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Publishers WeeklyIn this guide to 50 classics of literature, author and professor Murnighan (The Naughty Bits) posits that the classics aren't actually difficult to read-we've just not been taught to read them correctly. In chronological order, Murnighan breaks down classics of the Western canon, from Homer's The Iliad to Toni Morrison's Beloved, accounting for the work, the hype and the takeaway. Murnighan's strong opinions won't click with everyone, but his fresh, funny voice will keep readers thumbing through entries on The Canterbury Tales, Crime and Punishment, The Trial, Lolita and Giovanni's Room. Each entry includes a synopsis, a reputation recap, "what people don't know but should," best lines, what's sexy and what to miss. However, Murnighan's intended audience seems like a rare bird; rather than draw in those who might learn from this roundup, it's more likely the book will attract devout readers who have already read and enjoyed a number of these titles. Still, should they find reason to pick it up, the less-well-read will be pleased with Murnighan's accessibility and charm.
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