Texts from Jane Eyre: And Other Conversations with Your Favorite Literary Characters

by Mallory Ortberg

Hardcover, 2014



Call number

PN6231 .T565



Henry Holt and Co. (2014), Edition: First Edition, Hardcover, 240 pages


Original publication date



(165 ratings; 3.7)

User reviews

LibraryThing member akblanchard
A one-joke premise is stretched beyond its breaking point in this mildly entertaining collection of imagined text messages from fictional and real-life literary figures. Some of these dialogs are more inspired than others, but all of the highlighted characters communicate in whiny voices that are more grating than humorous.
LibraryThing member deshanya
I received a copy of this book in return for a review.

Well, at least it's a quick read. The copy I received is obviously not the finished version. The formatting needs some work, as it's hit or miss whether a text bubble fully encloses its text or indeed if there is a text bubble at all. I also noticed some typos and misnumbering of sections, along with the table of contents being unnumbered.

I'd expected the book to be a humorous riff on classic literature and, to a certain extent, it was. But a lot of it wasn't that funny, and came out of nowhere. The Agatha Christie section? Which is less than a page and only about racism? The Hunger Games section? Which has nothing to do with them at all, only a play on words?

I also don't feel that all of the sections relate well with their source material.
… (more)
LibraryThing member LiterateHousewife
This book was just okay for me. I was anticipating that it would be a lot more amusing than it was. I don't have any strength in ancient classics, so I skimmed the first section almost in its entirety. I found I got bored in the relative short amount of texts associated with books I loved, like The Great Gatsby. The section on Wuthering Heights was the pinnacle of the book for me. I bought this book, but my suggestion is to check this out from the library.… (more)
LibraryThing member B00KAH0LIC
When I looked through all of the characters and authors listed within the book, I was excited to read this. It was mildly funny, but not as great as I expected it to be. It was a quick read, and I enjoyed some of the references.
LibraryThing member mt256
Funniest book of 2014!

Mallory Ortberg writes for The Toast, on online website, where she writes a feature called "Texts From." Basically it's a hilarious feature about authors, poets, writers, and characters from all the above and what they would probably text if they lived during the age of cell phones. This is probably the funniest book of 2014.

This is the kind of book where you read silently to yourself while laughing out loud. Then someone asks about what you're reading, so you decided to read out loud to said person and they laugh. Others overheard and join in. Soon your solitude of reading turns into an event. But you don't mind because humor like this can't be contained withing the binding of a book.

This is a book that bibliophiles will get a kick out of. Everyone should add this to their bookshelf!
… (more)
LibraryThing member lindseyrivers
Hysterical! I didn't follow all of the "conversations" because I wasn't familiar with some of the characters, but even then they were funny. I would say that she missed a couple of golden opportunities, it's a quick, fun read that will have you laughing.
LibraryThing member Shuffy2
What would happen if literary characters from the distant and not-so distant past texted each other?

The texts are not just from Jane Eyre but also include Gilgamesh, Pride and Prejudice, Great Expectations, The Great Gatsby, The Outsiders, The Baby-Sitters Club, plus many more--- a wide range of ‘literary’ works. The book is divided up into four parts, though they are not yet titled, my guess is that they are grouped by timeframe (but some do not seem to fit so I am not sure). Some are short and some are a LOT longer than others but they are all displayed in text bubbles.

The concept sounded intriguing but I think it failed in execution. The only ones I found remotely funny were Plato and The Lorax—- maybe it is just my sense of humor but many I either did not understand or did not find at all humorous. I really wanted to like this book! Overall, not a book I would recommend.
… (more)
LibraryThing member Nextian
Mallory Ortberg's "Texts from Jane Eyre: And Other Conversations with Your Favorite Literary Characters" is a fun, quick read that any lit-geek will enjoy. It travels from Medea to Harry Potter and leaves nothing un-mocked. The texts are self-absorbed nonsense but, for the most part. true to character with a large side of sarcasm. I would recommend this to anyone who just wants to get away and laugh for a while.… (more)
LibraryThing member brittanygates
This was an incredibly funny concept. I missed some of the jokes involving books or plays I haven't read yet, but the sections on books I HAVE read had me cracking up. Hamlet and Wuthering Heights especially. The only thing I can complain about is the "interrupting" in some of the texts. No one really stops a text in the middle of the sentence to allow the other texter to interrupt with their own message, so I found that a little weird.

This book is the perfect gift for any English majors or book nerds in your life.
… (more)
LibraryThing member passwordisstilltaco
"Texts from Jane Eyre" is a humorous (re)imagining of conversations between literary characters from the ages, converted into the perfunctory, conspicuously grammatically challenged form of the text message that pervades our modern lives. When this book is funny, it is hysterical. When it fell flat, it was primarily attributable to my missing the allusion fundamental to that particular exchange's joke. Unfortunately, for those allusions that I missed (or misunderstood), and then researched, the exchanges were simply not funny the second time around. Too much work, I suppose, for a punch line that's already revealed.

