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Beowulf on the Beach: What to Love and What…
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Beowulf on the Beach: What to Love and What to Skip in Literature's 50 Greatest Hits (original: 2009; edição: 2009)

de Jack Murnighan

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2961390,879 (3.56)56
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’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.… (mais)
Membro:Hawkeyegirl
Título:Beowulf on the Beach: What to Love and What to Skip in Literature's 50 Greatest Hits
Autores:Jack Murnighan
Informação:Three Rivers Press (2009), Paperback, 384 pages
Coleções:Sua biblioteca, Para ler, Lista de desejos, Trivia, Adventure, Series, Paranormal, Modern, Fantasy, Fiction
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Beowulf on the Beach: What to Love and What to Skip in Literature's 50 Greatest Hits de Jack Murnighan (2009)

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Mostrando 1-5 de 13 (seguinte | mostrar todas)
Murnighan wrote about 7-8 pages per classic, and tries to keep it lite; but it seems that he really put quite a lot of work into it. The book took him 8 years, or almost two months a classic. He comes across as in love with each and every one of these these books. I found him quite fun to read.

I've been tracking this list of books since I read this in 2009. It probably read it a the right time, but also it hit the mark.

2009
http://www.librarything.com/topic/81181#1721248
  dchaikin | Oct 4, 2020 |
Beowulf on the Beach is a fun, quick little read. Murnighan uses his background in medieval and renaissance literature to give readers his opinions of some of the best classic books or pieces of literature. He does quick little synopses of the stories, plot lines, best lines, and the things that you should skip in the books (and you won't miss anything by skipping those parts of the books). I enjoyed seeing another opinion on some books I really loved and getting a good idea of what other books I might (or might not) want to tackle in the near future. It was an entertaining book that inspired me to read some classic literature. I just don't know if it will be any of the ones recommended by Murnighan. ( )
1 vote melrailey | Apr 7, 2020 |
Read about 60%, skimmed the rest. Amusing for the first few chapters dealing with the more ancient classics, then tedious for the rest. I still have no inclination to read the "classics" listed in the book, that I haven't already read. ( )
  ElentarriLT | Mar 24, 2020 |
I love this book, and keep it by my bedside where I can refer to it. Yet I expected not to like it at all -- and only on a whim decided it was worth the dollar or two for which I purchased it. I hadn't expected to like it for two reasons. One was its title, which implied a cavalier and disrespectful approach to great literature. The other reason was its subtitle, which spoke of skipping and skimming literature to get what the author thought to be "the best parts" -- a practice of which I disapprove.

Having earned a PhD in medieval and renaissance literature, author Jack Murnighan is quite knowledgeable about his subject, and is enormously enthusiastic and how and why literature should be read -- even by those who aren't inclined in that direction. He takes a semi-chronological approach to what he regards as the 50 great classics of all time. Thus, beginning with the Iliad and the Odyssey, he considers The Aeneid (Virgil), Beowulf, and works of Dante, Chaucer, Shakespeare, Cervantes and Milton -- and that's just the first 150 pages of this 370 page book. His survey continues through Austen, the Brontes, Dickens, Tolstoy Kafka, Faulkner, Hemingway, up through Cormac McCarthy and Toni Morrison.

Each work begins with an introduction to the author, followed by the following brief sections: "The Buzz" (a paragraph on how the author and his/ her work is commonly viewed); "What People Don't Know But Should;" the "Best Line;" Quirky Facts;" and "What to Skip." (For some of the works, he also includes a section on "What's Sexy" -- a part that I could have lived without). This format summary makes the work sound trivial and superficial. But in fact, I have come to respect the author's perspective, judgment, and taste. This work led me to tackle multiple translations of the Odyssey; to read Beowulf; and to read James Baldwin's spectacular novel Giovanni's Room. It gave me a deeper appreciation into a number of works that I had already read (such as Moby Dick, Lolita, and Morrison's Beloved and has convinced me to try works that I've not yet sampled (Kafka's The Trial,Dante's Inferno, Fielding's Tom Jones, Dickens' Bleak House, and Hemingway's A Farewell to Arms. It also led me to recognize various works that are unlikely ever to appeal to me (e.g. Faust; Ulysses; Tropic of Cancer; and Blood Meridian).

As I make my way through works Murnighan has recommended, I continually refer to this book for the author's perspective. I am glad to recommend this book to actual and prospective lovers of great literature. ( )
2 vote danielx | Aug 14, 2018 |
I credit this book with telling me about some books I'd never heard of, and telling me more than I knew about others. I got along better with the author when he was discussing all the books I'd never read; whenever I had read the book, I ended up wincing at his description of it. His love for his favorite books is clear, and it's just as clear to me that we don't have the same tastes in literature. Which is probably why I kept rolling my eyes at the "What's Sexy" section for every book. Sure, often it's funny, and Murnighan knows there are other things to appreciate about a book besides its sex scenes (if any). But the idea that people will only read a classic if it has sex in it got annoying pretty quickly. ( )
  Silvernfire | Aug 1, 2015 |
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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’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.

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