Wuthering Heights, it’s just one of those books isn’t it? A classic that is just waiting to be loved. Heathcliff, Cathy, dark moors it’s got it all, plus it’s on nearly every “Read Before you Die” list ever made. Basically, in every quantifiable way, Wuthering Heights has made it to the big leagues (any book that has it’s own song qualifies for “big leagues”). Here’s the thing though- I just don’t love it. Oh, I’ve tried to love it, I’ve read, and re-read it, several times. At first I thought it was just because I was trying to make it romantic, it’s not, so I gave it another chance. Still nothing but annoyance. It’s frustrating, all the signs are there, well one sign- the heroine is called Cathy…I’m called Kathy, so obviously this means the book should be my favourite. I even dressed up as Cathy one Halloween because I thought this connection was so worth pointing out, it was my first year of Uni, it was the English Society Party, I apologise.
The thing is Wuthering Heights is just a bit weird. Isn’t it? To begin with the narrative structure is all over the place, we get a couple of chapters about the narrator, then nothing. Not. One. Thing. Then he gets ill and forces his servant to gossip about his neighbours to pass the time, this is when it all goes downhill for me. Also I’m a bit of a wimp…dead people outside my window at night? No thank you. On so many levels the detached and analytical part of my brain almost convinces me that this book is a masterpiece. It really is a testament to the dangerous and obsessive side of love and I am constantly amazed that all of it came from the mind of a sheltered vicar’s daughter. Emily Bronte really gets inside your head and makes you think, and feel. All this aside, though, I just don’t get it and this frustrates me. Perhaps it’s because I’ve never felt remotely the way Cathy and Heathcliff feel about each other that I can’t identify with Wuthering Heights, perhaps it’s because I don’t want to feel remotely this way about anyone…I don’t know, but there’s just something about it that makes me finish the last page, shut the book and think “well I’m never reading that again”. Then again, there is equally something about it that makes me pick it up and start the process all over after a many months have passed. I guess that’s part of the intrigue, I keep reading because I want to understand it but at the end of the day, perhaps I never will. I do love the song though!
Ok, so here’s the thing- no body likes romance fiction… wait, nobody admits that they like romance fiction. It’s all there, in that little word “admits”, who actually admits to liking romance fiction other than your friendly neighbourhood cat lady? At least that’s the way it seems from where I’m standing.
What is it about this genre that makes us go all red-faced and hastily change the subject? The fact of the matter is even though we all enjoy a good romance it’s just not ok for anyone who isn’t knitting *I Love Darcy* jumpers to own up to it, right?
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They tell you to write about what you know and what I know is books. I love books, I love reading them, I love writing about them, I’ve literally paid money to know more about books…You could call it an obsession, but I prefer life calling! For the past four years at University my day to day life has revolved around books. I’ve just finished my Masters and honestly, I didn’t want it to stop so I decided to start a blog about books and so here I am.
The thing about studying English is that it can really convince you that there is such a thing as “proper” fiction. This really annoyed me because most of the books I truly love were never ones that fitted neatly into “proper”. I wrote my dissertation on romance fiction, and although my tutor was really enthusiastic about this she also told me that even five years ago it wouldn’t have been considered an acceptable topic. So although academia has done so much to remove itself from the dusty old men with moustaches stereotype it seems like it still has a little way to go. I suppose this didn’t really surprise me but it did get me thinking; I recently came across a quote by Oscar Wilde and it seems to capture what I want this blog to be about, he said: “It is what you read when you don’t have to that determines what you will be when you can’t help it.” At university we used to joke that none of us has read a book because we wanted to in years, all of us looked forward to the holidays so we could read anything, it’s silly when I think about it. So this blog is an experiment. It’s an ode to the books I love (and the ones I don’t).
Thank you for taking the time to read this, I hope you’ll enjoy reading the blog as much as I enjoy writing it, I’d love to connect & hear from everyone, you can find me here or on twitter, and remember, if you have any thoughts, feeling or opinions please don’t keep them to yourself!