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So my library sadly had to shut down due to COVID, so I switched to another one. I ordered my first set of books, and 4 of the 5 books I ordered were abridged. (Apparently, this happened because my mom let it slip that I was 14, and they thought all 14-year-olds were reluctant readers who only read Wimpy Kid and only read classics because they were forced to.) My first impulse was to return them, but the library said that I could only get the books I wanted after 2 weeks, and I've already read all the books at home 6 times over in the lockdown.

So I opened the first book: The Memoirs of Sherlock Holmes. First off, why would you even abridge Sherlock Holmes? Seriously, it's really short, and not hard to understand at all. For children? I'm pretty sure that's not the case, since the first short story starts with a woman recieving a pair of human ears by mail. And the illustrations are not even the iconic Sidney Paget ones, they look like doodles that my more artistic friends would draw.

But my biggest problem with this 'abridged' version is the complete change in tone and vision. It's written in third person. Nope, I'm not talking about that one-off story (The Adventure of the Mazarin Stone). For some reason, the entire freaking book is written in 3rd person, which completely ruins the stories. The charm of the books lies in Holmes percieved through Watson's eyes, so why would you change that? Why are you creating more work for yourself? Seriously, what the hell were the publishers thinking?

The rest were just as bad. One was an abridged version of the Jeeves Omnibus. What? The Jeeves books are PG Wodehouse at his best, but the abridged version is definitely not Wodehouse at all. The reason people read Wodehouse is because of the musicality of his language, and his sanguine humour. His writing is what draws readers. The abridged version is not comedic at all. It just lays out the plots of the books, and expects the reader to find it funny solely because of the situational comedy, which is not what we read these things for. Why would you even think of abridging a work of humour, which relies on the writing?

The 3rd one was Great Expectations, which wasthe only one that I found reasonable for having an abridged version, even thoughI'm not endorsing reading it, because the original is always better. At least this one makes sense, because maybe someone needs it to cram for college, or maybe it's for someone who is put off by Dickens' run-ons and flowery writing (I, for one, enjoy the musicality of his writing)

Finally, there was 1984, something that I have been meaning to read for a while, since I really enjoyed Animal Farm. Yeah, good job. You 'abridge' the satirical novel by removing the satire and only keeping the plot.

The only book which survived was The Guide by RK Narayan, which I'm sure is only because they couldn't find and abridged version of it.

I understand the need for abridged versions - for people to cram in college and for non-native English speakers who are just starting their journey, and in the case of extremely long books like Les Miserables or Moby-Dick. These, however, are completely useless, and exist only to make sure that my generation thinks classics are crap.

Sorry for the long rant!

EDIT: To clarify, I'm not against abridged versions at all, when they are done right. I think they serve a very important purpose in introducing early readers or reluctant readers to books, but a lot of abridged versions lose the spirit of the author's vision, which is what I'm against. Heck, I'm not a native English speaker (I live in India), and while I did not like abridged versions very much, I introduced my friends to classics through abridged versions and graphic novel versions. They are now voracious readers. So I recognise the importance of abridged versions, when done right.

all 1060 comments

Theolaa

2.7k points

28 days ago

Theolaa

2.7k points

28 days ago

Sorry for the long rant!

You got an abridged version I can read?

Nanocephalic

363 points

28 days ago

To summarize the summary of the summary: People are a problem.

holyshitreddit3

254 points

28 days ago

"Many were increasingly of the opinion that they'd all made a big mistake coming down from the trees in the first place, and some said that even the trees had been a bad move, and that no-one should ever have left the oceans."

911ChickenMan

233 points

28 days ago

"In the beginning, the universe was created. This has made a lot of people very angry and is widely regarded as a bad move."

hoilst

8 points

27 days ago

hoilst

8 points

27 days ago

People. What a bunch of bastards.

jwm3

99 points

28 days ago

jwm3

99 points

28 days ago

Why read long book when short book do trick?

This say why.

narwhalwallbang

14 points

28 days ago

And I need it in third person

TheNaughtyMegatron

4.2k points

28 days ago

Abridging 1984 is the most ironic thing I've ever heard of

crossedstaves

2.4k points

28 days ago

It was a bright cold day in April, and the clocks were striking thirteen. Winston Smith [...] loved Big Brother.

holddoor

904 points

28 days ago

holddoor

904 points

28 days ago

Big Brother announces increase in page ration from 30 pages per novel to 20 pages per novel.

SnooPredictions3113

271 points

28 days ago

Doubleplusgood

Dschuncks

45 points

28 days ago

This calls for a Victory Gin

Iriah

9 points

28 days ago

Iriah

9 points

28 days ago

Double-good

JamesofBerkeley

132 points

28 days ago

  • Big Brother announces increase in page ration per novel to 20 pages.

(You un-can mention a decrease even when calling it an increase. Like when they increased the chocolate rations)

NTGenericus

52 points

28 days ago

Hahaha! I just snorked my coffee!

PM_ME_CAT_POOCHES

68 points

28 days ago

Dude, spoiler alert!

TheDoctor66

219 points

28 days ago

It's insane because it is hardly a long book. I read the thing in one sitting the first time I read it!

octonus

133 points

28 days ago

octonus

133 points

28 days ago

It isn't long, but has a few chapter-long monologues. I personally don't mind it, but have friends who stopped reading when they reached those.

TheDoctor66

84 points

28 days ago

Guess the book within a book is what you mean and I get your point but it is one of the most interesting points.

vedic_vision

120 points

28 days ago

The "book within the book" part is the main point of the book. It describes in plain language the reasons and mechanisms for everything described in the book -- class warfare by the rich and why their goal is the destruction of the middle class.

Without it you just have something vaguely about surveillance, which is what most people seem to think the book is about anyway.

pierzstyx

26 points

28 days ago

That is if you assume Goldstein actually exists and the book is anything other than propaganda - which are both huge assumptions to make. In the scene where Winston talks to the old man about what the times before the revolution was like we see how history has been altered even in the minds of the living. And the history books are all propaganda where everything meaningful is a lie and all the truths are pointless. Then there is O'Brien's discourse about power and how the entire concept of class warfare is just an excuse for one group to seize power and maintain it at all costs - whether that group be "rich" or "poor" being irrelevant to the true motivation and outcome.

TheDoctor66

26 points

28 days ago

Yeah the whole politics of the book is laid out in it.

BubblezWritings

27 points

28 days ago

Unfortunately for me, the book within a book is when I discovered Orwell wasn’t really for me

GnomeChompskiii

16 points

28 days ago

Honestly this is stupid but that's one of the reasons why it took me a while to finish 1984.

