The Western Lit Survival Kit: An Irreverent Guide to the Classics, from Homer to Faulkner by Sandra Newman
Review by: Lauren
Copy from: TLC Book Tours
To many, the Great Books evoke angst: the complicated Renaissance dramas we bluffed our way through in college, the dusty Everyman’s Library editions that look classy on the shelf but make us feel guilty because they’ve never been opened. On a mission to restore the West’s great works to their rightful place (they were intended to be entertaining!), Sandra Newman has produced a reading guide like no other. Beginning with Greek and Roman literature, she takes readers through hilarious detours and captivating historical tidbits on the road to Modernism. Along the way, we find parallels between Rabelais and South Park, Jane Austen and Sex and the City, Jonathan Swift and Jon Stewart, uncovering the original humor and riskiness that propelled great authors to celebrity.
Packed with pop culture gems, stories of literary hoaxes, ironic day jobs for authors, bad reviews of books that would later become classics, and more.
Review: I will start this review off in all honesty. I did not read the entire book. Now, that’s not because it wasn’t interesting or even entertaining. It’s just no the type of book you really sit down and read all the way through. I like that you can go to various sections and find the authors you’re curious to know more about.
As a current English Literature college student, this is definitely the perfect book for me. I got to read up on some of the authors I already love (Oscar Wilde) as well as the ones I’ve taken classes on (Edgar Allen Poe). I’ve also taken a British Literature class in the past and found it fun to read about the authors and stories I had to trek my way through in that class.
I may be an English major who loves to read, but that doesn’t mean I’m a huge fan of all the classics. Sandra Newman really does make it interesting though!! I wouldn’t say I completely agree with her level of fun for all books…but I did like getting her humorous take on the lives and works of various authors. And boy, is this book humorous! It really would be the perfect guide for English majors, as well as readers interested in the classic works — and I don’t just mean the ones who have read a ton of it! This book might just give you an idea of what is actually worth it.
I want to thank the author and TLC Book Tours for letting me check out this book! It was a lot of fun to go through, and it really does include some amusing highlights you’ll want to read aloud (sorry to my sister for having to listen to the ones I found! I’m sure she didn’t really mind though).
To Enter: What is your favorite “classic” book or who is your favorite “classic” author?
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Ends: January 31, 2012 (that’s a Tuesday!!)
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