Today I bring you a review of the book version of a very well-know youtube educational show. It’s Thug Notes: A Street-Smart Guide to Classic Literature, by Sparky Sweets PhD.
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When, a few months ago, I heard a booktuber recommend this show, I was kind of on the fence. The name sounded odd and I didn’t quite know what to expect. After a few videos, I was in love. Now it’s one of my favourite shows on youtube and right after I finish a new classic, the first thing I do is watch Sparky Sweets’ analysis!
Thug Notes is a show on the Wisecrack channel, that analyses classic literature in a “hood” way. That means that the presenter, Sparky Sweets, talks in a characteristic way, making everything more interesting and entertaining for a younger audience. It counts now with about eighty videos, and they update pretty regularly! On the channel, there’s other shows like Earthling Cinema (movies analysed by an alien) and 8-bit Philosophy (responding humanity’s most difficult questions with retro video games). If you don’t know the channel, I strongly advise you to look it up!
So, this book contains a couple of written analysis of the world’s most notorious classics. The analysis consist on a little introduction about the importance of the title, a presentation of the characters, a plot summary, the themes, the symbols and imagery and some quotes.
Full disclosure first: I didn’t read all of the sections of this book. There were a lot of analysis on titles I haven’t read yet and reading those parts would spoil the books for me. So I just read the ones I know (like Pride and Prejudice, Lord of the Flies or even The Catcher in the Rye). But reading just those few gave me a good perception on the book. As always, I found the interpretations really interesting and complete. Of course that these things are all very subjective but the views expressed on this book seem pretty precise.
The language of writing is exactly as the one found in the videos. That means “ghetto” and full of cuss words and all. That doesn’t bother me. But as a non-native english speaker, sometimes it’s hard to read that type of words because it takes me one extra second to realize what they mean. That happens when I read a book set in the south of the US too. They’re spelled exactly how you would pronounce and it’s not as natural to me as “regular” writing. Although I think that’s normal. It’s way easier to deal with that on the videos. It threw me off a bit but nothing that significant.
Even though this book is cool, it’s not made to read all in one siting, which I did. After a while, it gets boring. It’s better to read a classic at a time and then come back to this one. They try to make it more interesting with the graphic elements and images and that really makes a diference from other books of the same genre. It knows how to captivate its target audience, making a pretty good job on that.
Besides everything, I still rather watch the videos. It’s a way more pleasant way to learn. To be honest, this book kinda destroys that, right? Why return to a media so uninteresting to most students and forget the reason why this videos became popular? But that’s just my opinion.
So, even though this book is a fun read, I would suggest the videos 100% more. The content is more wide there and it mades the learning process even more interesting and, most of all, appealing.
Have you heard of this channel? And have you seen any of this videos? Let me know what you though of them!
Hope to see you next time,