10 Classic Novels Marketed As If They Were Published Today

I did a post earlier in the year about how certain classic novels might have been marketed if they’d been written by women. It was a lot of fun (for me, which as we know, is all that matters). Now it’s time to get less gender-specific and more trend-specific. How might some of the great classics of old look, if they were being unleashed on the general public today by eager publicity machinists?

10 Classic Novels Marketed As If They Were Published Today


Author: Charlotte Brontë. Publ. 1847

Modern Genre: Domestic Noir


Prim and proper Jane has worked hard to put her past as a hot-headed scrapper behind her. But when she gets a new job working in Thornfield Hall for the affluently brooding Mr Rochester, the past threatens to catch up with both of them. Jane knows that at least one person in the old mansion isn’t telling her the truth. But can anyone mansplain to her what is happening in the attic in the dead of night? And can it be that every time Mr Rochester is horrible and abusive, he’s really saying ‘I love you’?



Author: James Joyce. Publ. 1922

Modern Genre: Sit-Down Comedy


One man goes for a walk; another for a kidney – and all of history falls into step with them. A laugh-out-loud, glorious triumph of words over paper you WON’T want to miss.

 A piece of rare genius: entirely incomprehensible, and just as important – Jeremy Paxman

Completely pissed myself reading this – Johnny Vegas



Author: Charles Dickens. Publ. 1852

Modern Genre: Literary Crime (with orphans)


What happens when chaos turns out to be more organised than you think?

A starving illiterate orphan, cheery in his hopeless misery. A wise-cracking cop, determined to get his man – or is it woman? A bored and beautiful aristocrat who can’t let go of the past. Do-gooders and ne’er-do-wells. More orphans, but fully-clothed and educated this time. Lots more orphans. Really, there are orphans everywhere. Hundreds of seemingly unrelated people prove to be connected in ever more incredible and coincidental ways. And when they come together, it’s MURDER.



Author: Daniel Defoe. Publ. 1719

Modern Genre: Survivalist Non-Fiction


Join Robinson Crusoe in the true story which spawned a million copycats as he takes you through the finer points of making fire; building shelters; growing crops; animal husbandry; cannibalism; godly colonialism; God; and the triumph of the godly common man over nature.

 He taught me everything I know, except humility – Bear Grylls

***SPECIAL OFFER*** Free Man Friday with the first 50 limited edition copies

10 Classic Novels Marketed As If They Were Published Today



Author: Jane Austen. Publ. 1812

Modern Genre: Chick-Lit (duh)


Spirited, ‘fine’ Elizabeth Bennett doesn’t want to get married, no matter what her pushy mother says. So why is she getting proposed to every sixty pages? Her beloved bland sister Jane should be the one sewing her trousseau. Even younger sister Lydia would be much better suited to marital duties, and she’s a total slut. Is being really, really intelligent and witty a fatal flaw in the modern girl? Or can our Elizabeth understand in time that a rich husband is the right ticket to a happy ever after?



Author: Mark Twain. Publ. 1884

Modern Genre: Young Adult


Fourteen-year-old Huck Finn doesn’t fit in. He knows there’s something different about him, and it’s not just his abusive alcoholic father. When things get rough, Huck has to pull off the scam of a lifetime to escape. Will Huck be able to single-handedly bring an end to slavery? Is he the boy an entire nation has been waiting for? And if so, does it matter that he sure steals a heck of a lot?

If Huck Finn had a YouTube channel, he’d have 10 million subscribers – Some Vlogger

But he can’t because he literally died ages ago – Some Other Vlogger



Author: Virginia Woolf. Publ. 1925

Modern Genre: Women’s Fiction


Women will love this story of women and their thoughts, penned by a real woman with thoughts and words. Join Clarissa Dalloway as she goes about her day thinking about women’s issues, such as love, life, and death.

