NOTICE: (Updated March 5, 2010)

Beginning December 19, 2009, Books 'N Border Collies will be posting but only intermittently while I pursue personal goals. I plan to share some reading I'm doing, but there will be no reviews. I will, however, be sharing my exploration of vegetarian cooking and the cookbooks and websites I use to educate myself. I hope you enjoy it!


Thursday, May 21, 2009


by Jack Murnighan

We list junkies adore books like this, and this one is brand-spankin' new! For each of the 50 classics that Jack Murnighan has chosen to highlight in Beowulf on the Beach: What to Love and What to Skip in Literature's 50 Greatest Hits, he "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" (from the back cover). He tells you the boring parts to skip! Cool! I personally wouldn't do that, but it's nice that he lets me know what's not so good, at least in his opinion.

I've thumbed through the entire book, read sections here and there, and Murnighan makes me want to sit down and read each and every one of the books he talks about. So what's a girl to do but list them all out and get to work! It will be a long-term project of course, but eventually I'd like to have each one not only read, but I'd like to have a post written about each one, with the possible exception of The Bible. (I think I'd feel too weird "reviewing" the Bible.) That means a few rereads somewhere a long the way. And that's OK! Man, I love this stuff!!!

Books in bold I have read, but they are not talked about on this blog. Yet. :-) Books I've posted about are linked.

In chronological order:

The Iliad -- Homer
The Odyssey -- Homer
The Old Testament -- The Bible
The New Testament -- The Bible
The Aeneid -- Virgil
Metamorphoses -- Ovid
Beowulf -- Anonymous
Inferno -- Dante Alighieri
Paradiso -- Dante Aligheiri
The Decameron -- Giovanni Boccaccio
The Canterbury Tales -- Geoffrey Chaucer
The Faerie Queene -- Edmund Spencer
Hamlet -- William Shakespeare
King Lear -- William Shakespeare
Macbeth -- William Shakespeare
Don Quixote -- Miguel De Cervantes
Paradise Lost -- John Milton
Tom Jones -- Henry Fielding
Faust I & II -- Johann Wolfgang Von Goethe
Eugene Onegin -- Alexander Pushkin
Pere Goriot -- Honore De Balzac
Jane Eyre -- Charlotte Bronte
Wuthering Heights -- Emily Bronte
Moby Dick -- Herman Melville
Bleak House -- Charles Dickens
Great Expectations -- Charles Dickens
Madame Bovary -- Gustave Flaubert
Crime and Punishment -- Fyodor Dostoevsky
The Brothers Karamazov -- Fyodor Dostoevsky
War and Peace -- Leo Tolstoy
Anna Karenina -- Leo Tolstoy
Middlemarch -- George Eliot
The Wings of the Dove -- Henry James
Remembrance of Things Past -- Marcel Proust
(My thoughts on Swann's Way)
Ulysses -- James Joyce
The Magic Mountain -- Thomas Mann
The Trial -- Franz Kafka
To The Lighthouse -- Virginia Woolf
The Sound and the Fury -- William Faulkner
A Farewell To Arms -- Ernest Hemingway
Tropic of Cancer -- Henry Miller
Native Son -- Richard Wright
The Man Without Qualities -- Robert Musil
Lolita -- Vladimir Nabokov
Giovanni's Room -- James Baldwin
One Hundred Years of Solitude -- Gabriel Garcia Marquez
Gravity's Rainbow -- Thomas Pynchon
Blood Meridian -- Cormac McCarthy
Beloved -- Toni Morrison


JoAnn said...

The title of this book made me smile! Just checked my library system and it isn't available yet, but I'll check again in a few weeks. I love lists, too!

Lezlie said...

JoAnn ~ I liked the title, too. It was released just yesterday, so it may take a little while for the library to get it.


Lisa said...

Great title, and I love lists. But, I just can't do this to myself right now. :) But, it'll be fun to watch your progress.

Lezlie said...

Lisa ~ It's a fun book to read even if you don't plan of reading the books he talks about. Most if not all of the list is on the 1001 or Great Books lists, so I'm not reaching too far beyond what I would have eventually read anyway. :-)


zetor said...

Haven't read most of the books, but will check your progress! Good Luck!

Lezlie said...

Thanks, Zetor! Most of these I've wanted to read at some point anyway. It will be fun to check them off as I go along with my Learning Plans.


Ann Kingman said...

Good luck! I have no pretensions that I will get to every book, but I do intend to read at least one this summer (War and Peace).

We are giving away 5 copies of BEOWULF ON THE BEACH over at Books on the Nightstand, so I encourage Books 'N Border Collies to come over and see how to win. It's also in conjunction with a reading challenge, and details of that are there, too.

Lezlie said...

Ann ~ Thanks! War & Peace is a good one, that's for sure. Actually, it was on your site that I first heard about the book. I went to the store immediately after work and bought it. Thanks for the tip! :-) In fact, I meant to tell people about the challenge you and Michael are hosting. Thanks for reminding me! I'll do that this weekend for sure!


Rebecca Reid said...

I love books with lists like that! Sounds like this is another great list of classics to read.

Terri B. said...

Another great sounding book to put on my wishlist! I'm still snickering over the idea of "reviewing" the Bible. I'm not sure why I'm finding it quite so funny, but I am.

Michael Kindness said...

Thanks for all of the great comments everyone... it is a great book and I got to hang out with the author today. He's such a great guy and so passionate about these classics.

Have fun reading everyone!

Lezlie said...

Rebecca ~ Me, too! I just picked up another one last night, The Literary 100. I'll post that list later on. I want to read a bit of the book first.

Terri B. ~ I still might someday post *something* about reading the Bible, but I'm not brave enough yet. :-)

Michael ~ Hello! Thanks so much for stopping by! And thanks for letting me know about this wonderful book! The author's enthusiasm for these classics is evident on every page, but his laid-back attitude makes them all seem so accessible. If he can't make you unafraid to give them a shot, I'm not certain who can! I've posted about your challenge and giveaway, so I hope you get lots and lots of takers!


Dogs Have Wings said...

i was doing a search on the web for the beowulf book after listening to an npr story about it. So, I came across your blog and being a bc person as well, I was thrilled to see your blog. I look forward to following.

Lezlie said...

Hi, Jude! I'm so glad you found me! I'll do my best to make it worth coming back often! :-) Have you had a chance to look at Beowulf on the Beach? It's a very fun book to keep around as a resource.


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