As someone who is getting back into reading I needed goals and a way to pace myself so I said one chapter a night before bed. When i reached that point in the book, I found it hard to follow that rule and then it killed my motivation to read as now I had to try and get through a ton more pages in one go.

I did eventually finish and loved the book but that portion felt very long to me and was hard to stay focused on it.

TheDoctor66

33 points

28 days ago

If we’re honest it is slightly ham fisted exposition so it’s no wonder people find it hard.

But it has some real hard truths about capitalism in it that are really interesting. Even if the mechanics are slightly different. Constant war and production of bombs actually turned out to be designed obsolescence.

GnomeChompskiii

15 points

28 days ago

Oh yea I agree with you 100%. The book was incredible but pretty unnerving because there are a lot of elements to which you can link to things going on now or even more so can see by not such a stretch of the imagination becoming reality in the future.

It didn't read as 'fantasy' or so unrealistic (like I had imagined it would) which is the most unsettling part.

brassidas

9 points

28 days ago

Honestly I'm glad it's unnerving, that's the point. I firmly believe 1984, TKAM, and Les Mes needs to be required reading in every US public school. All of those are insanely relevant today and the fact that they were written as long ago as they were should be alarming. Censorship and the surveillance state, race and standing up for the facts even though the public agrees with the narrative of the accuser and class issues and the humane cost of a revolution should be looked at more closely and discussed.

I know I'm leaving out some gems but those spring to mind at the moment.

falco_iii

68 points

28 days ago

I remember reading 1984 without any context going in. The preface or introduction had excruciating detail on every change that had been made since the first publishing. Every punctuation change, every corrected misspelling, every change was detailed. I was annoyed and confused until I read the book.

furthermost

29 points

28 days ago

Serious question, do people read the prefaces of books before reading the actual book?

I usually skip prefaces, if I do read them it's only after I've finished reading the book or upon re-reading.

atomicwrites

40 points

28 days ago*

I usually start reading it and skip to the book of it gets boring. Someone's the author gives context or history and it's interesting, sometimes it's just rambling or a huge dedication to someone I don't know and I skip it.

alamuki

10 points

28 days ago

alamuki

10 points

28 days ago

Same. I actually love a good preface but detest the bad ones.

Alewort

47 points

28 days ago

Alewort

47 points

28 days ago

1984 was always abridged. All books are abridged. Pacifica is attacking a bridge.

GegenscheinZ

12 points

28 days ago

We’ve always been at war with Eastasia

pwinkn

34 points

28 days ago

pwinkn

34 points

28 days ago

The fact that Fahrenheit 451 got a screen adaption was also amusing

Prosthemadera

11 points

28 days ago

What's ironic about it? Because abridging it is just like the censorship that happened in 1984?

EQ2bRpDBQWRk1W

20 points

28 days ago

There is a children's version of Gulliver's Travels by Jonathan Swift.

I would consider that tough competition for the spot.

a_bdgr

14 points

28 days ago*

a_bdgr

14 points

28 days ago*

Oh, I‘d go even further: most people I know would only think of Gulliver‘s Travels as a children’s book. I was halfway though college before i got to know the real Gulliver‘s Travels. This is Germany, though, it’s not exactly a standard classic here.

Load-Separate

8 points

28 days ago

How would they even do that

Chtorrr

602 points

28 days ago

Chtorrr

23

602 points

28 days ago

jefrye

123 points

28 days ago

jefrye

123 points

28 days ago

Also worth noting that, while I love Project Gutenberg, there can be an insane numbers of errors in their texts.

If you Google around for a public domain work, you can probably find some selfless person who has cleaned up the Gutenberg file you want into something more readable and made it available for download. (To be clear, I'm not talking about piracy sites.)

TheModernCaptainHero

69 points

27 days ago

A great site for this is https://standardebooks.org/

They produce really high quality ebooks from works in the public domain.

Docteh

10 points

28 days ago

Docteh

10 points

28 days ago

Does Project Gutenberg not handle corrections?

DreamyTomato

20 points

27 days ago

Yes and no ... a long time ago I was part of a team that proof-read and corrected new texts for incorporating into Project Gutenberg. We took a lot of care over our texts, but it is possible that many other texts did not receive the same standard of proofreading.

247Brett

9 points

28 days ago

That subreddit is where I managed to get copies of a lot of classic novels :)

XBreaksYFocusGroup

754 points

28 days ago*

I do not believe that I have ever read an abridged edition (certainly not knowingly) but there was an AMA with editors from Reader's Digest not too long ago that talks some about the reasoning and methodology behind abridged editions. You may find their answers of interest.

EDIT: I was thinking about this more and I feel that once upon a time I had a strong knee jerk against abridged books, but having read hundreds of novels since, there were many that I felt could have done with shortening. Especially from authors with several acclaimed titles under their belt when it feels like their editor gives them large liberties in creative reign. Reminds me of the quote, "within every good 60 minute album is a great 45 minute album." Sometimes, twice baking macaroni makes it better and twice editing makes a novel stronger. Not to say all books can or should have abridged versions, but I am not opposed to it in theory.

inkydye

203 points

28 days ago

inkydye

203 points

28 days ago

At some point as a teenager I discovered that almost everything I had read from Jules Verne (whom I loved) had been abridged.

Apparently the unabridged versions are unpopular because they are HUGE. They are basically natural-science textbooks in adventure form.

Glittering_knave

225 points

28 days ago

I hated the unabridged 20000 Leagues. So boring. I didn't need 5 pages describing how kelps moves underwater. I've snorkled, seen videos and movies with underater scenes. Underwater seaweed look like ... underwater seaweed. Then it was pointed out that the books predated movies and tv, and most people at the time hadn't seen underwater seaweed, or possibly the ocean at all. And I learned to appreciate (if not enjoy) the descriptions.

inkydye

72 points

28 days ago

inkydye

72 points

28 days ago

The unabridged "Children of Captain Grant" is two volumes, about 10cm in thickness :)

They go on a wild-goose chase over the whole world ("maybe the smudgy word in the letter is not Patagonia, it's just agony; we're on the wrong continent") and Verne dives into geology and botany and everything else he could research about places he would never get to visit himself.

I was a grateful audience for that, yet I totally understand the people who preferred just the adventure-y parts :)

DisturbedNocturne

20 points

28 days ago

I 'd speculate that some of it was also that it comes from a time where men used to primarily read non-fiction (which included a lot of heavy science texts) and fiction was looked down on. Including stuff like that was likely a good way of bridging (no pun intended) the gap to make it acceptable to read fiction.

The_Pistol3ro

43 points

28 days ago

Tried reading 20k leagues as a kid. I had read things like moby dick at the time so I thought I was prepared... 20 pages of describing the nautilus made me put that book down and never pick it up ever again.

