26 June 2010

Would you ever read/listen to an abridged book?

When I was a child Reader's Digest books often came into our house.
I read them without realising that bits had been edited out. I read them for the story and was might pleased that they were such quick reads.

Eventually, when I realised the "real" books were often much longer, I wondered what had been edited out. I basically read for the story, don't I? Or do I?

As an adult though I have invariably rejected abridged versions whether in print or audio.

So what about you - do you ever read an abridged version of a book, or listen to one?
Would you give an abridged version (including a "graphic" version) as a gift?

If you are an author, would you ever agree to an abridged version of your book being produced?
Is an abridged book better than no book at all?

Over in the right hand column you'll find a poll to register your vote in, but do leave a comment too, and contribute to the discussion.


BooksPlease said...

I used to be very snooty about abridged books, thinking they're not the real thing and would never even consider reading them. I still haven't read any but we do own quite a lot of Readers' Digest books that belonged to my father-in-law and I have been looking at them, thinking maybe one day I'll look inside them. But as I have so many unread books, I don't know that I'll ever get round to actually reading any of them. So I can't vote that I'd never read one, because I might, but I doubt very much that I will ever read one either.

Kerrie said...

Marg, I've changed the poll to accommodate you, so that you can vote "perhaps"

Bernadette said...

I am still snooty about abridged books in any format. To me the author and their editor get to decide what's in and out. I think I'm fairly non-judgmental about people's reading habits (unless they don't read anything then I'm afraid I do judge them as strange if nothing else) but I wouldn't know what to say to someone who chooses abridged books when it's so easy to get the full monty these days (perhaps in days gone [past the reader's digest thingies had their place but now their place is in the past IMHO).

Anonymous said...

Kerrie - I don't like abridged books. Especially in crime fiction, it's important that the reader get the whole story, and not just "most of it ." I don't read them and I don't give them as gifts because I don't think they really tell the whole story. And as an author, I wouldn't want my books abridged. The result wouldn't be the book I wrote.

Deb said...

Count me in the NEVER category. As a reader, if I'm going to devote time to a book, I want to read what the author wrote, not what an editor decides I should know.

As an aside, my daughter (who is going into 12th grade in high school in August) has the reading list for books she'll need next term and one of the books is THE HUNCHBACK OF NOTRE DAME. The comment the teachers made on the reading list was, "Be sure to get the Lowell Bair translation because it's also an abridged edition"--as if that made it somehow better. I was muttering under my breath when I read that, I can tell you.

Anonymous said...

For me, the answer to abridged books if NEVER, NO WAY, NO HOW. I mean, really, you are missing part of the story.

BooksPlease said...

Thanks, Kerrie. I've now voted - "perhaps", and I'm now tempted to give one a go. In fact if I had the time it would be interesting to read an abridged version and compare it to the full book, just to see what gets left out.

But I get really irritated when film and TV versions miss parts and characters out or even worse when they change the plot, so maybe I'd better not try.

NancyO said...

What a good poll question. I don't do abridged books -- I'll pay extra to get the unabridged just because I don't want to miss anything.

And to booksplease: that exact thing happened last week when I was watching a production of "Secret of Chimneys" based on the novel by Agatha Christie. Not only did the writers change the plot, they added Jane Marple into a mystery she didn't belong to. Now THAT was annoying!

Heartbeatoz said...

Myself personally don't read or listen to abridged Books I want to read or hear every word that the Author has taken the time and effort to write down, I wonder what Authors think of their abridged Books ?


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