The best book for women written by a woman this year –  Literary Prize Committee


10 Classic Novels Marketed As If They Were Published Today


Author: Agatha Christie. Publ. 1934

Modern Genre: Cosy Mystery


When celebrated detective Hercule Poirot boards the famous Orient Express, he little suspects a crime will be committed in the cabin next door. Who killed Mr Samuel Ratchett? Will Poirot find out in time to enjoy the comforts of extortionate luxury train travel before the police arrive and disrupt the cosiness of his investigation? And how many unreliable narrators are too many?



Author: George Eliot. Publ. 1861

Modern Genre: True Story


Who really was Silas Marner? Ungodly thief? Society outcast? Person voted most unlikely for an entire village to think the best candidate to raise a foundling child? Find out in this shocking account by local journalist George Eliot – a man – complete with never-before-seen interviews and letters from this story which shook an entire, albeit very small, community.



Author: George Orwell. Publ. 1945

Modern Genre: Buzzfeed Article


These Animals Were Left Alone, And You Won’t Believe What Happened Next



  66 comments for “10 Classic Novels Marketed As If They Were Published Today

  1. August 26, 2016 at 8:24 am

    “The Odyssey” by Homer. A stunning travelogue that beats the Lonely Planet guides to Ithaca and Troy hands down.

    “A la recherche de temps perdu” by Marcel Proust. Modern biscuit recipes and much much more!

    “The Brothers Karamazov” by Fyodor Dostoyevsky, Crime fiction at its very best – Scandi noir relocated to Russia, for fans of his previous best-seller “Crime and Punishment” and “Gone Girl”.

    “Moby Dick” by Herman Melville. The Dummies guide to whaling.

    Liked by 5 people

    • August 26, 2016 at 9:53 am

      Brilliant, Mel. Proust is my favourite. I’m seeing a Bake-Off spin-off. Can I have some royalties if it goes stratospheric?

      Liked by 2 people

      • August 26, 2016 at 10:20 am

        No probs.

        Mary Berry: “Marcel has got it spot on. It has been soaked in a decoction of lime-blossom, and has a slightly crisp outside, a perfectly fluffy inside…”
        Paul Hollywood: “… and no soggy bottom.”

        Liked by 1 person

  2. August 26, 2016 at 8:32 am

    A ha ha – one of your best pieces so far! Ulysses – definitely a Sit-Down Comedy 😀

    That’s it – you’re writing all of my blurbs from now on. Name your price!

    Liked by 4 people

    • August 26, 2016 at 9:55 am

      That’s especially kind Nicholas considering I only just realised the bottom was shaved off this piece! I was missing 3 books in the version you read. That’ll teach me to post when I’m tired. Regarding your blurbage, I have a special discount for friends. It’ll only cost you a small house near the sea in Greece. Just a wee one. I think you’ll agree that’s very competitive.

      Liked by 2 people

      • August 26, 2016 at 10:31 am

        Had you seen the house in question, you, too, would agree it’s a bargain. Sorry, did you say house or outhouse?

        Liked by 1 person

        • August 26, 2016 at 10:32 am

          House, Nick. Definitely house. This just proves that you can actually take the running water requirement too far.

          Liked by 1 person

          • August 26, 2016 at 10:59 am

            There is a doghouse that might just do the trick. No running water, though, unless the dog feels like it.


    • August 26, 2016 at 7:22 pm

      I had the exact same thought! Tara, seriously, name it.

      Liked by 2 people

      • August 26, 2016 at 10:48 pm

        I obviously have to aim higher here. Ummmm… A year’s supply of diamonds and a small corrupt bank? How does that sound?


  3. August 26, 2016 at 9:25 am

    Brilliant and like Nicholas, I need you to write my blurb! Going to print in 10 days!

