Have you ever wondered how texting might have changed the dialogue in Les Misérables? Mallory Ortberg, cofounder of The Toast (only the funniest website written by and for ladies) and all around reigning queen of Twitter, has taken this idea and ran with it. Texts from Jane Eyre (Henry Holt Nov. 4 2014) is the beautiful result: a collection of the best imagined conversations with all the characters from the literary classics. What started with Jane Eyre and Rochester as a humor column on The Hairpin in 2012, lead to texts from Pride and Prejudice and eventually to the late night texts you would expect to see between Ron and Hermione.
MY LITTLE SUNBEAM
WHERE ARE YOU
I NEED YOU BY MY SIDE
I’m taking a walk
be back for dinner
AH YES MY CAGED SPRITE
COMMUNE WITH NATURE AND UPON YOUR RETURN
RELATE TO ME THE VAGRANT GLORIES OF THE RUINED WOODS
do you really want me to describe my walk to you
MORE THAN ANYTHING YOU POCKET WITCH
Tuesday night, Housing Works Bookstore Cafe hosted a conversation between Ortberg and Tumblr’s Rachel Fershleiser. The small bookstore quickly filled up to capacity with so many cult fans of the author that some were watching stage-side on the floor and hanging from the staircases. They were not disappointed. Mallory Ortberg is just as raucously funny in person as in her famous Toast column “Women Who Want to be Alone in Western Art History.” With Rachel Fershleiser playing the straight man to Ortberg’s cast of ridiculous literary character impressions, I found myself at the funniest book reading I’ve ever been to. As in her other writing, Ortberg finds a way of lampooning the ridiculous characters of the past (both fictional and non fiction) thanks to her endless knowledge of and passion for western literature and history and her sharp humor. Ortberg was also extremely friendly and humble during the book signing portion of the event, taking pictures with everyone and even stopping to talk to her fans about why the Rory/Paris friendship in Gilmore Girls is the real love story of the show.
Image courtesy of Henry Holt.