Two items of interest to book lovers (of which I am one) caught my eye yesterday. First was the news that NewSouth Books is set to release a new edition of “Huckleberry Finn” wherein every instance of “nigger” is replaced by “slave.” (Publisher tinkers with Twain)
I have no love for contemporary uses of the n-word, which frequently appears in rap and hip-hop songs, but it helps date “Huck Finn” to a particular time and place in history. I’m not even sure if I’d consider this political correctness so much as censorship. As a reader on CNN.com put it, “This book is a reflection of the time in history in which it was written. To change the language is to change its history. It should be left as it is.” Another reason it should be left alone is that “slave” and “nigger” are not interchangeable; they don’t mean exactly the same thing.
The other piece that caught my eye was “Why my e-reader will never replace my bookshelf.” One of the points that Amy Preiser makes is that bookcases are good ways to start conversation. I can attest to this. One of the first places I look upon entering a home is to the bookcase to see if there are any books that I have in common with the resident.
So I agree with Preiser. Although I had the chance to become familiar with the Kindle over Christmas, it didn’t entice me to buy one for myself, as I had been afraid it might. I’m still too attached to the feel of pages between my fingers and the sight of familiar friends on my shelves.
If you have seen the Disney version of “Beauty and the Beast,” you might remember a scene in which the Beast presents Belle with the most glorious library imaginable. Having that kind of collection would be heaven on Earth for me. As it is, I have a humble goal of lining one room with bookcases and installing a comfy chair when I eventually buy a house. I have thousands of books, starting from kids’ books I read in elementary school, that I would love to display. Right now I have two large bookcases and two small ones filled with books, and many more packed away in boxes, waiting for the day when they can see sunlight.