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The Dog Ear: Piggybacking off a best-seller

By Alyssa McDonagh
On April 10, 2012

"Nightlight" and "The Hunger Pains." What do these two things have in common? They are parodies of extremely famous novels written by "The Harvard Lampoon."

Created in 1876, "The Harvard Lampoon" is the oldest and continuously published humor magazine. Writers of the magazine have also written for TV shows such as "Saturday Night Live" and "30 Rock." When I first discovered their books, I was surprised at how accurately they followed the plot of the books they were satirizing. Adding their own comedic twist to the stories, these books are worth reading, especially if you are fans of the original books. No one can resist a "Twilight" parody. Enhancing an already overdramatic novel, "Nightlight" will keep you continuously chuckling as you read. The changed names of the characters to Belle Goose and Edwart Mullen, as opposed to Bella Swan and Edward Cullen, are only one of many small plot points that "The Harvard Lampoon" makes fun. "The Harvard Lampoon" does a great job at satirizing the writing style of Stephanie Meyer by laboriously describing the most unimportant things, from how Belle is sitting in the car to the back pockets of her jeans. The book is written seriously, but it is that dead-panned serious tone that makes it impossible to not laugh at all the things that "The Harvard Lampoon" pokes fun at. If you enjoy teasing "Twilight," then this is the perfect book for you.

With the current hype over "The Hunger Games," it is no surprise that "The Harvard Lampoon" has written a parody novel titled "The Hunger Pains." The back of the book has a fictionalized quote from Abraham Lincoln saying, "This book makes me wish I'd never been shot," just to give you an idea of the humor. Besides making a parody of a book, "The Harvard Lampoon" has also released a parody movie trailer on "The Hunger Pains" website. Extremely similar to the real film, I found myself laughing out loud while watching it, especially since I had just watched the movie the previous day. Kantkiss Neverclean and Pita Malarkey add a surprising amount of humor to a book whose premise is a fight to the death. With a tagline of "Winning means wealth, fame, and a life of therapy. Losing means death, but also fame! This is the hunger pains!" this parody should entertain fans of the trilogy.

Besides parodies, there are also books that take a novel and bring it to life in other ways. Roger Highfield, author of "The Science of Harry Potter" writes about what seems to be magically impossible and explains the real life, Muggle reasoning behind certain events in the series. For example, in "Harry Potter and the Chamber of Secrets," Professor Lockhart accidentally casts a spell that causes Harry to lose all of the bones in his arm. Impossible? Not really. According to scientist Clinton Rubin, Harry's bones could have disappeared due to osteoclasts, cells that play a role in bone diseases that lead to bone loss. Highfield has done lots of research for this book and interviewed many people to obtain information. This book brings magic to life and provides Harry Potter fans with answers to their questions.

These books show how people can take any already popular book and add their own spin to it, generating a larger fan base for the novel. It also shows how one novel can inspire people to write about that novel in different ways. If you have a favorite book, it is worth investigating if there are unique books like these that can add to your enthusiasm.


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