May 19

Copy of beowulfRC2

Presenting the first ever Reading Challenge from Books on the Nightstand! (Since it’s our first, I’m still a little unsure of the do’s and don’t’s of creating a reading challenge, so I hope all of you RC veterans out there will look kindly on our freshman effort!)

A new book arrives in U.S. stores today, May 19th; Beowulf on the Beach by Jack Murnighan is an accessible, funny and extremely readable guide to 50 great works of literature, as chosen by the author. You can hear me rave more about this book on episode 31 of the podcast, which goes live May 20th.

Long story short, I was embarrassed at how few of the 50 books I had read, and have committed, this summer, to reading 4 classics I’ve never read before. Want to join me? The reading challenge is very flexible, but here are few “rules:”

  • The reading challenge runs from May 25 – September 7, 2009 (Memorial Day to Labor Day)
  • Read at least one book featured in Beowulf on the Beach, though you can, of course, read more.
  • Write about your challenge and reading experience (on a blog, Facebook, Goodreads, Twitter, etc.)
  • Feel free to use one of our beautiful reading challenge buttons on your blog (see above and below)

Pretty simple, huh? Click into this widget to see the Table of Contents, listing all of the books covered:


 

and now, for some free books:

Win one of FIVE signed copies of Beowulf on the Beach!

There are four different ways to enter:

  1. Comment on this blog post, telling us what your favorite classic is
  2. Comment on the discussion at Goodreads
  3. Comment on the discussion at Facebook
  4. Tweet the following on Twitter: “BOOKS ON THE NIGHTSTAND is giving away five signed copies of BEOWULF ON THE BEACH! To enter, tweet this! http://is.gd/Bn7A”

We’ll pick two winners from the blog comments and one from each of the other three “venues.” We’ll announce the winners on Sunday May 31st, so you’ll still have plenty of time to participate in the challenge… Good Luck and Good Reading!

Copy of beowulfRC

__________________________

 We encourage you to write down or print out the title information and shop at your local bookstore. Titles link to LibraryThing, a social networking site that allows you to catalog your home library. LibraryThing also links to various online purchasing options. Here are the books from this post:
Beowulf on the Beach by Jack Murnighan, Three Rivers Press trade paperback
(all information is for the U.S. editions).
  • I am so excited for the summer reading challenge. I have been appalled at myself for many years over the lack of knowledge of some of the classics, and this seems like a great way to rectify it. Are you going to reveal which you’re reading first?

  • I am so excited for the summer reading challenge. I have been appalled at myself for many years over the lack of knowledge of some of the classics, and this seems like a great way to rectify it. Are you going to reveal which you’re reading first?

  • Bruce Thomas

    My favorite book is The Last of the Mohicans by James Fenimore Cooper. Reading the book as a teenager was my first introduction to early American literature, and the story fascinated me. The characters were real to me, and the heroic Natty Bumppo became even more a part of my memory as I read all of the Leatherstocking tales. Now I read one of the Leatherstocking books each year to remain friends with Hawkeye and Chingachgook. It has been a good way to keep a connection with my youthful hero worship of the ultimate survivalist.

  • Bruce Thomas

    My favorite book is The Last of the Mohicans by James Fenimore Cooper. Reading the book as a teenager was my first introduction to early American literature, and the story fascinated me. The characters were real to me, and the heroic Natty Bumppo became even more a part of my memory as I read all of the Leatherstocking tales. Now I read one of the Leatherstocking books each year to remain friends with Hawkeye and Chingachgook. It has been a good way to keep a connection with my youthful hero worship of the ultimate survivalist.

  • Cam

    This is a great idea. I definitely need to check off some of my classics “to-read” list. My favorite has always been Wuthering Heights. It was the first classic I ever read that I actually enjoyed. =) Hope I win! =)

  • Cam

    This is a great idea. I definitely need to check off some of my classics “to-read” list. My favorite has always been Wuthering Heights. It was the first classic I ever read that I actually enjoyed. =) Hope I win! =)

  • Amy

    Twitter, check. Facebook, check. Goodreads, check. 🙂

    As I said on Facebook, it’s pretty hard to choose one, but if I had to, I’d go with Wuthering Heights. I wrote my senior thesis on it in college and felt uber-English-majory about it.