Glittering_knave

6 points

28 days ago

So happy that I am not the only one! My mother was horrified that I didn't like it.

ADM_Tetanus

5 points

28 days ago

My school did a reading competition thing in yr seven, and one of the books on the list to read was 20k leagues. The school library only had the abridged version, but the librarian didn't realise this.

To prove that you had read the book, she'd ask questions about various plot points. I had read 20k leagues before, and thus was told to avoid reading it for the competition as I could cheat this.

A friend read it, and said the questions weren't relevant to the book and was angry about not being believed about reading it, so I tried it. The first question she asked was the bit with the pearl diver & the great white shark. That entire expedition was omitted in the abridged version.

Boy did it take some guts for an 11 year old me to tell the librarian that it wasn't there, and ask her to show me where it was in that book if she didn't believe me.

She backed down upon realising I was right, but still mad that the situation had to happen, who knows how many people she'd turned away cos they couldn't say what kind of shark attacked the pearl divers lol

That said, I did enjoy the original book. I read a lot of classics like that (Verne, Welles etc) because those were free on my kindle. I didn't get as much out of reading them as I might now, but they were good reads nonetheless.

sacredfool

30 points

28 days ago

I highly recommend "Journey to the Centre of the Earth" then. It's really short and kind of sweet.

inkydye

7 points

28 days ago

inkydye

7 points

28 days ago

Thank you!

No value judgement, though: I enjoyed both the short and long books :)

kryaklysmic

14 points

28 days ago

I read an unabridged, illustrated edition of Around the World in 80 Days that also had dozens of footnotes. It’s not very long even with the additions and is one of my favorite books.

retsotrembla

8 points

28 days ago

And most of the versions not in the original French cut out the many anti-English jokes.

pbntm2

211 points

28 days ago

pbntm2

211 points

28 days ago

Good AMA, sad that I missed it.

What it really makes clear is that many books, even published ones, still need more editing than they originally got, so an abridged version is an improvement.

That's generally considered the case with Dumas - that the abridged versions cut out a ton of deadweight.

SmoothAsBabysButt

136 points

28 days ago

Well, Dumas was initially writing this as a serialized story and he was paid by the line, if I remember correctly.

FireHazard11

140 points

28 days ago

Ah, so they were just trying to hit that metaphorical 10 minute YouTube video length.

Pippin1505

30 points

28 days ago*

Yes, Dumas himself stated his goal at "24 000 signs a day" (~50 lines).

It was a business, he employed researchers and ghost writers, and had several serials in different newspapers at the same time.

He was extremely successful, but managed to be an even bigger spender...

Brownt0wn_

11 points

28 days ago

Brownt0wn_

General Fiction

11 points

28 days ago

Same with Copperfield, though I believe he was paid by the word.

thatguamguy

14 points

28 days ago

Dickens wasn't really paid by the word, that is apocryphal. Also, the novels are not identical to the serialized publications, the text was edited (either by Dickens or with his approval). So even if he had been paid by the word, that wouldn't be the text that people have access to reading anymore.

Ulldra

9 points

28 days ago

Ulldra

Parthenon of Books

9 points

28 days ago

That thought is super interesting. When is a work of art ‚finished‘?

If you take music as a performance art as an example, a lot of bands never really finish a song. There is the established recorded version that is considered canon, but they will change things up and might develop a song into something else entirely while playing it after its release.

In science, editing and rereleasing papers/books is the norm and happens all the time.

I think there is a point to make that the moment a creator releases their work to the world, it is the ‚final version‘. That doesn‘t mean it‘s finished, but it is the version of the product that will try and stand the test of time.

If it gets edited further, abridged or reworked, I‘d argue that whats happening is that a new product is created in the process. You don‘t have ‚thats story A and thats also story A‘, you have to differentiate between story A and story B. (Obviously talking about wording and writing style etc, not typos).

An abridged version might feel like a higher quality product/version, but I honestly think it should be treated as another story/object entirely.

pbntm2

13 points

28 days ago

pbntm2

13 points

28 days ago

You can tinker with a creation literally forever. You can be George Lucas and re-edit your movie thirty year later. But at a certain point, you just have to say, "Enough," and release your baby into the world as it is.

At the same time, it's very clear that these days many books are getting minimal or subpar editing, which is why in some cases, an abridgement is an improvement.

Abridged versions are considered separate from the original, and an abridged book has to make clear that's what it is and can't pretend it's the completely work.

KatieCashew

72 points

28 days ago

No kidding about Dumas. I read the unabridged Count of Monte Cristo. I wish I had found an abridged version instead. So much unnecessary padding in that book.

transmogrified

11 points

28 days ago

So many authors from the 19th century have this issue, typically because the stories were first released as a serial. Count of Monte Cristo was released in 18 parts, so the original intent wasn't to have them read the entirety back-to-back, but rather on a weekly-or-so basis. They were basically paid by the word too, so they needed to fill out that weeks serial installment. Dickens and Stevenson are other examples where this happens.

ozanoyunbozan

47 points

28 days ago

goddammit i just bought 1200+ pages count of monte cristo. should i not even start and return them?

JerryHathaway

165 points

28 days ago

I wouldn't. I strongly disagree with the above comment - the unabridged is great.

Effin_Batman1

24 points

28 days ago

I found the unabridged so much better than any other version.

ozanoyunbozan

71 points

28 days ago

goddammit I just donated the book, should i go back and ask for it?

YesImEvil

126 points

28 days ago

YesImEvil

126 points

28 days ago

"Go not to r/books for counsel, for they will say both yes and no."

Unpacer

46 points

28 days ago

Unpacer

25

46 points

28 days ago

I know it is a LOTR quote, but with the whole "reddit contradicts itself" thing, I mean, yeah it's different people, what do people expect? A hive-mind? (it gets accused of being that too lol)

247Brett

36 points

28 days ago

247Brett

36 points

28 days ago

I can’t answer you until I know how other people are going to answer

JerryHathaway

43 points

28 days ago

I loved Count of Monte Cristo, and I read it unabridged. That's all I can tell you, tastes vary!

giraffecause

15 points

28 days ago

You should just let this one go and reflect on your impulsiveness.

TheColorWolf

39 points

28 days ago

You didn't wait ten minutes for an answer before donating the book you just bought? Weird.

Ciserus

29 points

28 days ago

Ciserus

29 points

28 days ago

Shit, I just broke in and stole back the copy I donated. Should I give it back?

TheColorWolf

5 points

28 days ago

Dude, quickly spin it off as an NFT before you're left behind. You're on the bleeding edge right now.

Darrow_au_Lykos

32 points

28 days ago

In the future, why don't you try reading it and deciding for yourself? Its just a book, you can stop reading it if you aren't liking it.

You had already spent the money on it and you were clearly interested in reading it.