    Liked by 1 person

    • August 26, 2016 at 9:58 am

      Now that is exciting, Lorna. All kidding aside, I’d be glad to help. Having said that, I would never ask me for help. I’d be too afraid I would actually get some 😉

      Liked by 1 person

  4. weebluebirdie
    August 26, 2016 at 9:55 am

    This is brilliant. A very fine piece and sure to appeal to the Judges of whatever it is I voted for 🙂 Heck, I’m putting my trainers on right now to run down to the bookshop to buy up all these classics. I can’t believe I’ve let myself miss out for all those years. Glad to see you also have a loathing for those who literally can’t think of the right way to use the word ‘literally’ 😉


    • August 26, 2016 at 10:14 am

      Who knows what appeals to judges, Birdie? I’ve been asking myself that since I came second last in the Fine Horse Of A Woman Contest back in the west in 1991. On the literal front, I was watching the news last night and they interviewed an SBS reporter at the site of the Italian earthquake. I have never heard so many literallys outside of Starbucks at 4pm on a school day. The fact that she was standing outside a pile of rubble which may or may not have contained victims made it all the sadder.

      Liked by 1 person

      • weebluebirdie
        August 26, 2016 at 10:56 am

        I heard one of those pointless reports on the radio yesterday morning – she was so busy trying to be eloquent, that she focused on the destruction of ancient medieval villages – rather than the death of people. I blame Hemingway!

        Liked by 1 person

  5. August 26, 2016 at 10:34 am

    Another wonderful piece of literary hoo-hah. If you were on telly, the BBC licence fee would be actually be worth paying.

    Liked by 1 person

    • August 26, 2016 at 10:42 am

      This is possibly the nicest thing that’s ever been said to me, Colin. I would thank you at length, but I’m running straight out to get your comment printed on a T-shirt 😀

      Liked by 2 people

  6. August 26, 2016 at 11:23 am

    Or you could go the other direction, Tara, and port key a modern classic into the past:

    ‘David Copperfield and the Curiosity Stone’

    AUTHOR: Charles Dickens – published 1854

    GENRE: Magical Realism

    BLURB – yet another orphan survives a socially dysfunctional family (who keep him locked in a cupboard under the stairs) to find his fame and fortune in the darkest alleys of parallel London.

    Liked by 2 people

  7. August 26, 2016 at 11:57 am

    Tara, your post is hilariously brilliant. Or brilliantly hilarious? My modest addition:

    “The Grapes of Wrath” — road trip!

    Liked by 1 person

    • August 26, 2016 at 12:16 pm

      I love this, Dave. The genre could possibly be ‘Adapted From The Hit Movie’

      Liked by 1 person

  8. August 26, 2016 at 12:01 pm

    I’m sitting here almost wetting myself at the vlogger quotes.

    Liked by 1 person

    • August 26, 2016 at 12:17 pm

      Delighted, Amanda. Incontinence pants winging their way to you and Johnny Vegas as we speak 😛


  9. August 26, 2016 at 12:44 pm

    From the Royal Society for the Prevention of Piss-taking from Dead Authors
    Dear Ms Trilling
    As you will well understand copyright rules have recently been tightened as a result of our society’s lobbying to stop just this sort of gratuitous attempt at humour at the expense of the much loved classics. We feel the need to point out that some of our clients have complained of a spate of spinning in graves and journalistic exhumations demanding quotes.
    On the other hand other clients feel upset that they didn’t make your list. Viz:
    Trollope S: Barchester Chronicles. Genre: God fan fiction. The Little House on the Prairie meets cassocks and gaiters in a no holds barred story that will set the pulses fading.
    Doyle AC: The Hound of the Baskervilles. Genre: smug drug mug fiction. Two not yet out gay dudes do stuff on moors with pipes and mist.
    Wyndham J: The day of the Triffids. Genre: non fiction, gardening. A treatise on the need to trim your borders and avoid activities that send you blind.
    We do not expect a response. Indeed, given the difficulties of communicating with our clients we would prefer not to receive one.
    Yours Morbidly
    Geronimo Spoke (Colonel, Miss)

    Liked by 1 person

    • August 26, 2016 at 2:15 pm

      I was at a loss as to where to start to address this missive, Geoff – so I decided not to. There were so many high points that my instinctive reaction was to countersue for joke thunder infringement. However, having taken advice at exorbitant rates, I realised that the ‘set the pulses fading’ line alone compensated for 87% of anxiety incurred (the other 18% is endemic). You are a genius. Don’t forget me when Legal Comedy takes off and makes you richer than Grisham.

