BOOKS

5 Hilariously Bad First Drafts Of Classic Books

UNSPECIFIED - CIRCA 1754: Jane Austen (1775-1817) English novelist remembered for her six great novels Sense and Sensibility,
UNSPECIFIED - CIRCA 1754: Jane Austen (1775-1817) English novelist remembered for her six great novels Sense and Sensibility, Pride and Prejudice, Mansfield Park, Emma, Persuasion, and Northanger Abbey. Engraving. (Photo by Universal History Archive/Getty Images)

The Great Gatsby was almost titled Gold-Hatted Gatsby or The High-Bouncing Lover. The flamboyance of these titles might've matched the flashiness of the jazz age, but we're thankful that Fitzgerald stuck with simplicity.

Imagining how classics might've turned out differently can be fascinating, and speaks to the values held by the writer, which is why we book lovers fixate on things like marginalia. It's also why we double over when reading blogs like Shit Rough Drafts, Paul Laudernio's hilarious take on the unrevised openings of popular books. Below are five of our favorite excerpts from the blog-turned book [Chronicle Books, $12.95].

Click here for even more Shit Rough Drafts.

  • 'Sense and Sensibility' by Jane Austen
  • The Bible
  • 'War and Peace' by Leo Tolstoy
  • 'A Tale of Two Cities' by Charles Dickens
  • 'Great Expectations' by Charles Dickens