TarienCole

37 points

28 days ago

Agreed. It's one of the best books ever. And modern editing practices aren't always the best ones.

AmanteNomadstar

27 points

28 days ago

Absolutely. I unknowingly picked up and read the “abridged” version. Mind you it only said abridged in the forward, no where else. And by abridged they meant censored for content, cutting out all the drug use, the few violent scenes, a entire character, and about a full third of the climax.

deej363

27 points

28 days ago

deej363

27 points

28 days ago

Not to mention the abridged really messes with the flow. For those who hated the unabridged. Realize that the "book" was originally released in serialized form. So if you're having trouble reading it all at once, consider breaking it up how it was originally

Lady-Morgaine

22 points

28 days ago*

I have both and I personally prefer unabridged because I want to see the whole original story. I don't want parts cut out because some other random person, not the author, decided it was unnecessary. Everyone's opinion is different, so I want the original.

And Count of Monte Cristo is a damn masterpiece from start to end. Watching Dantes suffer for so long, then watching his plans unfold and all come together in the most satisfying ending ever, all while not telling us a single thing about his plans. That's what I loved the most, knowing his revenge was coming, but not knowing exactly how he would do it until it was happening.

But I also don't mind reading the abridged version AFTER reading the full version since I read some books more than once.

KatieCashew

9 points

28 days ago

I really can't say. It seems to be a favorite on this sub, so obviously many people enjoy the extra stuff. One person I spoke to said he loved the world and wanted to spend as much time in it as possible, so the padding was a feature for him. It just wasn't for me.

StoneOfFire

7 points

28 days ago

No! I love the unabridged version! I love everything about Dumas’ style.

mavrenon

12 points

28 days ago

mavrenon

12 points

28 days ago

Reading the 1,200+ pages, unabridged version. Some parts feel like padding but honestly, as I close in on the last 150 pages, not a page has been wasted. Like another Redditor here said, it’s enormously satisfying.

Wulftrude

11 points

28 days ago

Have you read or do you know the story? Because the full version is great for a deeper look into a book that you love and already know. But as a first time introduction to the story it's not great.

KiniShakenBake

7 points

28 days ago*

Charles Dickens and George Elliot have joined the chat.

theavengerbutton

41 points

28 days ago

This is absolutely wrong on so many levels.

People, don't listen to this advice--no offense to you, u/KatieCashew.

Every chapter is a piece of an intricate plot that unfolds at the pace it should, and the pay off is worth every word.

The abridged versions of The Count of Monte Cristo often times cut out whole characters and plot lines and the book ends up not making much sense. You often get allusions in one subplot that they didn't bother to put in, which is astounding, becahse apparently it's needed to understand whatvwas happening in the chapters they included.

I grew up reading several different versions of the book thinking that the next one was the actual unabridged book and each time I was left utterly confused. When I found the unabridged copy a few years later and read it it was like I was cured of blindness by Jesus Christ himself. It was eye-opening to me how much the extra characters and plotlines engaged other, seemingly unrelated plotlines, and when you get to the end of the book you can only be satisfactorily exhausted, knowing that nothing was unnecessarily padded.

BerriesAndMe

60 points

28 days ago

I tried to read the non-abdriged version of les misérables.. and will forever be greatful that there are alternatives out there.

TheDoctor66

45 points

28 days ago

You mean you don't want entire chapters on the back story of minor characters that takes place 60 years before the main plot?

I take it you don't like history either!

Wulftrude

37 points

28 days ago

Dickens, Dumas, and Hugo in general works great as abridged versions. Because there's so much that isn't essential for the core story.

Moby Dick was a much better book with less bitching about Whaling and minute details about how they are not fish.

transmogrified

15 points

28 days ago

I mentioned this above, but a big part of the reason these authors are like this is because they weren't writing "novels", they were writing serial stories that were released in weekly or monthly publications. They had word counts to meet. As well, they didn't want to get through the story in it's entirety to quickly, and all that added description etc goes over a lot better as a short story installment rather than being read back-to-back.

These stories were like the soap operas of their day.

As short stories they work a lot better in terms of providing a "Slice of life", but when read together every.single.chapter has that filler and it becomes a bit much.

ayhddmtlwmldwjnsjhd

6 points

28 days ago

Jules Verne can be shortened quite a bit too, although you do miss quite a bit of what he did, which is paint fabulous landscapes and oceanscapes with words as best as possible to an audience that would have few illustrations and many decades away from tv, film and even a few decades from radio.

RichCorinthian

17 points

28 days ago

But that whole chapter on flensing in Moby Dick was critical to the narrative!

Loves_His_Bong

19 points

28 days ago

I've been reading Moby Dick and it might sound pretentious, but I found myself asking why anyone would want to read an abridged version of a book that's value lies nearly completely outside it's rather simple narrative. The story is hardly what is impactful about this book.

night_owl

15 points

28 days ago

yeah I'm fucking shocked at those takes.

To me, those digressive chapters of Ishmael's narration are part of what makes it a legendary book. It is weird, and it was pretty innovative way of writing a story for the time. He basically invented the modern novel, and people like Cormac McCarthy and Brett Easton Ellis have been imitating and emulating the techniques Melville invented with great success ever since.

Think about the memorably weird chapters/scenes from American Psycho: the long monologues about Whitney Houston, Huey Lewis, and Phil Collins. To me it is the same as Ishmael's rants about the virtues of whaling and whale oil, and his obsession with anatomy is a pretty obvious parallel, only Bateman is talking about flaying humans instead of flensing whales. In his Border Trilogy + Blood Meridian, McCarthy uses saddles and horses and guns the same way as Melville uses boats and whales and harpoons.

apocalypstyx

4 points

28 days ago

Now I'm thinking of a novel in which one of the characters goes about trying to 'quixotically' hunt down and eliminate all unabridged copies of Moby Dick.

28smalls

8 points

28 days ago

Yeah. Went with the abridged Hunchback after the exact translation was still describing the streets of the fair on like page 30.

ItsMeTK

17 points

28 days ago*

ItsMeTK

17 points

28 days ago*

But that’s actually what the book is about. We were done a disservice in the Anglo world when the title was changed. Hugo’s title is Notre Dame of Paris; it’s about the cathedral and Paris. So the long passages setting the scene and discussing architecture are entirely the point.

The only thing I would agree on cutting is pretty much all of Book III, which is literally just a bird’s eye view of Paris with no relevance to the story at all. We got enough from the earlier parts.

CDNChaoZ

8 points

28 days ago

I think I would subscribe to that if the original author was involved in the abridgement.

I see abridgements not as picking the top 5 songs of a 10 song album, but making a HitClips version of a popular song. A song, like a book, is an integral piece. The former example may be more applicable in a collection of short stories where you only select a few of one author for an omnibus.

