May 31, 2007 7:06 AM   Subscribe

Great idea! The trouble with the novel is that it lacks an executive summary - that most necessary of visual aids for time-poor readers. But, merely by perusing the first line of a work, one can instantly glean the intense artistic themes of the book without the needless eyestrain and plunging productivity that are the horrible symptoms of actual reading.

"A green hunting cap squeezed the top of the fleshy balloon of a head," for example: just read that single line and be transported to the land of the Balloon people, whose life and joy lies in hunting and colourful headwear. Yet their idyllic lifestyle is threatened by global warming, which phenomenon is gradually expanding their thin, rubber heads, leading inexorably to death by cranial explosion. Can Squeaky Stretchface and his courageous friends save Balloon land? Or will Rubber Johnie's love affair with Martha the Cactus bring about his downfall? You'll laugh, you'll cry - but you won't waste time reading more than 14 words. Five stars.
posted by the quidnunc kid at 8:02 AM on May 31, 2007 [3 favorites]

Yeah, I've actually been reading twitterlit. I've gotten a couple books out of the library based on it, even. A nifty idea!
posted by the dief at 8:07 AM on May 31, 2007

Another good name for this would be
posted by brundlefly at 8:37 AM on May 31, 2007

I got the first one, about the balloon head. Didn't get most of the others.

The one that got me was "I am not entirely content with the degree of whiteness in my life." My first thought was, "Hey! A book about living on the soccer mom-filled Peninsula of San Francisco!"

Damned Antarctica.
posted by miss lynnster at 8:44 AM on May 31, 2007

a link to Amazon so readers can see what book the line is from. Why? Because it's fun!

This seems scamy. The referal ID is being hidden behind a tinyurl.
posted by stbalbach at 8:58 AM on May 31, 2007

"This is a labor of hate."

Succinct, punchy analysis of Tony Blair's Prime Ministry. Particularly successful is the use of the U.S. spelling of "Labour" - intimating that Blair will always be thought of as Bush's lapdog, while also savagely satirising his failure to deliver on "education, education, education".

But the hatred the electorate now feels for Blair is surely mirrored in the hate Chancellor of the Exchequer Gordon Brown feels for him, and thus the final irony is that it is this double work - or "labour" - of hate that creates the love that the U.K. feels for its new, Scottish Prime Minister. A masterpiece of political science.
posted by the quidnunc kid at 9:01 AM on May 31, 2007

Meh, grod and I did this years ago.
posted by cmonkey at 9:19 AM on May 31, 2007

This seems scamy. The referal ID is being hidden behind a tinyurl.

RTF sidebar.
posted by dhartung at 9:25 AM on May 31, 2007

"The Beaufort Scale takes the weather's blood pressure."

Dr Beaufort Scale is always getting involved in one wacky adventure after another. When he hears (from his friend Harold Hippie) that the planet's climate is in trouble, he immediately rushes off, stethoscope in hand, to give the atmosphere a thorough medical examination. But where to insert the thermometer? Hilarious high-jinx disguise a serious message of environmental scepticism in another winning children's story from Exxon's Family Literature Department. I particularly like the oil paintings that illustrate the work - and they say that oil is bad for the planet! HA HA HA! Oh, Harold, will you never learn?
posted by the quidnunc kid at 9:33 AM on May 31, 2007 [3 favorites]

cmonkey, thank you for the link to the earlier post, there are some wonderful first lines in there:

"On most women flesh was flesh, but on her it was an invitation to dine." -- Mickey Spillane

"It wasn't a dark and stormy night. It should have been, but that's the weather for you" - Good Omens.
posted by ceri richard at 10:25 AM on May 31, 2007

Twitter is the bright line between me and all those fucking kids on my lawn.
posted by everichon at 11:09 AM on May 31, 2007

This is a surprisingly neat use for an otherwise totally stupid application.

(I say this as someone who has a Twitter account but no idea why this is necessary in life.)
posted by grapefruitmoon at 11:32 AM on May 31, 2007

I'm with you, grapefruitmoon. I don't quite get Twitter (although this sounds neat). I only use it to get updates on my father's travels as well Bay Area earthquake notices from the USGS.
posted by brundlefly at 2:15 PM on May 31, 2007

"My mother is a virgin."

And this one does not go to Cardinal Blutschpiller's oeuvre?
posted by sour cream at 2:39 PM on May 31, 2007

A is for Amy. A is for Amy who fell down the stairs.

Baily/Coy Books here in Seattle does this every day on their sidewalk sign. If you can guess the which book the line is from you gets a discount.
posted by YoBananaBoy at 4:05 PM on May 31, 2007

Unexpectedly fun and interesting! Thanks.
posted by nickyskye at 4:13 PM on May 31, 2007

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