The essence of this challenge is that you peruse the lovely tidbits in the forth-coming book Beowulf on the Beach by the ridiculously-talented author and essayist Jack Murnighan and select one classic work of literature that you'll tackle some time this summer (May 25 - September 7; aka, Memorial Day - Labor Day).
The summary of Beowulf on the Beach (which sounds delightful) from GoodReads.com:
"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 only why these classics deserve another chance, but how to read great books in general.I selected Middlemarch by George Eliot which I've been meaning to read ever since finishing 13 Ways of Looking at the Novel because the idea that George Eliot had something so important to write that she'd publish under a man's name to get it taken seriously intrigues me.
"Balancing humor and expertise, Murnighan picks 50 of the most revered books of all time and explains what the professors never told you: that Moby-Dick is funny, Dante will make you cry, Anna Karenina is a beach read, and James Joyce is great, but only if he’s talking about drinking, sex, or organ meats. Plus you get the juicy tidbits on what you’re supposed to know, what you need to know, and what’s okay for you to skip without feeling guilt. From Homer and Proust to Beloved and the Bible, Beowulf on the Beach is a user-friendly guide through the imposing world of capital-L Literature. In no time at all, you’ll be revved up and ready to tackle Dickens or Woolf—only this time without the test."
Below is a widget that will let you peruse the first 30 pages of the book (which includes the table of contents listing the 50 books analyzed in Beowulf on the Beach) so you can pick and choose (if you want) to participate in this challenge. If you do, be sure to drop a comment on the Books on the Nightstand blog posting about this.
If you're having trouble viewing the widget (or it doesn't come through on your email subscription), check it out at the Random House website.