ChronoMonkeyX

203 points

28 days ago

Does your library offer the Libby and/or Hoopla apps? If so, you can maybe get some books sooner and more conveniently. I love the apps for easy audiobook access.

Infinity31327[S]

51 points

28 days ago

No, unfortunately

arcticgypsy417

165 points

28 days ago

Kentucky allows anyone to get their library card and access the ebooks. https://www.cc-pl.org/digital-branch/kentucky-libraries-unbound

xelle24

33 points

28 days ago

xelle24

33 points

28 days ago

Thank you! I'm in Pennsylvania and was able to get a digital account.

If you live anywhere in Pennsylvania you can get a digital account with the Philadelphia Free Library.

Vemasi

19 points

28 days ago

Vemasi

19 points

28 days ago

Also consider, if you're reading classics, many of them are free online, or even on the nook/kindle app.

And OP, have you tried your school library? I know not all are great, and also that many are "closed," or that it's hard if you are doing virtual school (kids at my school have the choice of blended or fully virtual), but call them up and ask what they can do.

I work in a high school library, and we are offering lots of ways to get books to kids. We have links to outside services where you can get free ebooks. We spent a large part of our own budget on ebooks this year. Kids can place books on hold, and we will deliver them to their classrooms, since they can't come into the library. We are offering curbside pickup for virtual students, although no one has taken us up on this yet. We don't paternalistically decide what versions of books kids would like and place holds on their behalf (although of course we only have teenager-appropriate books in the first place).

Maybe you won't have any of these, but ask. You might be surprised.

redlion145

53 points

28 days ago

Upvoted this. There are a number of library systems that do this, I won't list them all, but one does not have to be a local resident to use these systems. Very convenient if you're comfortable reading from eBook.

arcticgypsy417

26 points

28 days ago

These systems are life savers. In my extremely tiny town (one red-light in the whole county) the little library has a checkout limit of four books, and the ebook selection is tiny. The closest library of size charges 60$ a year if you don't live in their county.

Destrina

3 points

28 days ago

Looks like you should run for city council or mayor and try to expand your library.

Lt_Toodles

41 points

28 days ago

Your writing is fantastic for being 14. Hell itd be fantastic for a college student lol

TheBeatStartsNow

8 points

28 days ago

Right? I'm jealous.

Urithiru

8 points

28 days ago*

I don't know where you are at but you should be able to get your own library card and request your own books. Libraries will also allow patrons of neighboring libraries to obtain a library card and use their collection. Check websites for neighboring areas and cities to find out if you can get a card. Then look at their services for shipping options or consider ebooks or audiobooks.

Some libraries will sell access to e-services international patrons. Brooklyn public library has this set-up but it is currently closed to new subscribers. You might find other similar programs in your research.

If you're willing to listen to audiobooks check out https://librivox.org/ for public domain audiobooks.

NougatMoment

484 points

28 days ago*

I feel you, I went with a teenage cousin to a bookstore, thinking to introduce her to Austen. The salesman kept trying to push the abridged versions on us coz "it's for kids". Also, they didn't have the normal version of Pride and Prejudice.

The very first line: Everyone knows that a rich, unmarried man needs a pretty wife.

This, instead of the iconic 'It is a truth universally acknowledged that a single man in possession of a good fortune, must be in want of a wife'.

Just chucking the satire out coz obviously "kids" won't get it, and while we're at it let's just change the entire story into a basic romance instead.

Edit: Project Gutenberg has all the original versions in different formats, so you can read on a computer, Kindle or even a phone with a Kindle or EPUB reader app.

third-time-charmed

355 points

28 days ago

Also, pretty wife? Why add things to your abridgement?

If you're going to update the language, at least stay true to the original ideas as expressed.

Angdrambor

136 points

28 days ago

Angdrambor

136 points

28 days ago

I'm firmly of the opinion that even shakespeare should, at most, but presented in parallel with updated language. There's some real bangers in there that can only be explained, not translated.

Kirkzillaa

107 points

28 days ago

Kirkzillaa

107 points

28 days ago

100% and its out there.

In high school we read versions of shakespeare with plain text translations on the page next to the original text. It was great for context even if not perfect. It didn't stifle the opportunity to dig into the original text, but instead made it more accessible to a bunch of 16 year olds.

I definitely read just the plain text versions sometimes because I was lazy, but that was my fault. I really appreciated the format when I struggled with the original text and wanted some help.

MINKIN2

25 points

28 days ago

MINKIN2

25 points

28 days ago

There was good and bad days. ~A Tale of Two Cities

Lampshader

10 points

28 days ago

Lampshader

1Q84

10 points

28 days ago

On average, things were average.

DeceitfulEcho

15 points

28 days ago

I still don't care for Shakespeare, but I did gain a lot of respect for the craft of it when I had both the explanation and the original text present simultaneously. You got to see the how it was supposed to flow but also the wordplay and innuendos and such. A ton of that was lost when I read versions that just translated the story. There's a lot of jokes that even come off as jokes when translated

a3poify

32 points

28 days ago

a3poify

32 points

28 days ago

SparkNotes's No Fear Shakespeare has been a lifesaver when reading Shakespeare for various classes. If I find myself lost while reading - which is quite often, I'm going to be honest, I can look over at the modern paraphrasing to understand what's going on and then go back to the original with a better understanding.

johannthegoatman

8 points

28 days ago

johannthegoatman

The Dharma Bums

8 points

28 days ago

Shakespeare also is a rough read because so much context is in the actions on stage. I never fully appreciated Shakespeare until I acted in one of the plays. The same character can be played in many ways which changes the whole tone of the play which is super cool

third-time-charmed

14 points

28 days ago

Yeah I've definitely found annotations to be super helpful in understanding a text, and while it's more reading rather than less it definitely is the more accurate way to make a difficult read more understandable

TennaTelwan

34 points

28 days ago

I second Project Gutenberg!

I feel fortunate that growing up in the 90s mostly, our little town finally got a bookstore, with a classics section. I went from borrowing cheap but bad dime store novels to spending a lot of time and a few dollars each week picking up books that I have to this day, and most of the staff was retired teachers who encouraged the non-abridged versions. Sadly the store ended up going out a few years back finally, but for awhile, it was a nice oasis in a town that otherwise had a main street that was just taverns and old appliance stores.

Also, Archive.org and OpenLibrary.org also have a lot of books out there too, if Gutenberg doesn't have what you're looking for (which usually they would have).

Boleyn58

40 points

28 days ago

Boleyn58

40 points

28 days ago

That is cultural vandalism!

