Boring Books? Just Add Ninjas!


“No ninjas! How was that possible? Five daughters brought up at home without any ninjas!”

~from Pride and Prejudice and Zombies

 I’ve started doing something within the last year or so that I never used to do. (I see where your mind is going here so I’ll clarify that this is a PG-13 blog and I was NOT going there.) Being as much a bibliophile as I am, I haven’t finished every book I’ve picked up. If the story isn’t engaging me within 50 pages or so, or I can’t figure out what the hell the author is attempting to say, I’m simply moving on. At this point in my life I don’t have the time to waste with bad writing.

Of course, back in the days when I was forced to slog through A Separate Peace and The House on Mango Street for academic credit, I never had that option. It’s really a good thing now. I can just close the book, turn it in to the library, no harm done to me or the well-meaning author.

 Let me propose a simple solution which will at once revolutionize the teaching of literature, make restless middle-school boys want to read boring books and forevermore change the way we engage the printed word. Just add ninjas!

I hear your objections along with that record-scratching cartoon sound effect. “They’ve already done that,” the doubters among you might say, “you know, with Pride and Prejudice and Zombies and Jane Slayre and all those. That trend’s on its way out along with Snuggies and Kim Kardashian.”

Well…maybe there’s a point to be made there. But I still think the Bushido Bandwagon can pick up some more steam, not to mention a few more followers. Picture this:

The Scarlet Letter by Nathaniel Hawthorne

A young woman, Hester Prynne, is led from the town prison with her infant daughter, Pearl, in her arms and the scarlet letter “A” on her breast. A man in the crowd tells an elderly onlooker that Hester is being punished for adultery. Hester’s husband, a scholar much older than she is, sent her ahead to America, but he never arrived in Boston….because he was set upon by NINJAS!

Madame Bovary by Gustave Flaubert

Charles Bovary falls in love with Emma, the daughter of a patient, and the two decide to marry. After an elaborate wedding, they set up house in Tostes, where Charles has his practice. But marriage doesn’t live up to Emma’s romantic expectations. Ever since she lived in a convent as a young girl, she has dreamed of BECOMING A NINJA.

Great Expectations by Charles Dickens

One day a lawyer named Jaggers appears with strange news: a secret benefactor has given young Pip a large fortune, and Pip must come to London immediately to begin his education as a gentleman. Pip happily assumes that his previous hopes have come true—that the mysterious Miss Havisham is his secret benefactor and that the old woman intends for him to marry Estella AND LEARN THE ART OF THE NINJA.

Ethan Frome by Edith Wharton

Ethan Frome is walking through snowy Starkfield at midnight. He arrives at the village church, where lights in the basement reveal a dance. Ethan loiters by the window, transfixed by the sight of a young girl in a cherry-colored scarf. He has come to the church to fetch his wife’s cousin, Mattie Silver, who has been living with the Fromes for over a year, helping around the house. Eventually, we learn that Mattie is the girl in the red scarf is…yep…A FALLEN NINJA.

The Chocolate War by Robert Cormier

Jerry Renault, a freshman at Trinity High School, has a confrontation with the school gang, The Vigils. The Vigils, headed by Archie Costello, specialize in making assignments that other students have to complete. These assignments vary, depending on the person, and intend to inflict as much psychological injury as possible. IT’S THE NINJA WAY, DOG.

Things Fall Apart by Chinua Achebe

Okonkwo is a wealthy and respected warrior of the Umuofia clan, a lower Nigerian tribe that is part of a consortium of nine connected villages. He is haunted by the actions of Unoka, his cowardly and spendthrift father, who died in disrepute, leaving many village debts unsettled. In response, Okonkwo became a clansman, farmer, and REALLY BADASS NINJA WARRIOR.

Beloved by Toni Morrison

Beloved begins in 1873 in Cincinnati, Ohio, where Sethe, a former slave, has been living with her eighteen-year-old daughter Denver. Sethe’s mother-in-law, Baby Suggs, lived with them until her death eight years earlier. Just before Baby Suggs’s death, Sethe’s two sons, Howard and Buglar, ran away. Sethe believes they fled because of the malevolent presence of a NINJA GHOST that has haunted their house at 124 Bluestone Road for years.

Invisible Man by Ralph Ellison and The Invisible Man by H.G. Wells

Seriously? I have to explain how both of these are actually about NINJAS?

So, my friends, whenever you’re reading an interminable book that’s completely soporific, just remember that old trick and JUST ADD NINJAS. It works every time.

What would you do to get through a boring book? Any classics that you think could benefit from the addition of ninjas? Lemme hear ya!

As always, if you enjoyed this post, be sure to click “Like” and subscribe to P&Q so you’ll never miss another exciting post with or without NINJAS.

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~ by Howlin' Mad Heather on February 10, 2012.

4 Responses to “Boring Books? Just Add Ninjas!”

  1. I want to read Emma Bovary becomes a Ninja! Please write it, pretty please 🙂

  2. I don’t know if even Ninjas could make Ethan Frome readable. If Liam Neeson couldn’t save it it would be tough for some sword wielding masked Japanese men. Maybe if it were Liam Neeson AND some ninjas…

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