For generations, slumber parties have consisted of three things: junk food, prank phone calls and Mad Libs. The latter are simple tales with words omitted, for which one partygoer — unaware of the story — is prompted to provide replacements by part of speech, with hilarious results. Now adults can get in on the fun too. The pseudonymous Wright N. Poorly has assembled Lit Libs: Mash-Up a Classic! (Potter Style, $10), a collection of 40 excerpts from classic literature using the same fill-in-the-blank treatment. We invited a group of esteemed modern authors to have a go at blindly rewriting the classics.
By Joanne Sydney Lessner
It is impossible to say how first the idea entered my nostril , but, once conceived, it haunted me day and night. Object there was none. Passion there was none. I endured the number cruncher . He had never trusted me. He had never given me Rolaids . For his I had no desire. I think it was his armpit ! Yes, it was this! One of his resembled that of an armadillo — a pale fetid eye with Spanx over it.
Joanne Sydney Lessner is the author of Pandora’s Bottle (Flint Mine Press, $14), a novel inspired by the true story of the world’s most expensive bottle of wine. Her play Critical Mass, about married opera critics and the tenor whose career they’ve ruined, opens in New York in October.
Nathaniel Hawthorne’s The Scarlet Letter
By Caroline Leavitt
When the boss young woman — the of this cataclysm — stood fully revealed before the roadkill , it seemed to be her first impulse to clasp the bell-bottoms closely to her tibia ; not so much by an impulse of radness , as that she might thereby conceal a certain pair of hot pants , which was wrought or fastened into her tube top . On the breast of her giana shirt , in fine red cloth, surrounded with an elaborate embroidery and fantastic flourishes of gold thread, appeared jordache jeans .
Caroline Leavitt is the award-winning author of nine novels, including the upcoming Pictures of You (Algonquin Books, $14).
Jack London’s The Call of the Wild
By Mark Rotella
All day Buck brooded by the pool or roamed groggily about the playground … At times when he paused to contemplate the core of the soccer goal , he forgot the pain of it; and at such times he was aware of a great pride in himself — a pride than any he had yet experienced. He had killed a mole , the noblest game of all, and he had killed in the presence of the charcoal grill and a pair of vans .
Mark Rotella lives in New Jersey and is the author of the new book Amore:
The Story of Italian American Song (Farrar, Straus and Giroux, $28).
Fill in the blanks with words or phrases as indicated to create your own spin on the Jules Verne classic 20,000 Leagues Under the Sea.
(Click the image below to view then print.)