  • Amy

    Twitter, check. Facebook, check. Goodreads, check. 🙂

    As I said on Facebook, it’s pretty hard to choose one, but if I had to, I’d go with Wuthering Heights. I wrote my senior thesis on it in college and felt uber-English-majory about it.

  • I love a lot of the classics, but I think my favorite is The Scarlet Letter. I’ve been collecting vintage editions for several years now.

    And yay for your new reading challenge! I’ve been wanting to fill in some gaps in my reading of the classics, and this is a perfect opportunity. Count me in for the challenge and the giveaway.

    Thanks!

  • I love a lot of the classics, but I think my favorite is The Scarlet Letter. I’ve been collecting vintage editions for several years now.

    And yay for your new reading challenge! I’ve been wanting to fill in some gaps in my reading of the classics, and this is a perfect opportunity. Count me in for the challenge and the giveaway.

    Thanks!

  • I’m interested in doing this challenge and will probably post about it up on my blog. My question is (as is pretty common with Reading Challenges) if you’ll be putting up a list to the 50 classics featured in BOTB or a link to the author’s website (or somewhere else where they’re listed), or is buying a copy of the book required for participation?

    Thanks.

  • I’m interested in doing this challenge and will probably post about it up on my blog. My question is (as is pretty common with Reading Challenges) if you’ll be putting up a list to the 50 classics featured in BOTB or a link to the author’s website (or somewhere else where they’re listed), or is buying a copy of the book required for participation?

    Thanks.

  • Facebook and Twitter are checked off the list.

    Are we talking about 18th, 19th, or 20th century classics?

    One of my favorites is The Picture of Dorian Gray by Oscar Wilde.

    and…

    Washington Square by Henry James

    and

    The Grapes of Wrath by John Steinbeck

    and

    The Great Gatsby by F. Scott Fitzgerald

  • Facebook and Twitter are checked off the list.

    Are we talking about 18th, 19th, or 20th century classics?

    One of my favorites is The Picture of Dorian Gray by Oscar Wilde.

    and…

    Washington Square by Henry James

    and

    The Grapes of Wrath by John Steinbeck

    and

    The Great Gatsby by F. Scott Fitzgerald

  • Ti

    My fave classic is probably East of Eden. I love the Good vs. Evil theme.

    thereedfamilyATsbcglobalDOTnet

  • Ti

    My fave classic is probably East of Eden. I love the Good vs. Evil theme.

    thereedfamilyATsbcglobalDOTnet

  • I’m in for the challenge! My top-two favorite classics are tied for the top spot: East of Eden by John Steinbeck and The Secret Garden by Frances Hodgson Burnett.Two totally different books but I love them both.

  • I’m in for the challenge! My top-two favorite classics are tied for the top spot: East of Eden by John Steinbeck and The Secret Garden by Frances Hodgson Burnett.Two totally different books but I love them both.

  • I’m game! I have a lot of favorite classics, but at the very tip top is probably The Scarlet Letter. Or The Great Gatsby. Or Pride and Prejudice. Or maybe The Picture of Dorian Gray. Oh, but I forgot The Adventures of Sherlock Holmes. Gah, I can’t decide!!!

    I just found your podcast, thanks to my Mother’s Day gift of an iPod Nano. I’ve been listening to you all week and absolutely love your show. Great job!

    Getting ready to Tweet this and do the Goodreads thing too. Must add you to my Facebook!

  • I’m game! I have a lot of favorite classics, but at the very tip top is probably The Scarlet Letter. Or The Great Gatsby. Or Pride and Prejudice. Or maybe The Picture of Dorian Gray. Oh, but I forgot The Adventures of Sherlock Holmes. Gah, I can’t decide!!!