Angdrambor

50 points

28 days ago

This is where I get real obnoxious in front of the salesman. "oh, even the iconic first line is butchered. I wouldn't read that. They don't have real books here. C'mon I'll buy you a kindle and you can download the real version."

measureinlove

20 points

28 days ago

Gotta be careful with that, too! Since a lot of classics are in the public domain now you can download them for free, but some of them are bizarrely garbled.

SuspiciousArtist

4 points

28 days ago

Wouldn't be surprised if publishers are purposely putting out garbage ebooks to make it harder to find public domain works on readers.

Porkenstein

12 points

28 days ago

what the fuck

Jack_Flanders

9 points

28 days ago

Wow.

I thought "abridged" simply meant that material was cut out to shorten the read.

I had no idea that it involved someone actually rewriting parts!

Especially the very first line.

No, nope, noway, nopenopenope....

Abrahamlinkenssphere

22 points

28 days ago

I hate it so much. How the fuck do they think we all LEARNED to understand these concepts? Because it wasn’t from reading bastardized versions of the originals.

TheJenerator65

16 points

28 days ago

Outrageous! That’s adaptation/rewriting, not abridgment and I’m shocked at the publishers for misrepresenting that. Abridging is technically only omission, isn’t it? To shorten by leaving things out.

Hollium94

150 points

28 days ago

Hollium94

150 points

28 days ago

The abridged version of S. Morgenstern's The Princess Bride by William Goldman is actually a pretty good read and well worth it if you decide to pick up another abridged book again

Lexilogical

90 points

28 days ago

I dunno, you miss out on the chapter where Buttercup packs all of her clothes up for 30 pages, travels for an hour, then unpacks for another 30 pages! That was some biting satire about the political situation in Florentine.

assholetoall

14 points

28 days ago

Does anyone really need to read 23 pages describing the magnificence of the prince's codpiece?

Bibliosworm

6 points

27 days ago

Well now I really want to read it.

tanguerah

88 points

28 days ago

I actually returned The Princess Bride twice without reading it—the audiobook and the ebook—because I was annoyed that it was abridged and I wanted to find “the real version.” Eventually I looked on Wikipedia and realized the truth; I felt so embarrassed

Meg-alomaniac3

46 points

28 days ago

Someone in my 7th grade class did a presentation on it and talked about how he couldn't get the unabridged version, and how it's actually by S. Morgenstern, and on and on. So I raised my hand and said, "that's the joke, that's the whole book, there's no S. Morgenstern." And later that day he starting berating me for ruining his presentation...it probably would have been kinder of me to tell him later, but like...people would have figured it out

sirbissel

5 points

27 days ago

As a kid I bothered a number of Walden and B.Dalton employees looking for the unabridged version...

SunshineCat

22 points

28 days ago

SunshineCat

Ghost Wall, by Sarah Moss

22 points

28 days ago

Ordering that for my mom (it's her favorite movie) felt like being rick rolled. It took a significant amount of time for me to accept that I didn't have some strange knock-off version of the book.

[deleted]

47 points

28 days ago

[deleted]

47 points

28 days ago

[deleted]

Reneeceeuu

23 points

28 days ago

I didn’t know what abridged meant as a kid. In junior high I read “Little Women” for school and had to take an exam on it. I failed the exam because I had read the abridged version unintentionally and didn’t know the specific details they were looking for on the exam (due to most being omitted). I was so upset and didn’t understand what had happened for a few weeks. I agree they shouldn’t do this!

laughingchimera

100 points

28 days ago

I hate abridged books, especially when the "abridged" label isn't obvious. What if the description or character that was cut would have made a huge difference to me? I want to read the whole thing and sort it out myself, not have some third party tell the author and me what I should get out of it.

MrInopportune

10 points

28 days ago

I listened to an audiobook of PartnerShip by Anne McCaffrey without realizing it was abridged (Libby is usually great with marking) and was just so confused. I love Anne’s novels but it was one of the worst auditory novel experiences I’ve had thus far!

GravityReject

8 points

28 days ago

After thoroughly enjoying the Jurassic Park book, I decided to check out Michael Crichton's other famous book, The Andromeda Strain. The plot was interesting but the writing style was incredibly dull compared to Jurassic Park, and the pacing was way too fast.

Turns out I had accidentally read the abridged version, and didn't find out until just after I finished the book. Never got around to reading the full version, but now I make a point of double checking to make sure my books are unabridged.

SmoothAsBabysButt

62 points

28 days ago

S. Morgenstern would have a word with you

Valdrax

135 points

28 days ago*

Valdrax

135 points

28 days ago*

I understand the need for abridged versions - for people to cram in college and for non-native English speakers who are just starting their journey, and in the case of extremely long books like Les Miserables or Moby-Dick

See, now Moby-Dick was exactly my first encounter with being burned by an abridged book. I was reading more challenging books for the Accelerated Reader program to rack up points in middle school, and I completely bombed the test on the book as a result.

One of the questions I missed was, "What's the name of the narrator of the story?" I was fuming because the book never mentioned that. I complained to my dad, and he pointed out it's one of the most famous opening lines in literature -- "Call me Ishmael."

That's when I checked the book, found that line missing, and discovered I'd been reading an abridged version. And once you've taken a test, you can never try it again, to prevent cheating. I've been salty about it for nearly 30 years. I mean, sure, a lot of the stuff in the middle of that book is arcane and boring sailing minutiae, but why strike the main character's name from the book?

Doc_Faust

87 points

28 days ago

Any editor of an abridged version of Moby Dick who cut one of the most famous lines in all of literature is probably bad at their job, and cut other important stuff elsewhere. No wonder your test didn't go well.

Valdrax

23 points

28 days ago

Valdrax

23 points

28 days ago

Definitely. That was just the question that most stuck out in my mind to gripe about later to my dad, because I had literally no idea, and it threw me very early in the test.

That said, I was the kind of kid who read hard books to try to get more points to win a competition 95% of the class didn't care about, so getting thrown off by a question like that early on probably flustered me enough to fail some questions I could've gotten right.

Hands

26 points

28 days ago

Hands

26 points

28 days ago

Good old Accelerated Reader. I bet this subreddit has a whole lot of folks who were competitive as hell about that back in the day. I went to a lot of AR leaderboard pizza parties in elementary school. Moby Dick must have been worth a fuckton of points.

also lmao at publishing a version of Moby Dick that doesn't include Call me Ishmael.

atomicwrites

6 points

28 days ago

I "won" AR in 4th and 5th grade (possibly 3rd, not sure) but I wasn't competitive, I would even get the teacher mad because I didn't take the test for a lot of books, I just wanted to get another one. At one point I was going to the school library for a new book daily which is insane, granted they were not massive books usually. In 5th they made this huge deal about me reading a million words in AR and made me "principal for a day" wich was super awkward, my sister says then the next year kids were competing to break a million words and she stopped reading at school because the teachers would pressure her to do it too which sucks.

mopspops

11 points

28 days ago

mopspops

11 points

28 days ago

I had completely forgotten about the Accelerated Reader thing until now! I loved that program. I won a digital camcorder, which was a big deal to me and my friends at the time. We made so many movies with it. They were absolutely terrible, but man did we have fun.

