Feel bad about not reading or not enjoying the so called great books Don t sweat it, it s not your fault Did anyone tell you that Anna Karenina is a beach read, that Dickens is hilarious, that the Iliad s battle scenes rival Hollywood s for gore, or that Joyce is at his best when he s talking about booze, sex, or organ meats Writer and professor Jack Murnighan says it sFeel bad about not reading or not enjoying the so called great books Don t sweat it, it s not your fault Did anyone tell you that Anna Karenina is a beach read, that Dickens is hilarious, that the Iliad s battle scenes rival Hollywood s for gore, or that Joyce is at his best when he s talking about booze, sex, or organ meats Writer and professor Jack Murnighan says it s time to give literature another look, but this time you ll enjoy yourself With a little help, you ll see just how great the great books are how they can make you laugh, moisten your eyes, turn you on, and leave you awestruck and deeply moved Beowulf on the Beach is your field guide erudite, witty, and fun loving for helping you read and relish fifty of the biggest and most skipped classics of all time For each book, Murnighan reveals how to get the most out of your reading and provides a crib sheet that includes the Buzz, the Best Line, What s Sexy, and What to Skip.
Beowulf on the Beach What to Love and What to Skip in Literature s Greatest Hits Feel bad about not reading or not enjoying the so called great books Don t sweat it it s not your fault Did anyone tell you that Anna Karenina is a beach read that Dickens is hilarious that the Ili
It s perhaps inevitable that I wouldn t get on with this book, for three reasons One, I m an academic type Two, Beowulf genuinely is my idea of a beach read Three, in his words, I sit down to pee.No, no I don t mean that in a derogatory, women always argue way I mean that Jack Murnighan keeps going on about Man Lit , and how amaaaazing it is that he managed to find anything worth reading in Pride and Prejudice, and how all women are going to be all starry eyed over Darcy, and whatever.The very i [...]
Alternately engaging and infuriating I talked back to this book a lot while reading it Murnighan has an unfortunate tendency to reduce works to male and female literature Men won t like Pride and Prejudice, especially the last third of the book women won t like Beowulf Okay, to be fair, he doesn t actually come out and say the second bit, but here is what he says If there s such a thing as Man Lit, this is it a plot driven, action brimming, hero of heroes story line, man vs monster, battle to th [...]
Well, I m glad I didn t read it with the intention of adding any of these classics to my to read lists The author actually turned me off of the few that I had been considering, as he made sure to brag on all the gory violence, skanky sex, and self indulgent despair so prevalent in most.I did read it to see if I could be persuaded that any are ones that I should feel a twinge of guilt for not reading, or any that I would consider recommending to friends who want to accomplish the reading of a cla [...]
Murnighan is also the author of a book called The Naughty Bits The Steamiest and Most Scandalous Sex Scenes from the World s Great Books, and that tells you a lot about him Murnighan is the guy who considers himself the cool professor at your college His mission here is to take some books traditionally considered old, crusty, impenetrable and boring, and convince you that in fact they are cool.This is a lovely idea, and of course he s right Sometimes I mean, no, the Old Testament is not cool The [...]
Read a few chapters and was turned off It s like listening to someone on a barstool puffing their chest after a few drinks and giving you the in your face scoop on something In this case, some classics of literature Superficial looks at books with no insights I could discern as being helpful to what makes a work great I m glad I wasted only five bucks on it.
What a brilliant book to have written I am often wondering what is so great about classics and now I don t need to wonder any because this gem tells me the good, the bad, and the skippable
I really, really wanted to like this book As a reader, and a reader of the classics, I thought that it would be fun and interesting to read about which books the author deemed worthy and to read why he thought others were unworthy A mistake I made, and it was my mistake, was to misread the title I thought the author would tell me which novels as a whole to skip from his list of 50 Not so, instead he tells you which parts within the works to skip I cannot even begin to say how offensive I found t [...]