    I just found your podcast, thanks to my Mother’s Day gift of an iPod Nano. I’ve been listening to you all week and absolutely love your show. Great job!

    Getting ready to Tweet this and do the Goodreads thing too. Must add you to my Facebook!

  • cristie lesko

    hi mine would have to be jane eyre and east of eden
    looking forward to the challenge

  • cristie lesko

    hi mine would have to be jane eyre and east of eden
    looking forward to the challenge

  • Although I have read the Odyssey, I have a newer translation that I’ve been meaning to read. (Robert Fagles) Maybe its time.

  • Although I have read the Odyssey, I have a newer translation that I’ve been meaning to read. (Robert Fagles) Maybe its time.

  • I haven’t had much success with challenges. This sounds doable though and I am appalled by how few classics I have read!

    My favourite classic is Pride and Prejudice and favourite children’s classic The railway children.

  • I haven’t had much success with challenges. This sounds doable though and I am appalled by how few classics I have read!

    My favourite classic is Pride and Prejudice and favourite children’s classic The railway children.

  • Thanks for the reminder Heather… I’ve put up a “widget” that lets you look at the first 30 or so pages, including the Table of Contents!

  • Thanks for the reminder Heather… I’ve put up a “widget” that lets you look at the first 30 or so pages, including the Table of Contents!

  • Thanks a ton for the widget… I’m going to put Middlemarch down as my challenge book (there must be something so great that George Eliot just had to change her name to get put out there, right).

    Up to this point, my favorite classic has probably been Lord of the Flies… never been able to get enough of it.

  • Thanks a ton for the widget… I’m going to put Middlemarch down as my challenge book (there must be something so great that George Eliot just had to change her name to get put out there, right).

    Up to this point, my favorite classic has probably been Lord of the Flies… never been able to get enough of it.

  • Mine is Jane Eyre, which I’ve read at least six times. My dogeared red paperback copy is one of my favorite possessions. At work, we’re reading David Copperfield, one Dickens I never got to in school or out of it.

  • Mine is Jane Eyre, which I’ve read at least six times. My dogeared red paperback copy is one of my favorite possessions. At work, we’re reading David Copperfield, one Dickens I never got to in school or out of it.

  • carla wilson

    This is very exciting as I’m currently in 3 book clubs but nobody wants to touch the Classics. I even went by an assisted living center near my apartment and am volunteering to either start a classic book group or read to seniors no longer able to read themselves..
    My favorite classic is Jane Eyre by Charlotte Bronte. Looking forward to choosing another classic for this challenge..

  • carla wilson

    This is very exciting as I’m currently in 3 book clubs but nobody wants to touch the Classics. I even went by an assisted living center near my apartment and am volunteering to either start a classic book group or read to seniors no longer able to read themselves..
    My favorite classic is Jane Eyre by Charlotte Bronte. Looking forward to choosing another classic for this challenge..

  • David Copperfield is probably my favorite. I have picked up the pace on my classics reading over the last few years though so I will be really interested to see how I’m doing!

  • David Copperfield is probably my favorite. I have picked up the pace on my classics reading over the last few years though so I will be really interested to see how I’m doing!

  • My favorite (of the books listed in the TOC of BOTB) is Pride & Prejudice.

    I’m also a big Willa Cather fan, so O Pioneers! is a favorite.

    @Vera Marie Badertscher: I have the Fagles edition of the Odyssey, too, I think — maybe I’ll finally read it this summer!

  • My favorite (of the books listed in the TOC of BOTB) is Pride & Prejudice.

    I’m also a big Willa Cather fan, so O Pioneers! is a favorite.

    @Vera Marie Badertscher: I have the Fagles edition of the Odyssey, too, I think — maybe I’ll finally read it this summer!

