14 Classic Novels in 140 Characters or Fewer

If you’re a student heading back to school, you have a lot of learning ahead of you, and part of the curriculum is bound to be reading some of the classics of English literature. But in today’s fast-paced, texting-obsessed, “tl;dr” society, it can be hard to find the time to read a whole book, let alone a bunch of them. For those who are pressed for time or just have short attention spans, we present 14 famous novels, each condensed into the length of a tweet. Perhaps these will pique your interest enough to make you want to take the time to read the books (which you should; they’re classics for a reason). Enjoy, and be warned: Spoilers abound!

Disclaimer: Reading this list will not be enough to help you pass English class.

He who controls the written word controls your memories and your thoughts. Big Brother is watching. War is constant. Ignorance is strength.
Mysterious woman appears at home of escaped slaves. Is she the daughter killed to keep her out of slavery? Past trauma consumes the present.

In the future, books are banned. Book-burner realizes we need them so we’ll learn from the past. Made to burn his home, he kills boss, runs.


If you don’t take responsibility for the horrifying thing you created, it might literally haunt you and ruin your entire life.


Chance encounter has a big impact. Pip is manipulated financially, emotionally by all except his adoptive dad. Money can’t buy happiness.


“Sivilized”? No way. Runaway slave’s a good friend during river adventures on the run. (“N-word”? That’s just how we talk.)


Ever wished you didn’t have to deal with grown-ups? It turns out that without them, boys turn savage and paranoid and kill each other.


I want my own farm someday; my mentally challenged friend just wants to pet soft things and not kill them. Maybe that’s too much to ask.


I’m expelled? They’re all a bunch of phonies anyway. So is everyone else. Why won’t anyone be my friend? At least I have my little sister.


Cheating couple’s actions lead to multiple deaths, ruin lives of others. Long Island seems like a horrible place full of horrible people.


Marrying for security doesn’t work out (twice), but marrying someone you love is better, even if they still treat you badly sometimes.


Santiago finally hooks a fish, but it’s too big. Arduous struggle ends in victory. Sharks eat catch, but carcass restores his reputation.


Woman shamed for adultery after husband’s presumed death, but nobody cares who she slept with. Husband learns truth; minister dies of guilt.


Guy next door is creepy. Why does everyone hate black people? That guy was innocent, Dad! Unfair. But creepy guy is OK after all.

Mindy Young, an editor for Online Writing Jobs, got her start as a newspaper copy editor after earning her B.A. from Russell Sage College in Troy, NY. She spent nearly 13 years editing stories, writing headlines, and putting together pages for daily newspapers, and along the way, she also had the opportunity to write food columns and restaurant reviews. After earning a pair of Associated Press awards and a Suburban Newspaper Association award, she left journalism for the world of content marketing, where she puts her skills to work every day for OWJ clients and writers.

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