They read books so you don't have to
January 17, 2005 3:56 PM   Subscribe

The Digested Read at The Guardian reduces popular books to 400 words and a conclusion. Recent notables include Belle du Jour ("Sometimes I lie about my age to clients. Sometimes I even lie to my friends. I guess you must be wondering whether I'm lying now.") Crichton's State of Fear ("Author's note: I'm very, very clever and have read a lot and you're all stupid wishy-washy liberals.") and Tom Wolfe's I am Charlotte Simmons ("At least it covered her breasts, whatever they were. Charlotte knew men might want to touch them, but she didn't know why as she had never read Cosmopolitan.") Possibly NSFW if you have an employer with no sense of humor. On preview: Individual Digested Reads have been linked in previous discussions on Henry James and Camille Paglia.
posted by KirkJobSluder (9 comments total)
very well done (but you don't even need 400 words) : >
posted by amberglow at 4:46 PM on January 17, 2005

"Why are you called Hand?" I asked.

"Dunno," he said. "I guess it's the sort of name you tend to find in modern American fiction. It's both meaningful and meaningless."

- from the Digested Read of You Shall Know Our Velocity by David Eggers
posted by Pseudoephedrine at 4:58 PM on January 17, 2005

I'm still shaken by the very idea of the plot of State of Fear. When I first heard about this book I thought it was some kind of joke. Environmental terrorists who cause environmental disasters? Who the hell is going to read that Bullsh...Oh. The same people who read Left Behind.
posted by elwoodwiles at 5:23 PM on January 17, 2005

See also Book-A-Minute, and the excellent The Editing Room for film scripts.
posted by abcde at 6:35 PM on January 17, 2005

I like this a lot.
posted by ori at 12:19 AM on January 18, 2005

What a great idea! Wish I'd known of this before.

My favorite is for Niall Ferguson's Empire:

All things considered, both Britain and myself can look ourselves in the mirror and be pretty damned pleased with what we see.

/so true
posted by mowglisambo at 12:37 AM on January 18, 2005

There is a digest of Ben Elton's latest book. His book looks rubbish. All his recent books have been execrable. His first one was good but he quickly became the worst writer ever. What a loser.
posted by mokey at 1:39 AM on January 18, 2005

Luis Bunuel directed a wonderful version of Belle Du Jour in 1967. I particuarily enjoy the scene where the prostitute's john has her in a coffin while he takes care of business under the thing. Also, I think this may have been the first movie to make use of the "gerbil" reference.
posted by WC_Helmets at 9:26 AM on January 18, 2005

Um. That's a different Belle.
posted by feelinglistless at 2:38 PM on January 18, 2005

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