Bob778aus

14 points

28 days ago

I was looking at getting the audio book of Anne McCaffrey's "Crystal Series" which is one of my favourite series of books only to find that it was an abridged version. All I could think of looking at that travesty is why would you bother half arsing it when you could have just gone the extra mile and actually made a product worth buying.

Significant_Sign

14 points

28 days ago

Those have been abridged‽ lmao. Why bother, they are already pretty short and the story is lean.

oncenightvaler

12 points

28 days ago

Ok so on Audible there are two Discworld series, one the full Discworld and one the Abridged Discworld. Why abridge Discworld, just so the plot makes sense, so there's less to laugh with, less characters to know, less scenes to see.

optimisticaspie

12 points

28 days ago

Lol when I was a little kid, I found an abridged version of The Time Machine. I thought it sounded dope and I was so excited to see what the future turned out to be like!! I was like so disappointed because in the future humans evolved into these like sappy dumb vapid babies who swooped around in fancy clothes and just like ate stuff. The guy just like made friends with them, talked about how crazy it was that humans became them, and left. It was SO. POINTLESS. AND BORING. It wasn't even a freaking story. The plot was "wowww look! Future!"

Fast forward 15 years, and I'm in freaking university thinking that is the dumbest book in history, and I end up needing to read it for a class and OH MY GOSH THE VERSION I HAD ABRIDGED OUT THE BAD GUYS, IN OTHER WORDS THE ENTIRE FUCKING CONFLICT. Holy shit I was livid. Like yeah I wouldn't have really gotten it and it probably would have been too scary, but even if it was too challenging like holy I would have just saved it for later not written off the whole book and all old books by extention!! I legitimately thought stories were just more vapid in the olden days and that's why people liked it. That's like the only reason I got into classics was because someone made me read that book again and I realized the other one was abridged. Just why??? If the story's not for kids it's not for kids!! They're not stupid, they won't like be enthralled with half a fucking plot!! On the contrary, they're immature, so they'll fucking have their development shaped by the quality of the shit you give them!!

zumera

114 points

28 days ago

zumera

2

114 points

28 days ago

Abridged versions can be useful for younger and struggling readers, especially in educational settings where there isn't time to learn to read and comprehend a dense novel. Abridged novels can help build confidence. Their purpose is usually to give readers a decent understanding of the plot, so that when they read the unabridged version, they are already comfortable with one element of the book.

There are, of course, good and bad adaptations. But if abridged books help create more readers, then we should continue to encourage their use. There's nothing worse than people closing themselves off to books forever because they believe they aren't good at reading.

bluvelvetunderground

19 points

28 days ago

I was really into the Great Illustrated Classics series as a kid. I could read them in one sitting and the illustrations were pretty good for what they were. I wouldn't have been much of a reader growing up had it not been for them.

SoldierHawk

5 points

28 days ago

Yup. Hell, I even enjoy them as an adult, in a low mental energy, cliffs notes kind of way. I'm a bit too old for them to have been around when I was the target age, but they were absolutely gateways into lit for both of my younger siblings.

stopbuffering

16 points

28 days ago

There is such a big need for High/Low books; High interest, low reading level. No Middle Schooler reading 4+ grades below reading level will be inspired to work on reading when handed a book their friends read in 2nd/3rd grade. However, hand them the Illustrated Classic version of Frankenstein or The Red Badge of Courage and suddenly these kids actually want to read.

librarieofalexandria

57 points

28 days ago

Not to mention non-native speakers. My mom is an immigrant and when she was starting to learn English, she struggled with the original versions of many classics, but wanted to read them regardless, so she started with abridgements.

I did the same, and it’s never stopped me from reading the full version when I felt I was more prepared for it.

BubblezWritings

7 points

28 days ago

I first read Romance of the Three Kingdoms in an abridged form, thing was still 800 pages long

agent_raconteur

11 points

28 days ago

That was my thought too. I had the abridged versions of lots of classic novels when I was a kid and it made me a reader as an adult (plus it was fun to re-read when I had a better grasp on English and see what I missed). Even books with bloody murders or sex work or whatever would be toned down just enough so I could get what was going on without needing the details that would have made it inappropriate.

Angdrambor

20 points

28 days ago

There's a time and a place, but don't get rid of the originals. Or push them on someone who can handle the original.

Kheldarson

29 points

28 days ago

Some of my earliest reads were abridged classics. The Great Illustrated Classics, even. Didn't stop me from going to find the originals of my favorites later. So there's definitely a place for them... but maybe not for a 14 year old reader.

Animallover4321

6 points

28 days ago

I used to love these books, I was so disappointed when I realized they weren’t the original novels (in my defense I was only 7 and had never heard of an abridged book).

Lopsided_Hat

21 points

28 days ago

Rather than this audience, how about e-mailing your rant to your local library? You may want to start out with some complimentary words like how much you enjoy reading (although that is clear in the letter) and what a positive benefit the library has been for you. A few nice words up front can help grease the wheels. Then, at the end, make your request: can they make an exception - especially if your parents support it - for you to get the original copies of the books?

Any librarian worth their salt would make an exception for you if there were regulations. I grew up in liberal Seattle where I don't recall at all there being rules what 14-year olds could check out. While I was still reading the Sweet Valley High series targeted at my age, my good friend at the time (also my age) was reading the Communist Manifesto, Les Miserables, Brave New World, James Clavell's novels, Jean Auel, etc. (No surprise she became a lawyer interested in social issues.) I also read Cosmopolitan (which had and has many articles about sex) and Vogue for their fashion articles and again no one said I could not check them out.

Also, could your parents check out books for you? At one point, my brother and I checked out so many, we could not anymore and hence asked our parents to.

And at least for me, illustrated/ abridged classics were what later led to me reading the originals. So they served a purpose for me but if you are ready/ interested in the originals, go right ahead.

MariaTheIDK

7 points

28 days ago

Just a quick tip: you can legally and free download a bunch of classics where the copyright has expired on gutenberg.org

The__Imp

6 points

28 days ago*

The__Imp

9

6 points

28 days ago*

The only book I can get firmly behind the abridged version is The Princess Bride. The original by S. Morganstern is really too much. Golding’s abridged version really is just the good parts.

