26 April 2009

Sunday Salon: A Suitable Boy; Reading Old Editions

I have my doubts about finishing A Suitable Boy before it is due back to the library on 11 May. Right now, I'm only on page 38 of this 1,349-page tome. The story isn't bad, but so far it hasn't hooked me enough to make me choose it over watching TV when I get home from work at night. Most of my reading is done outside the home on my lunch break or while waiting for a ride, but the size and weight of the book makes it too unwieldy to carry in my purse. This is one book that I wish my library had in an audio version so I could listen to it while I work.

Several book bloggers have recently mentioned I Capture the Castle as one of their favorites. I thought it was a new book and was surprised to find that it was published in 1948. This brings me to my dilemma: do I check out the 1948 original edition or the 1998 reprint? That may seem inconsequential to most people, but for me reading a reprint of an old book is like watching a costume drama. The modernized cover and the fonts that publishers favor these days make it difficult for me to think of a reprint in the context that it was originally written. Strangely, I don't have that problem with something very old like a Shakespeare play. It is only with books written in the latter half of the 20th century. I think it is because my local library had lots of old books in it when I was a kid, so I grew up reading books that were printed close to the year of the original publishing date (for instance, a 1950 edition of a book published in 1948). I may just avoid the issue altogether and check out an audio version.


Julie said...

Oh, I agree completely about reprints of old books! This week I've been shuddering over the reprint of Mary Poppins that my daughter is reading. Even aside from the revised Bad Tuesday chapter, the font is just ALL WRONG.

Dani in NC said...

Changing the font and cover is bad enough; changing the actual details of the story is even worse! I'd rather explain to my kids how things were done in the past instead of having a classic book constantly updated for new generations.