On Wuthering Heights

I enjoy the little details nestled in the pages of books and that’s the reason why I re-read. Sometimes I re-visit books I may not have loved from the first page but found I had fallen in too deep along the way and I needed to know what happened to characters I invested feelings in, characters that invaded my thoughts, and characters that began to live with me as I made my way through a book. And this brings me to another reason I re-read — sometimes it’s not about the details. Sometimes it’s about the feelings.

Feelings of doom, darkness, depression, and desperation. That’s what I felt re-reading Wuthering Heights. I knew that going in and wasn’t surprised that those feelings surfaced but I also felt something else this time and it was an annoyance with these characters. The self-absorption became too much somewhere around the middle and I put the book down several times to read another story. I’m glad I did because I think if I pushed through I’d have given up.

I won’t go into details of the story itself but I did want to talk about two characters in particular because they are the driving force for the above-mentioned feelings. Heathcliff is simply horrid. Yes, I know you already know this and, no, this is nothing new. I want to feel for him, to understand his hurt, his need to feel loved, but I can’t forgive him or any of his actions. Catherine needs help, is crying out for help, but everyone around her is too tightly bound up in themselves to either accept she needs help or to offer it. All of the characters are crying out for help in their own myriad of ways; except for Lockwood who more or less needs a bedtime story because he’s sick.

Can we talk about Nelly for a moment? She’s one hell of a storyteller! Seriously. She tells everything to a stranger, spills all the family secrets, makes sorry and pointed observations about the people in her life without regret. It makes me wonder if her housekeeping abilities live up to the liveliness of her storytelling abilities. It also makes me question her motives too. These are people she supposedly cares/d about and she tells these stories to a stranger. Then again, she’s living up to my feelings about this book so maybe it’s not odd at all.

Would I re-read Wuthering Heights again? Probably, but it will be a long while before I pick this up again. It’s a book that will forever and always live on my shelf and books with that status are always subject to re-examination. I fully expect the details and feelings to be different next time. I consider that a good thing.

End of year reading

At the end of every year, I find myself with a reading conundrum. I want to end the year with an amazing book. I scour the shelves, my library options, and, yes, sometimes bookstores. In the end, I usually re-read a book. Why? I think it has to do with comfort.

I might want to end the year with an outstanding book but there’s a lot of pressure to find the right one. Will I be disappointed? Does it say something about my reading choices, or even more worrisome, about me as a reader, if I don’t pick the right book? It’s too much pressure to put on a single book and on myself as a reader. I’m not going to even entertain thoughts about what the ‘right’ book would be…

So, I find a book on my shelf that I know. A book I have a relationship with. A book I love. This year, it’s Wuthering Heights. Yes, I’m ending my year with a morose book but somehow that dark, somber read seems appropriate to say goodbye to 2018. There are no regrets about this choice.

I can’t wait to see what 2019 will hold on the book front and to see what stories make it onto my shelf, into my library queue, and what books I write about.

I wish you all a happy and healthy 2019 full of wonderful stories, great moments, and smiles. And of course, books!

A new way to read

I’m not sure if I’m fascinated or horrified by this New York Times article -> Tiny Books Fit in One Hand. Will They Change the Way We Read? 

On one hand, I love that books are changing, adapting to new ways that readers are interacting with words. Innovation is exciting in that regard. I’m always interested in exploring literary worlds in new formats and I think this one is interesting. But. Yes, a but.

I’m torn. I want to embrace this new tiny book idea and I’ll probably buy one out of curiosity.  BUT the one part of the article I keep coming back to is this:

The tiny editions are the size of a cell phone and no thicker than your thumb, with paper as thin as onion skin. They can be read with one hand — the text flows horizontally, and you can flip the pages upward, like swiping a smartphone.

I read on my phone, I read on an e-reader too. I’m not opposed to that but I don’t want books to be nothing more than a cell phone.

Books are an experience. Books are to be savored. Books become memories. Books and the stories they carry shouldn’t be a simple swipe. But, again, a but. If using innovation as the inspiration, maybe I need to step back and give this new format a go and see how I feel then.

For now, old school. I’ll be reading a heavy 571-page hardcover book this weekend. If my arms get tired, my thoughts on this may change.

