You know how sometimes, you’ll have a funny thought about a book, summarizing its literary or popular appeal or its overarching message in a single witty phrase? No? Well, Dan Wilbur, a stand-up comic and writer, is brilliant at this. His blog, Better Book Titles, is, as he describes it, “for people who do not have thousands of hours to read book reviews or blurbs or first sentences. I will cut through all the cryptic crap, and give you the meat of the story in one condensed image. Now you can read the greatest literary works of all time in mere seconds!” I’ve been meaning to share this great blog with you all, because at its funniest, it is laugh-out-loud, wickedly clever.
What Wilbur does is Photoshop real book jackets, replacing each title with a sly, humorously revised title that does one of several amusing things: 1) reduces the entire plot to a single, often withering, phrase (Lolita becomes Likable Rapists); 2) comments on a book’s role in popular culture (The Girl with the Dragon Tattoo is retitled This Is the First Book I’ve Read in Six Years); 3) highlights one memorable, but perhaps not primary, aspect of the story (To Kill a Mockingbird is retitled My Dad Is Cooler Than Your Dad), 4) makes a political statement (A Handmaid’s Tale becomes Sarah Palin’s America) or 5) creates a mash-up of books and movies or books and books (Blankets becomes She’s Just Not That Into You).
Wilbur’s Photoshopping skills are as sharp as his sense of humor. Scroll the archives; there are many children’s books lampooned within. Babar becomes French Colonialism for Kids. Oh, the Places You’ll Go! becomes Last Minute Graduation Gift. The Giving Tree becomes Call Your Mom. How can we resist this blog?!
A few more funnies from the Archive (which is well worth spending time in):
One of the best things about the blog is that readers are invited to submit their own clever ideas. You, dear readers, are the perfect audience for this! So head over to BBT, browse around, and then send your devastating submissions to dwilbs [at] gmail [dot] com. (Heck, when you’re done with that, head on over to the latest New Yorker caption contest.)
Have a creative Monday!