Haven’t read War and Peace? What about Proust? Many of the so-called "classics" often go unread, due largely to the fact that they are "too difficult." Well, believe it or not, the dumbed down versions are on their way to the bookshelves.
According to this article in England’s The Guardian, publishers are working to bring many of the inaccessible classics into a more approachable format. Works include Proust’s Remembrance of Things Past, Tolstoy’s War and Peace (whose new version is being billed by its publisher Penguin as "the most melodramatic of soap operas," yuk), and even Stephen Hawking’s A Brief History of Time–to be titled, no joke, a Briefer History of Time.
If you can’t spare the time to read even the new truncated versions, here is War and Peace, according to Guardian writer Vanessa Thorpe: "The scene is Russia, 150 years before the birth of Roman Abramovich. Noble people, with names that all sound vaguely like Kalashnikov, dance and gossip and do evil things, sometimes all at the same time. Pierre Bezhukov, playboy bastard son of a rich count, rescues Natasha, falls in love, and marries her. Napoleon is meanwhile invading Russia, stupidly marching on Moscow, losing the war, and preparing to watch his army get cut to pieces by Cossacks on their way home."