In any event, for the well-read, the book is a gem, a thoroughly enjoyable and light read. For those (like me) with who only "get" around half of the jokes, it is still worth the experience, but perhaps one that leap frogs the more obscure references for the more accessible.
… (more)
LibraryThing member philae_02
This book came across my circulation desk last week, and I was very intrigued by the concept. Ortberg took the general theme/feel of the most popular classics and transformed them into text messages -- well as she imagined as how the characters would have texted. My absolute favorite was the texts from Wuthering Heights. The messages exchanged between Cathy and Heathcliff had me barreled over in laughter. I rated this book as only 3 stars because some of the lesser known classics were included, and I didn't know first-hand if the texts were supposed to be serious or funny. But it's worth checking out of the library regardless.… (more)
LibraryThing member MickyFine
Just what would Mr. Rochester text Jane Eyre if there were cell phones in the 19th century? This collection of imagined text messages between characters from famous novels as well as famous authors is a fun and funny read for any book nerd with a sense of humour. Some of my personal favourites among the exchanges are John Keats raving to a friend about a Greek urn, Nancy Drew and Ned texting between rounds of being tied up, Ron and Hermione discussing physics, math, and muggle credit cards, Elizabeth Bennett dealing with her mother's never ending texts. A fun and fast read.… (more)
LibraryThing member CareBear36
This book is hilarious.

The literature used is fairly diverse (Gilgamesh all the way to The Hunger Games). Some entries parody the actual book, others the author/poet, and others the characters of the book.

I think the test of a parody is if it's still funny even if you don't know the original source. There are plenty of books included that I have not read, but the texts were still very humorous. For the most part, as long as you have a basic understanding of the author or story, you can get most of the jokes.… (more)
LibraryThing member kgriffith
This was a super fun little volume, read it in probably under an hour. It's impossible to miss Ortberg's particular brand of humor, and I was laughing aloud before I'd gotten 10 pages in. Fans of Ortberg as well as avid readers with a similarly quirky appreciation for mockery and absurdity will love this book and find themselves thinking of particular lines whenever they're reminded of the works satirized here.… (more)
LibraryThing member ashleyk44
Love the concept for this, quite a few of them were absolutely hilarious. I found myself skimming over the sections for books I haven't read myself, or wasn't familiar with the story line of (I know: shame, shame, shame). A few of them fell flat for me, but for the most part it cracked me up and managed to make me feel smart at the same time. As a die-hard Jane Eyre fan, one of my favorites: "WHAT KIND OF A NAME IS ST. JOHN" Indeed. A fun, quick read for literary types.… (more)
LibraryThing member rivkat
Ortberg is a founder of and writes a lot of the content on the Toast. These short pieces are Toast-like versions: what if Cathy and Heathcliff and the second Mrs. DeWinter and Hamlet all texted the other people in their stories? What if Medea kept pestering Glauce via text to urge her to put on her gift dress? If you like the Toast, then this might be a cute little book to have in your bathroom; it’s not really the kind of thing you want to sit down and read straight through.… (more)
LibraryThing member Leahelia
"Texts from Jane Eyre" was fascinating, although I have not read some of the classic literature exibhited in the book I could understood the plot and could pin point where in the books the excerpts were located in the ones I have read. The modern text slang was easy enough to read, I even found my boyfriend who doesn't read, reading over my shoulder and laughing. Couldn't put it down. A great book for any reading enthusiast.… (more)
LibraryThing member Rosa.Mill
I think you have to have a better memory of all the literature you've read to really get a lot of enjoyment out of it. The stuff I've read recently and that is more ingrained in my brain made for the funniest texts.
LibraryThing member Rosa.Mill
I think you have to have a better memory of all the literature you've read to really get a lot of enjoyment out of it. The stuff I've read recently and that is more ingrained in my brain made for the funniest texts.
LibraryThing member Rosa.Mill
I think you have to have a better memory of all the literature you've read to really get a lot of enjoyment out of it. The stuff I've read recently and that is more ingrained in my brain made for the funniest texts.
LibraryThing member Rosa.Mill
I think you have to have a better memory of all the literature you've read to really get a lot of enjoyment out of it. The stuff I've read recently and that is more ingrained in my brain made for the funniest texts.
LibraryThing member Cariola
I've read a lot of serious fiction lately, so this was a nice break. It's the kind of book that you can pick up, read a few entries, and move on. I bookmarked my favorites as I went along to revisit down the road. Ortberg begins with a series of imagined text conversations from mythological characters (Circe, Dido, and Achilles, for example), then moves on to Hamlet, Jane Eyre, Great Expectations, William Faulkner, The Sun Also Rises, J. Alfred Prufrock, Daisy Miller, William Carlos Williams, and more. Be forewarned: you will need some familiarity with the original in order to catch the humor. This wasn't too much of an issue for me until the last entries, which focused on Children's, YA, and some pop novels which (with the exception of Nancy Drew) I hadn't read. The book includes fun drawings of selected characters. Overall, an enjoyable and witty escape.… (more)
LibraryThing member lycomayflower
I read this mostly in airports and on planes, and I thought it would be a perfect fit for that environment--funny and entertaining without requiring me to pay super close attention to any unfolding plot or building elements. And that was true... but I didn't care for the book much. The idea here is "what if classic book characters texted each other." The exhanges appear in text format (as if they were on an iphone) and use colloquial text speech. I won't deny that some of the exchanges had me snorting with laughter, but *most* of them made me make the "eh?" face. Just, usually not that funny? Also, you need to be *very* familiar with most of the texts Ortberg is riffing on for the jokes to land. It happens that I was, most of the time, but for the texts I didn't know (or know really well), the exchanges are nigh on meaningless. This is probably mostly a case of humor being subjective (it's clear from reviews that this book worked very well for some people), but I did sometimes feel my deep aversion to dismissiveness kicking in. Some of the exchanges feel unfair and... mean in their treatment of the source material rather than send-uppy and fun. Like, we're here to have a good time, not make some people feel shitty for liking a particular text. YMMV.… (more)
LibraryThing member Olivermagnus
Ortberg’s book combines English major jokes with off-beat, Millennial humor. From Medea, Gilgamesh, Achilles, Dido, Plato, Circe, all the way to The Yellow Wallpaper, this compendium of witty and charming text messages from and to characters that we all know from history, great short stories, novels, plays, up to and including Nancy Drew, Hamlet and Wuthering Heights had me laughing. Her familiarity with Hamlet, Edgar Allen Poe, Rudyard Kipling, Macbeth, Daisy Miller, Katniss Everdeen, and of course, Jane Eyre, is such that she can satirize them all intelligently, in the cadence of the original work.