      Liked by 1 person

      • August 26, 2016 at 4:59 pm

        Ah Tara dear Tara. I want to co author a book with you or co write a comedy. It will be so potent Switzerland will buy it as a new cheap euthanasia treatment. I can see the branding now. ‘Dignitas without the dignity’.

        Liked by 1 person

        • August 26, 2016 at 8:09 pm

          Let’s do it, Geoff. I’ll handle the marketing, with a trowel obviously. First we take Manhattan. Then we take Stoke-on-Trent.

          Liked by 2 people

  10. armenpogharian
    August 26, 2016 at 2:26 pm

    One of my favorites. I’d offer up one of my own, but there’s no need for me to make yours look any better.

    Liked by 1 person

    • August 26, 2016 at 2:42 pm

      You get ALL the brownie points today, Armen, except for those already promised to other people, which I will deny to the bitter end. Obviously.

      Liked by 1 person

  11. August 26, 2016 at 3:03 pm

    I have nothing to declare but guffaws.

    Liked by 1 person

    • August 26, 2016 at 3:30 pm

      Ah would ya gohonowttahdat, Tenderlation. You’ll have me ruined, so you will.

      Liked by 1 person

  12. August 26, 2016 at 3:27 pm

    Brilliant. Had to share. “Literary Crime (with orphans)” kinda takes the cake! 🙂

    Liked by 1 person

    • August 26, 2016 at 3:37 pm

      Well, they would, if they got it, Lorraine. But they so rarely get cake – even the educated ones. It is really very sad.


      • August 26, 2016 at 3:47 pm

        Yes, any time someone misses the “cake” of something, there’s cause for mourning. Save theirs for me! 🙂

        Liked by 1 person

  13. August 27, 2016 at 1:45 am

    These are great! I could totally see them on the modern bookshelf. Mrs. Dalloway was a hoot, but they’re all gems. Some doozies in the comments too 😀 😀

    Liked by 1 person

    • August 27, 2016 at 9:06 am

      Indeed there were, Diana. Some of the commenters round here are far too witty. I’m going to have to block them.

      Liked by 1 person

  14. August 27, 2016 at 10:53 am

    So many permutations. Imagine a 19th century village noticeboard where the public could leave their reviews of these classics. Wonder if they’d be as polite as they are today.

    And your posts also make one wonder what Sparling Books would be like if it were a bricks and mortar shop on the high street. A Kickstarter campaign and venture capital could be the start of the next big thing; a disruptive bookshop…

    Liked by 1 person

    • August 27, 2016 at 5:00 pm

      When it comes to disruptive bookshops, one thing immediately springs to mind, Chris… Black Books is one of my favourite TV shows of all time. I don’t know if I could pull off such pathological grumpiness, but I think the personification of this blog might at least be similar. And at least there’s a ready-made sitcom to use as the promotional video for the Kickstarter campaign. How do you feel about being Bill Bailey to my Dylan Moran?

      Liked by 2 people

  15. August 27, 2016 at 4:22 pm

    “Tara Sparling was born to write this post” Said some blogger who didn’t even read it
    However this lady did read it and couldn’t agree more – please do more!!!!

    Liked by 1 person

    • August 27, 2016 at 5:02 pm

      It’s hard to get off this train of thought once you’re on it, Evie, so if I end up getting another full post out of it I’d be mad not to 😉

      Liked by 1 person

  16. August 27, 2016 at 6:46 pm

    These are brilliant – reckon redo of Shakespeare would gain a lot more of interest by the students! 😀

    Liked by 1 person

    • August 28, 2016 at 2:05 pm

      I’m sure Shakespeare in Tweets has already been written, Annika, I’ll leave them at it 😉

      Liked by 1 person

  17. August 27, 2016 at 9:06 pm

    Well, that cured my sitting-too-long-at-the-computer backache. More, more – plus covers – please. You’re so good at the details. The Jane Eyre cover is a beauty, Ulysses as a sit-down comedy plus celebrity quotes is perfect, Mrs Dalloway so concentrated of those (trivial) women’s issues and a Free Man Friday with my Robinson Crusoe – must have!

