Alexander Aciman and Emmett Rensin Free Recommended

When: Thu., Jan. 21, 7 p.m. 2010

Twitterature is a gimmick book, retelling great works of literature (The Red and the Black, The Aeneid, Twilight) in 20 Twitter tweets or less. The conceit in itself is at least potentially brilliant--Ogden Nash, bless his soul, would've had a field day with it. But University of Chicago freshmen Alexander Aciman and Emmett Rensin, alas, are no Ogden Nash. The dick jokes in their Lysistrata aren't as good as Aristophanes'; as for The Story of My Life, maybe pity-fucking Helen Keller seems a lot funnier when you're four beers into the frat party than it does in print. Still, when they get all the elements aligned--snark, goofiness, hip/dumb online argot--Aciman and Rensin are capable of moments of brilliance. There's this entry from Sir Gawain and the Green Knight: "You think if you cut off someone's head, he'll die, but not in Camelot. Fucking Camelot. . . ." And this one from Oedipus: "PARTY IN THEBES!!!!! Nobody cares I killed that old dude, plus this woman is ALL OVER ME! Total MILF." I laughed hard enough at lines like those that I was willing to forgive the dry spells--which is to say that the book reproduces the Twitter experience fairly accurately. --Noah Berlatsky

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