Skip To Content

    17 Internet Jokes Only Literature Nerds Will Understand

    What if Cormac McCarthy wrote for Yelp? And Gatsby starred in a video game? For the lit nerd among us, and those struggling to finish novels or English term papers.

    1. On the Bro'd

    A sentence-by-sentence translation of Kerouac's "On the Road" to frat speak by Mike Lacher.

    2. The Great Gatsby Video Game

    Made by San Francisco programmers Charles Hoey and Pete Smith. In it, you battle Dr. Eckleburg's vengeful glasses as Nick Carraway and toss lethal fedoras at rowdy Charleston dancers. Too bad you can't mow down Tom Buchanan.

    3. Anniversary cover spoofs for The Bell Jar

    When Faber UK botched the cover redesign of Sylvia Plath's seminal novel (upper left), folks online thought these covers would be just as smart, sensible, and faithful to the book's content.

    4. Hemingway's "A Farewell to Porridge"


    Goldilocks as rewritten in Hemingway's clipped, muscular voice. A short read, and hilariously spot on.

    5. Cormac McCarthy Yelp Reviews

    You can find a whole tumblr of these fake Yelp reviews here. Read the Amazing Taco Bell Trilogy in Cormac's teetering, visual, word-drunk prose. Everyone is either a cowboy, a priest, a prostitute, or all three.

    6. The 2013 New Yorker anniversary cover

    Simon Greiner of Sydney, Australia submitted this for The New Yorker's anniversary cover design contest. This is what the new New York literary aristocracy looks like.

    7. Insulted By Authors

    Bill Ryan haunts authors' readings and begs authors to insult him when they sign his book jackets.

    8. Lisa Simpson's Book Club

    Screencaps of Lisa (and the other Simpsons) reading really difficult books. There are many of them. Thanks to Jared Keller for this suggestion.

    9. Awkward Young Nietzsche


    Stickyembraces churns grad school ennui into tumblr gold. He also made this thing below. He is a very self-loathing young white male author, maybe.

    10. George Plimpton's Video Falconry

    Join the storied Paris Review founder and sports journalist in wrecking digital bunnies here.

    11. Teju Cole's fake Yoruba proverb

    A Twitter meme started by novelist Teju Cole. Generally, Teju Cole, Colson Whitehead, and Patricia Lockwood are three high-profile writers who tweet to kill. Follow them.

    12. Better Book Titles

    This tumblr has been photoshopping more honest titles on to book covers for two years.

    13. Tao Lin's parody of Franzen's Time cover story

    Jonathan Franzen was the first novelist to grace the cover of Time in 11 years. To celebrate that, The Stranger invited Brooklyn cult novelist Tao Lin to do a stunt self-profile in the style of Frazen's cover story. A side-by-side comparison of the articles here.

    14. Famous Authors Predict Superbowl XLII

    XLII may be three superbowls past, but these imitations of Ayn Rand and Jack Kerouac are timeless.

    15. Machine Translation or Faulkner Quote?

    Can you tell the difference between Faulkner and an awkward Google translation of German text?

    16. Hark! A Vagrant

    Kate Beaton is massively popular partly for her sharp book parodies. Here's her ripping on the Brontes, Austen, and Mary Shelley.

    17. Martin Amis' 1982 Arcade GameFAQ

    The infamously manic, bruising British novelist worked briefly as an arcade game reviewer. He dispatched of games like Space Invaders in high lit diction and had Steven Spielberg write his forward. Later, he would assiduously avoid talking about the book to the press. Christopher Hitchens cameos in a brief rant about game voice effects:

    "I was with a friend, a hard-drinking journalist, who had drunk roughly three times as much Calvados as I had drunk the night before. And I had drunk a lot of Calvados the night before. I called for coffee, croissants, juice; with a frown the barman also obeyed my friend’s croaked request for a glass of Calvados.

    Then we heard, from nowhere, a deep, guttural, Dalek-like voice which seemed to say: 'Heed! Gorgar! Heed! Gorgar … speaks!'

    '… Now what the hell was that?' asked my friend.

    'I think it was one of the machines,' I said, rising in wonder.

    'I’ve had it,' said my friend with finality. 'I can’t cope with this,' he explained as he stumbled from the bar."

    Read more about it at The Millions.