Wednesday, May 3, 2017

To Read the Unabridged or Not To Read the Unabridged?

I was talking to my friend a couple of weeks ago who is currently on 15th of 42 hours of Count of Monte Cristo and she's been listening since January. Yikes. She was noticing a lot of parts that just seemed to drag on and on and not pertain too much to the story. It got us talking about when or if you ever should read the abridged versions of these classics.

Once I heard that authors got paid by the word count but as I'm doing a little more digging to find out any sources to that it seems more speculative than true. Anyone know if that's true? Sometimes you wonder though because why does Hugo put 200 pages worth of water sewage description in Les Miserables? (I haven't read it so it maybe page count is inaccurate) I'm guessing Hugo did it for the entertainment of civil engineers such as my friend's husband who really enjoys water and systems like that. That's the part he's really looking forward to in the book. :)

The hardest part is trying to figure out to do abridged or not. I feel like I'm a disgrace to the author for doing the abridged. It seems like the classics are the classics for a reason.

I came across this article in my search of length of book equates to more money and he says that "ultimately, a book should only be as long as it takes to tell the story-no longer, no shorter." Do you agree or disagree with that? Is that the case for some of the long books that you read? Sometimes it's the other way around where you wish the book was longer because you liked it so much or there was more that need to be developed. 

I want to dive into the classics more and I guess I'm wondering is there books that you HAVE to read unabridged or are there some where it's okay to cheat a little? 

Please let me know!


  1. Julia, I have often had this same internal debate. Like you, I tend to feel like it's cheating to read the abridged. If you end up skimming a couple hundred pages is that any better, though? I read "The Count of Monte Cristo" last year, unabridged, and there were probably 200-300 pages in the middle where it slowed WAY down and the main plot got lost in a lot of unimportant side developments. I was skimming for quite some time.

    I don't know, though. I wonder if I had read the abridged if I would feel like I still should read the "real thing" at some point. "Moby Dick" has been on my list to read for quite some time as well, and that thing is a beast! It doesn't help that my usual fare is middle grade or young adult books! :)

    1. Yes I thought the same thing that if I read the abridged, I think I'll eventually want to read the unabridged so I might as well read the unabridged. :) And yes, my usual reads are middle grade and I'm okay with that right now. There are so many good ones out there!

  2. Good question. For myself, considering there are so many great things to read or listen to, maybe some abridged versions are OK.