Our culture is one of needless remakes, sequels, and the unabashed destruction of the classics. Luckily, literature has been less affected by this trend than, say, the film industry. Sure, there are the “Pride, Prejudice and Zombies” of the world, but for the most part, the classics have remained unscathed.
But what if they weren’t? What if we took classic works of literature and modernized them? What if we took Shakespeare and set it in modern day New York and had Claire Danes and Leo Di– Oh, wait, that did happen. Well, how about we take these classic literary works and modernize the shit out of them? Here are some quick synopses of the books featured in the 2017 Modern-Classic Reading List:
Cash Me Twenty-Two –by Joseph Heller:
Danielle Bregoli is a celebrity. She’s acquired fortune and fame for having a catchphrase and a tenuous grasp of the English language. She has rocketed into the spotlight by being hated by every self-respecting person in society.
But, therein lies the problem. For, as our hate for Danielle Bregoli grows, so does her stardom. We could stop talking about her, but as she tumbles from her celebrity status, we lose our scapegoat and start to actually feel bad for her.
As for Danielle, she could learn how to read and appropriately socialize and not be so hated, but by doing so, she would lose her fame and subsequently the source of income she would need to pay for the caliber tutor she needed to raise her sub-moronic IQ in the first place.
The catch is that you’re damned if you, damned if you don’t. There’s always a catch. Cash-22.
Brunch at Tiffany’s –by Truman Capote:
It’s the fall of 2017 and Holly is a wildly opinionated, jobless, young-adult. She contributes nothing to society but maintains enormous self-esteem by hanging out with wealthy friends who she posts yoga pictures with on Instagram. In one sense, she is a free-spirited modern woman with high-minded ambition and expensive taste. In another, much more real sense, she is a prostitute.
The DM of the Wild –by Jack London:
This short adventure novel focuses on the Instagram account of Buck. A massive St. Bernard who lives in a tiny apartment in Santa Clara. Buck lives happily as a bandana and sweater wearing “Furbaby”, with his owner, Judge.
Or, at least that’s what it says on Instagram. IRL, he is cramped and is left alone in the apartment for 9 hours a day waiting to be walked to a dog-friendly rooftop bar where servers offer him gluten-free-organically-raised dog treats.
Our adventure finally begins when Judge realizes the only thing missing in his beloved pet’s life–or more accurately, his pet’s Instagram account– is a wild and primal sense of adventure. Or, at least, the appearance of it.
Of Mice and Non-Gender-Specific-Pronouns –by John Steinbeck:
The economy is in shambles and displaced from their job as hole-in-the-wall-coffee-shop baristas, George and Lennie set out to follow their dreams. George aspires to be a social media influencer who works for himself and works from home. Lennie aspires to live with George and take care of an eclectic litter of rescue animals.
Upon arriving in San Francisco, George and Lennie realize that it’s hard to travel all the time with no money once their parents stopped paying for everything. So, the two seek employment at a different hole-in-the-wall-coffee-shop. Their boss, Curley, is hard on them and continually accuses them of stealing nitro-coffee and putting too many slices of avocado on the avocado toast.
Eventually, Curley’s wife comes to visit and Lennie greets her with a gender-assuming, colloquial greeting. Curley’s wife is then permanently and irreparably damaged, emotionally. The two are forced to flee San Francisco, and eventually, George becomes a cop and kills Lenny who was actually black this whole time.
The Scarlet Emoji –by Nathaniel Hawthorne:
Hester is totes preggers and she doesn’t know who the baby daddy is. She suspects it happened one Thursday when she totally blacked-out on prosecco. She woke up alone, with a text from a rando’ that read nothing but an emoticon of a peach and a scarlet “100%”. The struggle that morning had been particularly real.
After finding out her food-baby wasn’t actually a food-baby, she has shade thrown on her by her fam, and by her peers, who call her a THOT on social media. There are, however, a few people who know that she is just a badass bitch who doesn’t need to follow the same path as everyone else. They believe that her treatment is straight savage and think the other people should apologize, so they troll everyone until everyone gets the flu from guilt.
Or, maybe, from thinking that vaccinations cause autism.
As I Lay Like Literally Dying –by William Faulkner:
This classic novel follows the unnecessarily-long, incoherently-rambling, social media accounts, of which Addie–an angst-filled 18-year-old girl–has 15 of.
The novel begins as Addie considers deleting her social media presence after not getting enough engagement on a particularly important post which quoted Marilyn Monroe (“just a basic bia like her”). Her internal monologue, as she makes this important decision, is being live-tweeted, and is well written, if she does say so herself.
After coming to the decision that she would make a pledge to take a temporary hiatus from only snapchat, she witnesses her dog get its snout caught in a red plastic cup, causing her to immediately go back on her pledge. It’s clear to Addie that something so amazing– so profoundly earth shattering– as that, could only be captioned with one thing.
Alice’s Adventures in Coachelland –by Lewis Carroll:
Alice is a typical suburban girl. She smoked pot once or twice in high school and did a shot of UV blue with the football captain once. Then, she goes off to college and decides that maybe doing hardcore designer drugs is her next logical step.
One afternoon, while she’s studying lazily in the quad with her roommate, she meets a scrubby looking guy in a white t-shirt. The guy says his name is Rabbit, and he sells her hardcore designer drugs out of a pocket watch. She then follows him to the desert where she finds a magical land filled with people dressed as animals, painted with glow stick juice, all listening to intolerable, deafeningly loud, techno music. She then befriends a man wearing a peculiar hat, who gives her more drugs.
Alice eventually wanders away from the crowd, into the desert. There, she is picked up by the cops. She tells them that she is totally sober, but the cop tells her she is “More than a mile high.” She is then arrested for public intoxication and banned from Coachelland forever.
When she gets back, no one believes that she was in such a magical place. They say they believe her, but she knows they don’t. So, Alice shows them an egregious number of pictures that she took while she was there, but they still just, like, had to be there.