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.

The Sunday Salon – Reading the Shelves

Every year I always say something like, “I’m going to read the books on my shelf and not buy any for a while.”

Once again I failed, epically failed, if I’m honest. I’ve bought several books already, e and real, but I feel I’m helping the economy and authors in my own way so I’m letting myself off the hook on the buying aspect. The good news is that I have accomplished part of what I stated — I’ve been reading the books of my shelf. Out of the seven books I’ve read, six were books I bought in 2011 or books that I’ve owned for years. It’s not much right now, but I’m excited by those numbers, as small as they are. Of course, this morning after finishing Frankenstein, I decided to read a book I bought the other night, American Gods, so it’s pretty much blown to hell all over again.

Quick reading re-cap:

Lady Susan by Jane Austen — I don’t know what to say about this other than how much I enjoyed it. It was really funny, witty, and in some respects mean, but oh so good.

Unfamiliar Fishes by Sarah Vowell — It did make me want to go to Hawaii to see everything she points out and it’s quite interesting on the history front as well. For all that Hawaii is a state, I know very little about its history.

Frankenstein by Mary Shelley — This was a re-read and I was surprised by how much I didn’t remember. It was good and creepy and also very sad.

Today I’m starting American Gods by Neil Gaiman. Why it has taken me this long to get to this book I’ll never know.

This afternoon I’m attending a bridal expo with a friend and then at some point I need to find time to write 1,000 words for the class I’m taking and all before Downton Abbey starts tonight so that’s it for today. Happy Sunday.