Beowulf on the Beach: What to Love and What to Skip in Literature's 50 Greatest Hits
If you’re like most folks, you probably feel guilty for never reading War and Peace, Ulysses, or Moby-Dick. Or maybe you read them in school, but you didn’t exactly enjoy them, right? Writer and professor Jack Murnighan says it’s not the books that put you off, it was the lifeless, uninspiring way they‘re usually taught. Now, with Beowulf on the Beach, you’ll discover not...more
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.
This is a lovely idea, and of course he's right. Sometimes. I mean, no, the Old Testament is not c...more
The Old Testament is probably the greatest compendium of quir...more
But I do not...more
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...more
So far, I have enjoyed the book. I'm not sure that it's a "read straight through" book but is more of a reference to come back to at various times.
This is a light-hearted book about books, written in a conversational style. It served as an important addition to my summer reading, as I needed something with short chapters and sections to read while supervising my children in the kiddie pool. I enjoyed Murnighan's candid descriptions of the books featured--finding classics to add to my reading list and a few to cross off. Murnighan is honest about the books he features, and it's obvious that his clear favorites are Moby Dick and...more
Each classic is reviewed with some commentary by the author, a breakdown about what's good, bad, and sexy in each classic. He even adds a "What to Skip" section where...more
I was skeptical about this book, presuming it to be yet another list of the “greatest” novels, what they’re about, why you should or shouldn’t read them, etc. And Beowulf on the Beach really is just that, but Murnigham pulls off the over-done “book on books” concept with a flair that you might not find anywhere else.
Firstly, everything is described and allocated its value through a liberal dousing of common (but ca...more
-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 somethin...more
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...more
WHAT 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 book
WHAT 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