OMGI don t know if it is my teaching background or love of classics, but it doesn t matter This book is making me giggle madly I am cornering my children and reading sections aloud to them I m only a little ways into it, but I have a total crush on this book Each section is about a classic summarized, broken down, digested and spit back out in a way you ve never heard before For instance, on The Old Testament under Quirky Fact The Old Testament is probably the greatest compendium of quirky bits [...]
I ve been reading this one for nearly a year and will probably finish this summer I think that s the perfect pace for this book if I read too quickly the chapters merge together in my mind I begin to confuse James Joyce with Thomas Mann This is a fabulous book and I might loan out my copy but I ll never give it away.
The author s voice made me miserable He is fond of perpetuating gender stereotypes and does so throughout the book For example, and I m paraphrasing here, Woman like Pride and Prejudice and dudes totally don t I guess I m pretty embarrassed that I read this I feel like I debased myself in some way The author also repeatedly referred to how arduous the writing of the book was, which to me seems sort of inexplicable No entry is very in depth, and it s rare to read something in it that a article co [...]
I do not think there could be a person on earth 1 who obviously loves reading as much as I do, yet 2 who has completely and totally opposite reading tastes.Let me make one thing clear Jack is a GUY He is looking for action in books Plot Fighting Killing Plunder You know That sort of stuff.I could care less about plot I want to get inside people s heads I want to understand people A group of intriguing people, sitting around in chairs, talking Excellent book for me So Beowulf at the Beach had not [...]
This book has found its way onto my bookshelf at school alongside To Kill A Mockingbird, Romeo Juliet, and the other high school staples I teach I have loved using it to teach literary criticism and analysis this year The author has such a funny, modern voice that most of my students really enjoyed reading his interpretations of books that they and sometimes I thought were boring I have not read all of the books listed in Murnighan s 50 greatest hits, but I m going to add a few of them to my lis [...]
WHAT TO LOVE The Best Lines sectionsWHAT TO SKIP Any section with the label What s Sexy ugh , any section where the words Gabriel Garcia Marquez appear, the weird and completely unqualified rant against neuroscience lurking somewhere in the middle of the bookWHAT TO KNOW Murnighan doesn t tell you what books to skip, but what passages to skip within each book, which for most of the entries was unnecessary and frustrating
One of the most common assumptions people make about my choice of career is that I am as well read as my job description implies, and because of that, I have a reason to be even an obligation to be snooty about my reading choices, and make equally snooty declarations regarding any literary work I come across These people look at me and titter, and say that I must have read the Russian novelists and enjoyed them, or that I must find Joyce and Woolf exceedingly enlightening reads.But I do not like [...]
Rating A Summary Dr Smarty Pants aka, the down to earth Jack Murnighan gives you a low down on 50 of the world s greatest books He tells you what s sexy, what s skip able, and why this book will rock your world if you ll just give it a chance He aims to bring the lofty and esoteric of literature down to the huddled masses of the world so we can enjoy it too.Review I do admit that I have a fondness and maybe a little bit of a crush on this author I mean it, let s get real, what guy was born a Hoo [...]
This book was not quite what I had expected It did serve two purposes for me a review of lit that I don t actually intend to re read, and some teasers that encourage me to read some that I hadn t read yet Otherwise, I found myself irritated a lot of the time The author doesn t seem to have a grasp of his audience really He includes a What s Sexy category in each review, and honestly, he uses that section to reveal when and if there is sex happening in the work I submit to you, the fact that ther [...]
Well this certainly was a very interesting novel I learned a little bit about several of the 50 Greatest Pieces of Literature but it was really only his opinion on things It gave an adequate description of the novels and made even some of them sound interesting, but all in all I was thoroughly bored The book was easy to read but I felt like I was just reading it page by page just to get through it The bible review did intrigue me a bit His fascination of the Songs of Solomon really seemed funny [...]
By the end, I felt it was worth reading this book because I managed to get a couple good points, the beginning was painful Despite the marketing of essentially bringing classic literature to the masses, the author is constantly making difficult word choices in his writing I read quite a bit and there were a lot of words that I had never seen before, let alone just didn t know what they meant I agree with the another reviewer that his choices left something to be desired on the whole and that the [...]
