A word of warning to my readers:

This is, of course, a work of fiction. Nobody, not even the literature nerd (though they do exist) is a real person. To my knowledge, books like the ones I'm writing about do not actually exist. If they do, may the Supreme Being strike me dead with a thunderbolt. Also, you'd probably hear a loud groaning sound. This would be the sound of millions of authors whose books have been adapted, Tolkein included, rolling around in their respective graves. Anyway, without any further ado, I give you:

Novelized: The Dumbing Down of the Literary classic.

An ironic tale of fictional tragedy in modern literature by Whizzothecrunchyfrog

My story begins on a Thursday in March. My neice Flora's birthday was coming up, and I'd given her a call a couple of days before, asking her what she wanted.

"The Two Towers. The book, not the movie," she'd said very plainly when I'd asked.

"Oh. Getting into Tolkein are we?"

"Yes. He's very good."

"I should say so. I used to love his books when I was your age."

"Cool." That had been about the extent of the conversation. I wrote it down so I wouldn't forget, and set out for the bookstore the next day.

I had walked in to Barnes and Noble to find a book. I hadn't expected what I was about to find instead. I walked over to the science fiction section, so that I could find the book, buy it, and quickly be on my way. But, to my surprise, it wasn't there. Neither were the first two books in the series, either. In fact, there was no "Tolkien" anywhere in the entire science fiction section! I looked in Literature and Fiction, and even the children's section, but to no avail. I decided to ask a sales assistant. I walked over to the fancy wooden kiosk in the center of the store, where employees were typing happily away at their catalogues, trying to find books for customers. I walked over to an available assitant.

"Nyes?" he said, in that nerdy, almost superior literature-nerd voice that one nearly always gets from bookstore employees.

"Yeah. I'm looking for the Lord of the Rings books," I said, "I know that sounds silly, but I can't find them anywhere."

"That's because we don't stock them," said the sales assitant, as though it were a known fact that Barnes and Noble did not stock the books.

"How can you not stock those? They're literary classics!"

"We stock the film novelizations," the nerd sneered at me.

"The what? You know that the films were based off of the books, right?"

"I'd heard that, nyes," the nerd said passively.

"So why does a film adaptation of a book need a movie novelization?"

"Because the original book was too hard to read," replied the nerd.

"Oh come on!" I said, raising my voice, "I read those books when I was eleven years old! You don't need to be a rocket scientist to read Tolkien!"

"Ma'am, please lower your voice," he droned.

"Have you ever read them?" I asked, lowering it.

"Read what?"

"The Lord of the Rings books? The real ones, not the film novelizations."

"I don't read books we don't stock," he replied matter-of-factly.

"You need to get a life," I snapped at him.

As I passed the "film novelization" section, I noticed two people looking at a book they had found in the section, and talking about it. I heard the woman say,

"Have you read this novelization of 'The Return of the King'? It's so much easier to read than the original. Half of the descriptions are taken out, and there's a lovely section of color pictures from the film in the center."

"Reading Tolkien's stuff is like reading Shakespeare!" said the man.

"Oh good!" I thought, "Somebody who finally understands the value of true literature."

"It's all so boring and hard to understand," he continued, "that's why I'm buying the novelization for 'Much Ado about Nothing'."

"And the nice thing," replied the woman, "Is that they all follow the film so closely! Look at this one for 'The Fellowship of the Ring'. They cut out Tom Bombadil completely, so that it could be more like the movie."

"That's wonderful!" said the man. I felt like taking out a gun and shooting whoever it was that thought of novelizing film adaptations. I left the shop in a rage, and decided that I would have to give Flora my copy of the book for her birthday. It was almost as good as new, and probably the only original copy of the book I'd be able to find.

"Somewhere", I said, "Professor Tolkein is rolling in his grave." As I said this, there was a loud grunting sound, the kind that a person in a deep sleep makes when they shift positions in their bed. Apparently I had been right.