  • Jennifer

    It is a truth universally acknowledged that a reader in possession of a summer must be in want of a classic….My favorite from this list is absolutely Pride and Prejudice. I’m embarrassed to say that I’ve never read anything by Henry James so Wings of a Dove will go on my summer reading list!

  • Jennifer

    It is a truth universally acknowledged that a reader in possession of a summer must be in want of a classic….My favorite from this list is absolutely Pride and Prejudice. I’m embarrassed to say that I’ve never read anything by Henry James so Wings of a Dove will go on my summer reading list!

  • Tanya Perez

    Looking at the Table of Contents, pretty much the only ones I HAVEN’T read yet are the mega-chunky tomes like “Moby Dick!” The prospect of trying to read 5 Super-Chunky books in one summer is fairly daunting, but I’ll definitely give it a shot!

    From the TOC, I would have to say “Pride and Prejudice” is my favrorite Classic as it is the book I’ve re-read the most often.

    Please enter me in the Give-Away. One of the greatest joys for an OCD bibliophile is a book comprised of a list of books!

  • Tanya Perez

    Looking at the Table of Contents, pretty much the only ones I HAVEN’T read yet are the mega-chunky tomes like “Moby Dick!” The prospect of trying to read 5 Super-Chunky books in one summer is fairly daunting, but I’ll definitely give it a shot!

    From the TOC, I would have to say “Pride and Prejudice” is my favrorite Classic as it is the book I’ve re-read the most often.

    Please enter me in the Give-Away. One of the greatest joys for an OCD bibliophile is a book comprised of a list of books!

  • Great idea! I love Wuthering Heights, by Miss Emily Bronte, and I see a few comments on that. So , I must nominate another 20th Century classic—“The Great Gatsby” by Scott Fitgerald. The poetry in his prose simply glistens on every page. I could read it over and over, and probably will this summer. It’s just simply brillant.

  • Great idea! I love Wuthering Heights, by Miss Emily Bronte, and I see a few comments on that. So , I must nominate another 20th Century classic—“The Great Gatsby” by Scott Fitgerald. The poetry in his prose simply glistens on every page. I could read it over and over, and probably will this summer. It’s just simply brillant.

  • My favourite classic is Jane Austen’s Pride and Prejudice. Still waiting for the list to load on my very slow computer, so can’t say which books I’ve read or haven’t.

  • My favourite classic is Jane Austen’s Pride and Prejudice. Still waiting for the list to load on my very slow computer, so can’t say which books I’ve read or haven’t.

  • Eric

    Love the idea of this challenge and i think i am up for the challange. As for my favorite classic book. That is a tough one for me i have tried many but have had little success. I think its time for some new “Classics”. My all time favorite book is “No country for old men” That is my new classic.

    thanks

  • Eric

    Love the idea of this challenge and i think i am up for the challange. As for my favorite classic book. That is a tough one for me i have tried many but have had little success. I think its time for some new “Classics”. My all time favorite book is “No country for old men” That is my new classic.

    thanks

  • I’ve a veritable cartload of favourite classics ranging from Boccaccio’s ‘Decameron’ to anything and everything by John Steinbeck. My absolute favourite though? Well that’s got to be Knut Hamsun’s ‘Hunger’.

    I’ve a bit of an affinity with any storyline that focuses on ‘descents into madness’ (which says a lot about my personality :o)) , but this one is extra special. It’s a real roller-coaster of a read, with the main character’s situation going through so many (minor) highs and (major) lows. I adore the book!
    Warmest
    Rob

  • I’ve a veritable cartload of favourite classics ranging from Boccaccio’s ‘Decameron’ to anything and everything by John Steinbeck. My absolute favourite though? Well that’s got to be Knut Hamsun’s ‘Hunger’.

    I’ve a bit of an affinity with any storyline that focuses on ‘descents into madness’ (which says a lot about my personality :o)) , but this one is extra special. It’s a real roller-coaster of a read, with the main character’s situation going through so many (minor) highs and (major) lows. I adore the book!
    Warmest
    Rob

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