Booking Through Thursday's questions for this week:
- Are abridged books a good thing or just plain awful? Well, "awful" might be a bit strong, since abridgements can bring books to those who would not read otherwise, and surely a little reading is better than none at all. But for myself, I don't care for them.
- How about books that are edited to modernize them? No, thank you. Get an edition with footnotes for Chaucer, Shakespeare, etc. "Shall I compare thee to a summer's day? Thou art more lovely and more temperate" or "You're prettier than a summer day" -- it loses so much.
- Is dated language part of the charm of a book or an irritation? Picking something off my shelf more-or-less at random: "'It is you -- is it, Jane? You are come back to me then?' 'I am.' 'And you do not lie dead in some ditch under some stream? And you are not a pining outcast among strangers?' 'No, sir; I am an independent woman now.' 'Independent! What do you mean, Jane?' 'My uncle in Madeira is dead, and he left me five thousand pounds.' 'Ah, this is practical -- this is real!' he cried: 'I should never dream that. Besides there is that peculiar voice of hers, so animating and piquant, as well as soft: it cheers my withered heart; it puts life into it. -- What, Janet! Are you an independent woman? A rich woman?' 'Quite rich, sir. If you won't let me live with you, I can build a house of my own close up to your door, and you may come and sit in my parlour when you want company of an evening.'" (From Jane Eyre, ch.37.) How could I be irritated?
- Have you ever read an abridged or edited version of a book? Yes. My dad subscribed to the Reader's Digest children's set for me when I was in elementary school. I have also read Americanized versions of English books, most recently the Harry Potter series. I am disappointed that American publishers think that kids won't understand what is going on if someone says, "Where are my wellies?" instead of "Where are my rainboots?" when it's usually not difficult to pick something up in context.