2010: 31. Beowulf on the Beach

“What, you weren’t planning on packing Beowulf with your sunscreen and flipflops?”

Beowulf on the Beach: What to Love and What to Skip in Literature’s 50 Greatest Hits, Jack Murnigham

       Even though I am the kind of person who forces herself to read great books (even the ones that I don’t really enjoy that much, out of sheer stubbornness), I nonetheless love books like this one, that take literature and make it fun and chatty and almost pop-culture-y.  Here, Murningham takes 50 great works, and gives us “the Buzz” “What People Don’t Know (and Should)” “Best Line” “What’s Sexy” “Quirky Fact” and “What to Skip”, so that you can dabble in everything from Homer to Pyncheon.  It’s the kind of book that is a little gimmicky, sure, but the author’s passion for the works he’s writing about shines through, and in the end makes you want to read much (if not all) of what he’s talking about.  The reason I liked it (and other types of books like this), is that Murningham is erudite and funny, and makes reading seem like a fun game that we all ought to be playing. And because, let’s face it, I’m the kind of person who would read Beowulf on the beach (see e.g, my attempt to read Finnegan’s Wake on my Irish vacation).

Date/Place Completed:  January 2010; D.C.

Categories:  Non-fiction

© Carrie Dunsmore 2017