More Changes

It’s been four years, FOUR YEARS, and 12 days if I did the math correctly, since I last posted something here.

I’m not sure why today felt like the day to return, but it did and it is.

I’m keeping expectation low, like buried the bar low, so I can ease back into writing and talking about books without any pressure.

Let’s start simple. Hello. I’m Amy and I’m back to writing about books. Expect bookish things soon.

Silence

You may, or may not, have noticed that I took a bit of a blogging break thanks to life being unexpectedly uncooperative lately. It happens. I’ll be back soon with reviews and updates. For the time being, happy reading.

Review – Red Rising

Red Rising by Pierce BrownDarrow is a driller, a Red — a member of the lowest class of humanity — living below the surface of Mars toiling in hot tunnels all for the greater good of human civilization. A displaced person of a conquered Earth, he’s among the settlers mining the precious minerals that will be used to make the surface habitable for future generations. He’s always stretching the limits of what he can do, knowing he’s the best driller in his group and wanting to prove it. What he really wants though is to win the laurel and be able to provide more food for his family.

Just when Darrow thinks he’s won the laurel, everything changes. His wife opens his eyes to another world — a world he didn’t know existed and one he wishes he could instantly forget. When his wife is sentenced to death for showing Darrow the surface world, and the truth about class distinctions, his life shatters. Sentenced to death days after his wife’s public hanging, Darrow finds death isn’t so easy to come by. Taken in by a rebel group, he becomes part of the revolution — transforming into a Gold, the highest class of society on Mars, to infiltrate and bring down the system from the inside. With his wife’s death as motivation, Darrow assimilates into Gold society learning to live among the decadent and immoral people he didn’t know existed, and couldn’t even imagine in his previous life. He’s physically changed through surgery, learns a new language, and becomes, for all purposes, a new person — a person who must now win a game to find revenge for his wife, and his family.

When children are of age, the Golds enroll their children in an institute where survival is more than just an academic term. In order to earn sought after positions in society, the Golds fight their way through a game of life and death, all striving to be at the top. Darrow understands very little about the people and situation he’s been thrown into but quickly takes to the game becoming one of the most conniving and fierce players the institute has ever seen. His unpredictable nature works for and against him propelling him to an end he seeks but doesn’t necessarily want.

Darrow understands the game better than any of the other students and has much more at stake. He’s also slightly unlikable and unreliable. He knows who he is at heart but he also knows he needs to be a killer to survive. He has no problem holding himself above the others believing that what he’s doing is for a greater good. Darrow is now a man with a purpose even if he’s a man who no longer recognizes himself. He’s internalized being a Gold — he’s dark, cold, and mysterious to those around him.

This game that’s being played among the students, and the Gold society in general, is just brutal. You quickly understand the players and what they need to do to survive and even though some are thoroughly unlikable, you like them anyway because the situation is absolutely vile. Reading this book is like watching a fight to the death cage match. Brown’s Mars is a dark and unforgiving place where death is always close, especially for Reds like Darrow.

It happens but I wish it wouldn’t — book comparisons. This book is a mix of things — The Hunger Games, Ender’s Game, and The Lord of the Flies. There’s a competition among the students, it takes place on Mars, and well, in the end, it is mass chaos; students killing students all in the name of winning a game that can’t be won. What that means for the reader is that time will disappear as soon as the first page is read, because once you start, you’re not going to put this book down until the end.

Red Rising is the first book in a planned trilogy.

In addition to this blog, I also do reviews for The Book Reporter website. The above review was done for the Book Reporter which can be found here. The book was provided to me by the publisher.

Red Rising

Pierce Brown

Del Rey

ISBN: 9780345539786

 

Travel, again…

Actually, I’m quite happy about this trip as it’s a vacation! I’m sad to be missing this week’s Republic of Thieves Read Along (Little Red Reviewer is hosting this week, so go visit on Monday) but I’m already looking forward to the catch up session and the fact that I get to read two sections for the next highly anticipated discussion. Cross country plane ride, I am ready for you!

I know it’s been quiet here, but I promise once I finish the class I’m taking, there will be discussion. I will bore you with all I now know. No, I really won’t I promise.

Anyway, read on!

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