So you want to know what the "classics" are about but don't actually want to READ them? Or maybe you are interested in the classics but don't know where to start? These books might have the answers for you!
"Beowulf on the Beach: What to Love and What to Skip in Literature's 50 Greatest Hits" by Jack Murningham
This book cracked me up. It takes a classic book and then breaks it down by section or chapter to make it understandable. It even tells you what parts are not crucial/ makes confusing for no reason so that you can skim those parts. It's a great way to get introduced to the classics!
"Dead White Guys: A Father,His Daughters, and the Great Books of the Western World" by Matt Burriesci
This books is kind of a in letter format, an man tries to convince his (now infant) daughter that these books are worth reading; even if it only represents a small section of the literary world at large (you know, dead white guys). He tells her what each book can teach her and how the lessons they teach are still useful in the modern world. For me, some of the sections were more interesting then others, but you could skip around and read certain chapters that appealed to you and still get a lot of out of this book.
"Give War and Peace a Chance: Tolstoyan Wisdom for Troubled Times" by Andrew D Kaufman
We use War & Peace as a shorthand to talk about things that are insurmountable or intimidating, but this book says it doesn't have to be t his way. And I love a clever title. Of course this book focuses in on one classic where the others offer you many, but maybe War and Peace is your white whale and this will help you get started.Most criticisms of this book come from the fact that maybe the author talks about himself too much.