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

by Mallory Ortberg

Hardcover, 2014

Collection

User reviews

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 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.
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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!
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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 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 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.
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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.
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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 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 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 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 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.
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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 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 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 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 RidgewayGirl
With The Toast shutting down, I took the opportunity to revisit Mallory Ortberg's literary texts. Ortberg has fun creating messages from mythical and literary characters from Medea and Achilles, to Hamlet and Jane Eyre, to Sweet Valley High's Wakefield twins and Harry Potter. Ortberg has a light hand and a humorous outlook and each segment was a great deal of fun to read.

Here's Samuel Taylor Coleridge:

what if the moon was haunted
by women who had sex with demons


what

what if kubla khan made a whole dome
just for pleasure
and put an ocean underneath the ground
with no sun in it


wow
i don't know

and rivers flung boulders up out of the earth at people
ha ha
flung 'em right up at people's stupid faces


i guess that would be really something

you're damn right it'd be something
caves of ice
and ancestral war voices prophesying about damsels
and sacred rivers screaming beware
and your hair would float
and
ugh hang on
two seconds
there's a guy here


ok

be right back
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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 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:

- Hamlet texting HE'S NOT MY REAL DAD WHY DO YOU EVEN LIKE HIM
- 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.
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LibraryThing member mjlivi
I love The Toast and think Mallory Ortberg is possibly the funniest writer around right now, so I had high hopes for this. When I got the references, I was in stitches, but the main lesson to take from the book was that I'm not very well read. My advice: catch up on your classics before digging into this if you want to really appreciate it.… (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 bonniemarjorie
Texts From Jane Eyre: the re-imagined conversations between literary characters if they all carried a smartphone. Sounds hilarious, but I admittedly didn’t have much interest in this initially because I feared far too much of this would go right over my head considering I’m quite ignorant of the vast majority of “classics”. I listened to a 60 second clip of this audiobook though and I was already cracking up so I decided to give this one a shot regardless. Texts From Jane Eyre goes beyond just Jane Eyre, portraying the likes of Odysseys and Circe, Edgar Allan Poe, Peter Pan, Harry Potter, and even the broody Achilles who contemplates the possibility of going home and being a farmer.

As I mentioned, the majority of these stories did in fact go right over my head because like hell I’m attempting to read Atlas Shrugged. Or Moby Dick for that matter. I haven’t given up hope that I may actually conquer Gone with the Wind though. Despite my occasional confusion, the combined narration of Amy Landon and Zach Villa still managed to make this a vastly entertaining couple of hours (the audiobook is a mere 2h 22m long). The various different accents they implemented made this feel at times like a full cast narration. I downloaded the eBook as well in order to capture screen shots and I must say that while the passages were funny, having this read to you was an altogether different (and better) experience. A brief visit to sparknotes.com to get the gist of the classics did prove to be helpful if you wish to take the time to become quickly acquainted with the lesser known characters. As for the ones I did know that required no introduction, such as Sherlock, they were so hilariously and accurately depicted that I found myself rewinding and re-listening because I was often laughing too hard to hear the whole passage.

Other favorites were Ron telling Hermione about the magic “credit cards” he signed up for (Harry Potter), Peeta’s frosting emergency (Hunger Games), and the hilarious harassment via texting from Mrs. Danvers (Rebecca).

Suffice it to say, I thoroughly enjoyed this one and highly recommend the audio edition. Mallory Ortberg successfully added a modern flair and humor to literature’s most treasured characters, bringing them to life once again and reminding us what made them memorable in the first place.
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Status

Available

Call number

PN6231 .T565

Language

Publication

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

Tags

Original publication date

2014-11-04

Rating

(139 ratings; 3.6)

Barcode

359

Pages

240

Physical description

240 p.

ISBN

1627791833 / 9781627791830

LCC

PN6231 .T565

Library's rating

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