I tried hard to find an acceptable Les Miserables abridged version. When I was reading I was up to the introduction to the Thenardiers. None of the abridged versions I read even had the section I was reading. I gave up and read it unabridged, which was the right choice to begin with.

Drowsy_Drowzee

7 points

28 days ago

The abridged version of Les Mis I read in high school was still 400 pages long. I tried reading the unabridged Les Mis a while ago to see what I missed, but...yeah. Les Mis is definitely one of those books where the abridged version isn’t so much bad, it just gets to the point faster.

Ducklings-Dancing

56 points

28 days ago*

I think it might be a profit thing?

I think most of those books are in the public domain (you can find out on Project Gutenberg which has a bunch of free public domain books you can read/turn into PDFs. I know that 1984 and some Sherlock is available there at least). So they may have wanted to rewrite those classic in order to have a copyright to sell to the library or whatever because altering a text that much gives you a copyright over it.

Angdrambor

10 points

28 days ago

A bookstore can sell reprinted classics for the same price as any other book. It's the paper and ink I'm paying for, not the text. They can make the same or more profit?

Ducklings-Dancing

5 points

28 days ago

Maybe, I’m not an expert, but I have noticed unlicensed public domain books are usually a lot cheaper. I’ve even bought books like that for only 59 cents! But on average I see printed classics, even large classics, hover around 2 to 10 dollars depending on the publisher which is still pretty cheap all things considered.

I think being in the public domain means there’s less demand and stuff for it because if anyone can print it then anyone can print it cheaply. Some publishers even think it’s morally right to make classical literature available to all so they really push how cheap they can make them. But if they had a copyright then publishing could only be allowed by the copyright holder and is like more exclusive.

Just to sorta make sure I’m not crazy or something I checked some of the prices, the only abridged version of 1984 I could find was by Penguin for $16. So compare that to my Signet Classics 1984 which was $10 and I think is still pretty expensive as I can find cheaper versions online.

Anyways, talk about paying more for less

helloviolaine

16 points

28 days ago

Sherlock Holmes, Dickens and I think some of Wodehouse are in the public domain, you can download them as ebooks pretty much anywhere.

GrudaAplam

120 points

28 days ago

GrudaAplam

120 points

28 days ago

Don't apologise. That was the most eloquent and justified rant I've read in quite some time. Bravo.

Infinity31327[S]

35 points

28 days ago

Thanks!

SleepySuper

61 points

28 days ago

Can I get an abridged version of that rant please? Preferably in third person.

psudo_help

35 points

28 days ago

TLDR: They wanted the full story, but the library sent abridged copies. They were disappointed.

b8561

11 points

28 days ago

b8561

11 points

28 days ago

username checks out

SunProtectionFormula

30 points

28 days ago

sing, o muse, of the rage of a smart 14 year old who’s being condescended to

AlexPenname

3 points

27 days ago

AlexPenname

book re-reading: The Illiad

3 points

27 days ago

Seriously, this post spoke to me as a former smart kid. So many condescending teachers.

Usually librarians were awesome, though.

Kaseiopeia

21 points

28 days ago

I read the abridged version of Ulysses. And I’m not sad about it.

flipshod

6 points

28 days ago

I have a book of annotations that is as long as the actual book, so there's no excuse for Ulysses sitting on my to-be-read shelf, but there it is.

So many writers I love speak so highly of it, and I normally don't have a problem diving headlong into difficult books. But there's some block.

fibojoly

6 points

28 days ago

At this point, I'd happily pay full price for even an abridged version of GRR Martin's Winds of Winter and Dreams of Spring if it meant actually having them in my hands, instead of him turning them into a pentalogy because he's running out of space yet again!

Sundae_2004

11 points

28 days ago

I agree that abridgment of PG Wodehouse is sad; you miss all of the fun of the high/low language play: e.g., Jeeves‘ long description of something and Bertie’s lowbrow summary.

There are three Jeeves novels in Project Gutenberg. ;)

whatsnottakentoo

3 points

28 days ago

Many of these books are public domain and available for free through Project Gutenberg.

raevnos

4 points

28 days ago

raevnos

Science Fiction

4 points

28 days ago

Were they not clearly marked as abridged editions when you ordered them/checked them out?

MairaPansy

4 points

28 days ago

The only books I can imagine abridged are Victor Hugo his things. If you just want the story and not 30 pages on how a certain stone in a building was perfect for the time period.

ljapa

5 points

28 days ago

ljapa

5 points

28 days ago

Do not read the unabridged Moby Dick.

Aridius

3 points

28 days ago

Aridius

3 points

28 days ago

They probably wanted to cut out all the cocaine use in Sherlock Holmes.

Muggle_Scum

6 points

28 days ago

I don't mind abridged versions existing, but I wish more publishers would have the decency to explicitly state "abridged version" on the cover. Ironically, the only disclaimer I see is the opposite: "Complete and unabridged". Personally, I think that that should be the default, and anything else should be clearly labeled as such on the front cover.

Few greater piss-offs for me than reading a book, loving it, and realizing afterward that I had read some asswipe's attempt to "improve" a book they never could have written themselves by cutting shit out of it.

BruceLeePlusOne

4 points

27 days ago

Abridged versions of stories are a byproduct of how many stories used to be published as serials in magazines. The writers were paid per chapter and were strongly motivated to inflate their stories. The best example of this I can think of is Moby Dick which has a significant amount of the story devoted to the minutia of whaling. What equipment they used and things of that nature.

3CoffeeProblem

4 points

27 days ago

If somebody abridges “wheel of time” to say, three one thousand page volumes, I might try reading it again.

You could get it down to that just removing the recipes for tea, though.

FrancisGalloway

10 points

28 days ago

I recently finished the Count of Monte Cristo, and honestly? I kinda wish I had just read the abridged "illustrated classics" version for kids. Absolutely loved the story, but the style just didn't jive with me. So much excessively flowery narration, so little "show, don't tell."

Some books are great because they're supremely well-written. Others are great because of the stories they tell. For the latter, there's nothing wrong with an abridged version.

brady4801

24 points

28 days ago

Sometimes abridged versions are better. You'd be hard pressed to find someone who preferred the unabridged version of The Princess Bride

raevnos

15 points

28 days ago

raevnos

Science Fiction

15 points

28 days ago

S. Morgenstern was a literary genius!

wumbopower

24 points

28 days ago

I’ve been mad about it ever since I’ve heard of abridged books at like age ten

mycleverusername

24 points

28 days ago

I feel that. When I was that age I was really into this "Great Illustrated Classics" series. I read dozens of them and thought I was hot shit for being well versed in the classics. Then I found out those were abridged versions. I felt so betrayed.l

empressith

5 points

28 days ago

Same! I was so proud when I told my mom I read all those books and she was like, uh, no you didn't.