills father, boy bangs mother, boy blinds himself love story

On The Road by Jack Kerouac

“Happy Days” was bulls***.

Our Town by Thornton Wilder

Stage Manager spoils the whole play.

The Outsiders by S.E. Hinton

Bet on the poor kids in any rumble.

Paradise Lost by John Milton

Sinners have all the fun.

Pilgrim’s Progress by John Bunyan

When you get to Beelzebub, turn right, quickly.

Pride And Prejudice by Jane Austen

Younger sister cock-blocks older sister.

Pygmalion by George Bernard Shaw

“Pretty Woman” without the hookers.

A Raisin In The Sun by Lorraine Hansberry

Things you shouldn’t blow a $10,000 inheritance on when trying to escape a bad neighborhood: a liquor store investment.

The Red Badge Of Courage by Stephen Crane

You can totally fake being a badass.

Romeo & Juliet by William Shakespeare

Don’t overreact when your girlfriend dies.

Rosencrantz and Guildenstern Are Dead by Tom Stoppard

“Hamlet” without Hamlet.

The Scarlet Letter by Nathaniel Hawthorne

Ho’s gonna ho. Haters gonna hate.

Slaughterhouse-Five by Kurt Vonnegut

Nothing good happens in slaughterhouses.

The Sound And The Fury by William Faulkner

Southern aristocracy according to the mentally handicapped.

The Stranger by Albert Camus

Men are small and lives are meaningless. Have a baguette.

The Sun Also Rises by Ernest Hemingway

Sun rises; protagonist’s penis does not.

A Tale Of Two Cities by Charles Dickens

It was the best of times and the worst of times, and you’ll wish you had a guillotine if you waited until now to start reading it for the first day of class.

War And Peace by Leo Tolstoy

Every war in a big nutshell.

Watership Down by Richard Adams

Bunnies are socialists.

Wuthering Heights by Emily Brontë

Bitches need to get laid.

The Year Of Magical Thinking by Joan Didion

It sucks when your husband dies.