Thursday, January 9, 2014

A Funny Thing Happened on the Way to Reading 'Middlemarch'

Submitted for your approval: a perfectly normal paperback copy of Middlemarch by George Eliot. It's the Barnes and Noble Classics edition, purchased at my local brick-and-mortar B&N in February 2013. Here it is waiting patiently on my bookshelf in a photo I snapped last year.

The front papers look perfectly normal.

The introduction seems to be perfectly fine. Then chapter one starts. Can you read what it says? It starts out with a Biblical passage, and then, "Happy families are all alike; every unhappy family is unhappy in its own way."

Well, that seems awfully familiar. It seems, in fact, exactly like the first page of Anna Karenina by Leo Tolstoy. Okay, I never officially read Anna Karenina, but I may as well have, because I read all 600 or so pages of Android Karenina.

Either way, clearly some error has occurred at the Barnes and Noble publishing house. Pages 1-36 of this book are not Middlemarch, but Anna Karenina.

This one may be a bit harder to see, but if you zoom in closely, you'll see that after page 36 of Anna Karenina comes page 27 of Middlemarch.

I called Ben, the manager at my local B&N, and he said I could bring it in to exchange for a replacement copy. He checked the replacement copy - it's normal. Still, this is the very strangest thing I've ever seen a paperback book do.

On another subject, this mysterious, unsolicited package showed up from HarperCollins the other day.

What could be inside? I wondered. It turned out to be... ARC of a dystopian young adult novel called Elusion by Claudia Gabel and Cheryl Klam. I must have either requested an ARC or entered a contest to win an ARC and forgotten all about it. I hope it's as good as Divergent.

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