Thursday, March 1, 2007

Bookish Believe It! Or Not?

By Heather F.

There is a lot of book news I could bring up for this, my first article for the newly revamped Estella. Yay Estella! Let's see here. There's Phillip Roth winning the PEN/Faulkner award. Yay Phillip Roth and books that are unreadable*! The use of the word scrotum in Newbery Award winning books for children. Yay for words that are not bad words but for some reason get adults everywhere up in arms over nothing for!

No, this month I'm going to bring up a news item that I have barely seen reported on, but which I find to be worse than the innocent use of the word scrotum in a book aimed at the audience who will most appreciate it. I mean come on, it is a funny word! Not in the least dirty. Not to mention ANATOMICALLY CORRECT. (Huff. Sorry.)

And I'm going to ignore the fact that a Paris university literature professor has actually written a book on how to discuss a book without actually having read it! College freshmen rejoice everywhere! No, I am going to report on one of the worst atrocities of literature EVER. Just what is this horrible thing? Only the rape and pillaging of one of the world's most... well... not exactly beloved perhaps... more like revered works of literature. It's one of those milestone books, the book everyone wants to attempt to read, to be able to say they made it all the way through, to even admit to enjoying (even though they probably don't really mean it). A rite of passage book. I'm talking about War and Peace by Mr. Leo Tolstoy, that most intimidating of books. I am one of those types of readers who is incensed when a book is abridged. I am horrified when I accidentally pick up such a book. It breaks my heart! But to take a book, trim it down from approximately 1,500 to about 1,000 AND change the ending? To give a HAPPY ending to one of the most morbid books in all of literature? It's sacrilegious!!

What do you think?

*Note* Which is not to say I think he is a bad author. I'm sure he's brilliant. I just find him unreadable. *End note*

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