Reviewed by John Hawks
College students slogging through a literature course have a tried and true method for keeping up with the reading: Chuck the book and read a synopsis instead.
Nowadays this can be as easy as a book's Wikipedia entry. A look at the page for Jane Austen's Pride and Prejudice reveals character lists, maps of relationships, major themes, plot devices and even conversions of Georgian-era property values to 2010 dollars. A more specialized breed of online study site goes further, giving chapter-by-chapter synopses, study questions and sample topics for book reports.
In the olden days before Internet time, students didn't get summaries through social media. They bought commercial book notes. These are still around, and CliffsNotes, SparkNotes and other series have moved into the digital age with online offerings in addition to the traditional study pamphlets. Even in the Internet age, there's a rich market for pre-digested literature.
Why not the same for new books?