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Why I Enjoy Reader's Digest Condensed Books

Updated on December 26, 2012

Inexpensive, Popular and Timeless

I can remember when I first started becoming interested in reading from the Reader's Digest Condensed Books series. I was at a library book sale; the books cost 50 cents a box. I had always loved reading, so I bought as many as I could. When I got my books home, I started reading through the titles. Many of the books had been turned into movies, To Sir, With Love was the first such condensed book I noticed.

I remember when the TV series Christy first appeared. The weekly TV listing sent by my newspaper had an article about the show. The article mentioned that the script had originally been written soon after the novel was published in Reader's Digest Condensed books (1968, I believe) about twenty years earlier. I checked, and I had a copy. I read the book before the series appeared on TV. I commented to my family that Kelly Martin, originally from the series Life Goes On, was an excellent representation of the character from Catherine Marshall's book. They were surprised that the show was even based on a book.

I often tell people that books are far better than the movies that are made about them, with a few exceptions. In To Sir, With Love , I would agree that Sydney Portier brings a dignity that the book could never reveal about the character. On the other hand, the book better describes the passion, determination and obstacles that his character had to overcome .

Movies must omit details. Details that make the story more real and believable.

Of course, not all condensed books become movies. One such book, Escape from Red China, describes the insanity of life under a communist regime. Escape from Red China describes how one man learned to live and finally escape from Communist China.

One story, Intern, was written by Dr. X. The doctor labeled himself Dr. X because the book was taken from (and fictionalized) the diaries of a new M.D. going through his Intern year at a hospital. In the book, we learn how Interns and Residents become trustworthy physicians, often at their patient's expense.He felt that revealing himself would cause unfair criticism to fall on those doctors. Myself, I keep at closer eye on ny family member getting treatment at a "teaching" hospital.

I have read many other condensed books besides these. I have never found a volume that did not have at least one story that interested me. I wish I could buy a complete set of all of them published to date (please don't offer to sell me one).

My 6th grade reading teacher, Mrs. Cook, used to always tell us, "Read Good Books." The easiest way to find a good book is to pick up a Reader's Digest Condensed Book.

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