24 summer reads in 140 characters each

21st August 2015 at 11:15
picture of books

They may be some of the most popular works of fiction, but a leading academic has reduced their stories to just 140 characters.

Professor John Sutherland the Emeritus Lord Northcliffe Professor of modern English literature at University College London has picked out 25 summer reads and condensed each into a tweet-sized précis.

It comes after a survey by Samsung Galaxy found that Harry Potter was the most popular book read on the beach.

The series, by J K Rowling, came just sixth in a TES top 100 list of books all secondary students should read before leaving school.

The tweetable list of books also includes many others chosen to be must-reads by the teaching profession. (SPOILER ALERT: endings are revealed) 


1. Harry Potter and the Philosopher's Stone, J K Rowling

Orphan 11yo Harry = wizard! Off 2wizard skool. Temp defeats Lord Voldie (whohe?) + 3 headed dog 2 bag the stone


2. The Hunger Games, Suzanne Collins 

Katniss+Peeta r 'tributes' in dystopian TVised fite2death. P <3 K. K goes wiv it, as luv story=$$$4survival. They win 2getha


3. Gone Girl, Gillian Flynn  

Amy&Nick r married. Amy fakes own murder 2 frame N. (who is rite?) A manipul8s every1, killz her ex. Evil A makes N stay w/ her 4 baby :(


4. To Kill a Mockingbird, Harper Lee 

30s U.S,6yo Scout+bro Jem try2c recluse Boo. Dad=lawyer4Tom, innocent black victim2racist trial. S+J attackd, saved by B & lern life-lessn


5. PS I Love You, Cecelia Ahern 

Holly+Gerry r married. G dies> H is :'( ... But yay! 10 letters frm G each mnth (all end w/ PS. I Love You) makes her :) ++


6. The Girl with the Dragon Tattoo, Stieg Larsson  

Sweden: Man hired 2 find missing niece. Girl w/tattoo also investig8s. Find rape+murder conspiracy in $$$clan> exposed. Revenge=sweet


7. The Da Vinci Code, Dan Brown

Corpse in Louvre=coded msg! Symbologist man + cryptologist wman (chased by killer Xtian sect). Solve it: rveals truth bout Jesus!


8. Fifty Shades of Grey, EL James 

Shy meek Ana meets V rich control freak + BDSM dom: Christian Grey. Mild erotica + Xtreme wealth in feminism-free zone


9. Bridget Jones's Diary, Helen Fielding 

20thC Pride+Prej:Bridget's 30+, sgl <3 booze+cigs+frends. Troubles w/diet,job+men + Y are guys crzy abt a grl's 4XXXL undrpnts??


10. The Notebook, Nicholas Sparks

Noah reads lifestory 2 sum1: Bak frm WW2, tries 2get bak w/Allie tho now Lon's fiancee. Sum1=Allie now w/Alzheimer's but 2gether @last! :'(


11. The Great Gatsby, Scott Fitzgerald

V.rich, enigmatic Jay Gatsby finds 1st luv Daisy, Tom's wife. But it's selfish D+T's fault ends w/ Jay shot. Also "Gr8"Gatsby was bootlegger


12. The Hobbit, JRR Tolkien

Hobbit Bilbo <3 home but wizard Gandalf selects him 2 help dwarfs win back gold+kingdom stolen by dragon. Epic w/ elves, orcs, etc


13. A Game of Thrones, George R R Martin

Nobles of Westeros fight/plot for throne of 7 kingdms, while icy zombie types threaten from North + girl frm deposed family gets dragons.


14. Life of Pi, Yann Martel

Dr.Dolittle on Noahs ark w/magic realism: Pi's family own zoo, sail4Canada but Pi lost@sea alone except God...and animals incl. tiger!


15. Twilight, Stephenie Meyer

Bella is nu grl @skool. Who's this mysterious guy? A nice shiny vampire! He saves B from van, men + evil vamp. They fall in <3 + go 2 prom.


16. The Curious Incident of the Dog in the Night-time, Mark Haddon

15yo w/Asperger, gr8 @maths. Idol=Sherlock. Solves mystery of y Mum+Dad broke up, somehow connected 2 pitchforked poodle in garden


17. The Lord of the Rings, J R R Tolkien

Mythic epic: Sauron made ring2rule them all but loses it in battle. Mny yrs + a murder l8r, hobbit Frodo must destroy it w/ wizard+elves


18. Confessions of a Shopaholic, Sophie Kinsella 

Shopaholic Bex has 6k debt! Cook4self + wear same clothes for +1mth?! :-O Mebbe rich men help? No but TV job will! Can shop again - phew!


19. The Hitchhiker's Guide to the Galaxy, Douglas Adams

Insignificant blu-green planet w/ primitive apelike life demolished 2 make way 4 bypass. Arthur rescued by alien hitchhiker + wanders galaxy


20. The Kite Runner, Khaled Hosseini

Kabul. Amir + Hazara = Kite-fly buddies. Foe=Assef. Soviet invasion worsens, Amir unfrnds Hazara. Amir+dad go to US, all wrks out


21. Northern Lights, Philip Pullman

Fantasy:Lyra+daemon in quest4Dust+other worlds. But Church=enemy. Also must stop plot2cut Dmons frm ppl (like removing souls)! Also, bears


22. Eat, Pray, Love: one woman's search for everything, Elizabeth Gilbert  

NY divorcee down in dumps goes 2 Italy 4 gourmet food, India 4 spirituality. Then 2 Bali where she finds balance + love


23. Memoirs of a Geisha, Arthur Golden

9yo Satsu + sis are sold 2 Geisha school. Frnd Pumpkin, unfriend plus Geisha Hatsumomo. WW2 begins with Satsu = winnr, Japan = losr.


24. One Day, David Nicholls

1day thru yrs. 15jul, Dextr+Emmagradu8+hav 1nitestnd. Life promising. Then: marriage, loss, breakdown :'(



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