Beowulf on the Beach
What to Love and What to Skip in Literature's 50 Greatest Hits
By Jack Murnighan
(Broadway Books, Paperback, 9780307409577, 384pp.)
Publication Date: May 19, 2009
Enter your zip code below to find indies closest to you.
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.
JACK MURNIGHAN has a Ph.D. in medieval and renaissance literature from Duke University. He is the author of The Naughty Bits and Classic Nasty and has written for Esquire, Glamour, and Nerve. He lives in New York City and teaches creative nonfiction at the University of the Arts.
“Jack Murnighan’s enthusiasm for the great books–and his understanding of why they still matter–is genuinely infectious. Reading Beowulf on the Beach is like belonging to the most stimulating and hilarious book club you could possibly imagine.”
—Steven Johnson, author of Everything Bad Is Good For You
“Odysseus was a hero in his own way. But to me, a true hero? Jack Murnighan. He's ingested these 50 massive books and given us a ridiculously entertaining guide. Beowulf on the Beach is funny, smart, passionate and wise. Just having it on your shelf will raise your IQ.”
—A.J. Jacobs, author of The Know-It-All
"Jack Murnighan unveils a lot more sexiness–and pleasure of all kinds–in classic literature than most people would ever dream of."
—Susie Bright, editor of the Best American Erotica series