Our friend Jack Murnighan’s new book, Beowulf on the Beach: What to Love and What to Skip in Literature’s 50 Greatest Hits, is guaranteed to inspire you to pick up at least one classic this summer. And not because you “should” or because it’ll make you a better person or a more interesting date (though all these things are true), but because they’re actually, you know, good. As in, funny, sexy, engrossing beach reads. Back when we were all colleagues at Nerve.com, Jack penned a weekly column called Jack’s Naughty Bits, in which he mined both modern and classic books for the sex — and yet still managed to make you feel high-brow just for reading it. We chatted with him about his latest below. Stay tuned for Part 2, an excerpt from Beowulf on the Beach on the most sexed-up parts of the Bible.
In Beowulf on the Beach, there’s a “What’s Sexy” section for each of the fifty books. Which title was the biggest challenge to find something sexy?
Well, in general, Dickens and Jane Austen tend to ignore their characters’ between-the-legs lives.
And which “What’s Sexy” do you think readers will find most surprising?
I‚Äôd guess Milton‚Äôs Paradise Lost, since he‚Äôs got two full-on sex scenes, a speech advocating (marital) whoopee, and a description of boot-knocking in Heaven. Not bad for one of England’s most pious poets.