    Liked by 1 person

    • August 28, 2016 at 2:08 pm

      You might be just in time to claim your Man Friday, Hilary. As soon as I can figure out my customs and excise issues I’ll have you sorted. In the meantime, glad you liked the others. Mrs Dalloway is especially close to my heart!


  18. August 28, 2016 at 1:05 pm

    Absolutely hilarious. Maybe such descriptions would encourage a few more readers of such classics as it does relate them to modern life rather than relegate them to a past with which most have little connection.

    Liked by 1 person

    • August 29, 2016 at 8:46 am

      They might do, Dorothy, if the descriptions themselves were better. I’m afraid I might have rather put people off!


  19. September 2, 2016 at 6:12 am

    These were all great, but I think you saved the best for last. The blurb for Animal Farm as a Buzzfeed article was disturbingly plausible.

    Liked by 1 person

    • September 2, 2016 at 4:15 pm

      Ah, Buzzfeed. That pinnacle of short attention spans. The nutshell with no nuts. Where were we without Buzzfeed, Bun? In deep contemplation, probably.

      Liked by 1 person

      • September 3, 2016 at 4:41 am

        Sorry, Tara, what was that? I was trying to concentrate, but my eye was caught by “Thirteen Seriously Gross Facts about Head Lice.” I think I’ll have to investigate.

        Liked by 1 person

        • September 3, 2016 at 9:23 pm

          Be careful, Bun. Once you go down that rabbit hole, there are 100 other best lists to choose from.

          Liked by 1 person

          • September 4, 2016 at 1:31 am

            A lot of those Buzzfeed headings are shockingly clickable. I guess that’s just what happens when 98% of the effort expended on an article goes into the title. Given their reader stats, though, it seems to be working for them. There are probably lessons there for my blog.

            Liked by 1 person

            • September 4, 2016 at 11:01 am

              My eyes are leaking as I type, Bun, but I’m afraid you’re right. There are lessons there for all of us. Sometimes it seems like actual content does more harm than good.

              Liked by 1 person

              • September 5, 2016 at 2:42 am

                I think so. That’s one of the reasons why I work so hard on making my posts content free.

                Liked by 1 person

                • September 5, 2016 at 10:53 pm

                  I’m not sure you’re there yet, Bun. Way too much quality writing on your blog. And jokes. Too many of them too. I dunno. Keep trying?

                  Liked by 1 person

  20. September 8, 2016 at 10:46 am

    SPOILER ALERT… Saw this by cartoonist John Atkinson and thought of you lot.

    It’s of very abridged classics, such as

    “War and Peace” = “Everyone is sad. It snows.”

    “Moby Dick” = “Man versus whale. Whale wins.”

    He has other ones such as

    “Macbeth” = “Old ladies convince a guy to ruin Scotland”


    “Wuthering Heights” = “A sort-of brother and sister fall in love. It’s foggy.”

    Liked by 1 person

    • September 8, 2016 at 11:57 am

      These are stupendous, Mel. I love John Atkinson. It’s not so much an entire book in one line, as an entire book in one spoiler. I can’t even tell you how flattered I am that you thought of us lot in conjunction with him. Either it’s that choking me up, or the delayed taxi driver I had for breakfast.


  21. September 8, 2016 at 4:22 pm

    Taxi driver? I prefer porridge oats soaked overnight with milk, a drizzle of honey and perhaps a splash of Jameson myself. It’s better for the cholesterol. Not the Jameson but you know what I mean.

    Liked by 1 person

    • September 8, 2016 at 10:08 pm

      And that’s why you’re the foodie, Mel. I have no class, that’s my problem. Or one of them anyway.


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