Friday, December 04, 2015

Booknote: Thug Notes

Sparky Sweets, Thug Notes: a Street Smart Guide to Classic Literature. New York: Vintage, 2015. ISBN: 9781101873045. 

Genre: Nonfiction
Subgenre: Literary criticism, humor
Format: e-book galley
Source: NetGalley

If you are familiar with the Internet series, then you know what you are getting.  You'll get the great blend of literary commentary and criticism with fun thug sensibility. Forget Cliff's Notes. When you need solid literary analysis and plot summary of great literary works, let Dr. Sparky Sweets take care of it.

For me, the only thing I missed in this book were the other works. This book emphasizes "the classics," the kinds of works you likely had to read in school such as Moby-Dick, Hamlet, Pride and Prejudice, and The Scarlet Letter. Those are OK, but in his online series, the author has done so much more with works like The Lord of the Rings, Ender's Game, and Watchmen. Now those are works I find more appealing, and they are missing in this book. So I did my best not to hold it against the author or the publishers for leaving the good stuff out, so to speak. Putting that aside, this book is a good work, and if you need to learn about the classic, it is a good tool for that.

In his introduction, the author does give a nice shout out to libraries, which naturally warms this librarian's heart:

"There's a reason libraries are public. All dem words and stories are for evrybody to enjoy" (12). 

The book is organized into chapters, one chapter for each literary work. The book covers 17 works. It also includes an introduction and a bibliography for readers who want to learn more. The book chapters are arranged as follows:

  • So what's the deal? 
  • Homies (the characters)
  • What went down
  • Themes 'n' Shit
  • Images 'n' Symbols
  • Shout-Outs!
  • Say What? (quotes, plus a remix of quotes)
His thesis for the book is a noble one, and I think it is one many of us can relate to:

"Learnin' 'bout literature is mo' than jus' memorizin' names, dates, faces, and book summaries-- it ca broaden our minds and open our hearts by remindin' us not to judge a book by its cover-- an ain't nothin' mo' important" (14). 

Overall, this is a book I really liked. It is definitely a great selection for public and academic libraries. I will certainly be ordering a copy for my library.

4 out of 5 stars.

This book qualifies for the following 2015 Reading Challenges:

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