Some excerpts:

- Peeta texting Katniss about a "frosting emergency" while she's busy hunting.
- And Ron falling for a Nigerian prince scam because he doesn't understand how credit cards and technology work, resulting in an epic face-palm from Hermione.

This isn't a book I'd rush out and buy but if you happen to see it at your local library, pick up a copy to keep on your coffee table to look at while someone is watching a show you have no interest in.
… (more)
LibraryThing member nhalliwell
Imagine some of the famous (and infamous) characters from literature, including mythology, having access to the modern technology of texting and voice mail. The exchange between Gilgamesh and Ishtar is very funny. She is trying to convince him to come join her and he repeatedly points out that her former boyfriends are either dead or MIA. Plato trying to explain the allegory of the cave is hysterical. He is trying to explain it to someone who is taking it literally and wants to go save all the poor cave dwellers before the fire gets to them. It includes more modern works also, like two characters from Fight Club, discussing Fight Club. Never seen the movie or read the book but I do know the first rule of Fight Club so it was very funny.

Texts from Jane Eyre is a great deal of fun to listen to. The narrators do an amazing job with the different characters and the emotions. The snark flows nicely. This is also one book that I think would work much much better an an audio than reading it. I did not read the book, physical or kindle. I listened to the Audible version.

I know I am not doing this book justice in my description. It really is funny. The only reason is rated 4 instead of 5 stars because I am woefully ignorant of some of the pieces featured, like Daisy Miller, The Outsiders, and The Babysitters Club. At two hours and twenty-two minutes this is the perfect listen for a drive or just some free time that you would like to to be filled with humor.
… (more)


"Hilariously imagined text conversations--the passive aggressive, the clever, and the strange--from classic and modern literary figures, from Scarlett O'Hara to Jessica Wakefield. Mallory Ortberg, the co-creator of the cult-favorite website The Toast, presents this whimsical collection of hysterical text conversations from your favorite literary characters. Everyone knows that if Scarlett O'Hara had an unlimited text-and-data plan, she'd constantly try to tempt Ashley away from Melanie with suggestive messages. If Mr. Rochester could text Jane Eyre, his ardent missives would obviously be in all-caps. And Daisy Buchanan would not only text while driving, she'd text you to pick her up after she totaled her car. Based on the popular web-feature, Texts from Jane Eyre is a witty, irreverent mashup that brings the characters from your favorite books into the twenty-first century"--… (more)



Physical description

240 p.


PN6231 .T565
Page: 0.2609 seconds