Although he sometimes becomes rather too enad of his own vocabulary, Murnighan pretty much hits the nail on the head with most of the books he reviews And he s funny and easy to read I was rather relieved to hear a PhD in Medieval and Renaissance Literature say that there are parts to the great novels that aren t so great especially when he called the main character in James Joyce s Portrait of the Artist as a Young Man, a simmpering dork I d always thought of him as an annoying twit, so we were [...]
This is a really fun book The author, a writer and professor, sets out to tell us why the books we read in high school or college, are so much better read as adults Murnighan chooses 50 books from The Iliad to Toni Morrison s Beloved, with 48 classics in between With a wicked sense of humor, Murnighan gives us a challenge, let s give literature another look, but this time we ll enjoy ourselves He writes of Moby Dick that it is one of the funniest books of all time, and that Chaucer gets a bad ra [...]
I don t recommend reading this book front to back but it s fun to read in pieces Murnighan provides a synopsis of each book and author and is kind enough to give lots of detail and what parts to skip over I learned something in just about in all 50 segments Unfortunately, I still won t be rushing to read Moby Dick or Proust but that s hardly his fault.I will say read this book with a dictionary handy I thought I had a reasonably wide vocabulary but Murnighan throwing around fancy words like thau [...]
Really a 3.5 star book I enjoyed this, and I appreciated the effort it took to put this together I do not read as an academic, plot is almost always important in my reading than the language and allegorical meaning, so I like the way he laid out ways to read deeper into the works After reading this, I definitely have some classics to add to the list , and some to leave off Not bad.
I heard an interview with the author on NPR one morning while heading to the farmer s market So far, I have enjoyed the book I m not sure that it s a read straight through book but is of a reference to come back to at various times.
Most of the time, I enjoy reading classic literature, so I don t really need anyone to sell me on the concept of picking up a famous book that s than a few years old But when I read the description of this book, it sounded entertaining so I added it to my list.Jack Murnighan holds a PhD in Literature and has spent time as a college writing professor, columnist and blogger He really, really wants to convince his readers that the classics can be read and enjoyed, so in this book he provides short [...]
This is a very entertaining book if you can look past his some what biases choice of classics He did what he set out to do and entertained along the way Like all good literature professors his aim is to get you to want to read the classics, to get excited about them, and ultimately take something away from them His choice of classics I will relate at the bottom for me than for your benefit and not all of them seemed like classics to me, but all of them sounded interesting enough I might be will [...]
This book definitely accomplishes its goal of making the reader want to explore the classics Before becoming too exasperated about the omissions from Literature s 50 Greatest Hits Count of Monte Cristo doesn t make the cut Come on , I stopped myself and read the Note on the Selections in the appendix There, Murnighan writes, It was clearly an impossible task, and no matter what I chose, it still felt like taking spoonsful out of an ocean 363 I calmed down a bit, but still would like to read a ch [...]
One of the all time best nonfiction books I have ever read It was like reading 50 books, multiple times each, and then absorbing all that experience into my gut Plus, being entertained by the descriptions with dollops of extra amusement Wow I wish he had chosen 500 books instead of a mere 50.Also, this book significantly increased my library list of books on reserve which wasn t short to begin with.Also also, it was like having a conversation or occasionally argument, for I stand very differentl [...]
I read Beowulf on the Beach for a couple of reasons because I liked the title, I like books about books reading, I wanted to hear what the author thought about some of MY favorite books, and I wanted to add to my TBR list In no specific order, here are my thoughts, and then be forewarned I m going to make some lists A lot of other reviewers complained about the author s macho dude perspective, particularly in referring to Beowulf as man lit I think it was Beowulf, might have been something else, [...]
Each entry is like an article from a magazine Equally interesting whether I have read the work or not.
Such a useful tool going to have this in my hand when I next try and tackle the classics Very amusing writer that encouraged me to pick up some challenging books.