Tag Archive: Bronte


Title: Wuthering Heights

Author: Emily Brontë

Date Finished: 04/04/12

Re-Read? : First time read

Challenges? : Yes – Victorian Challenge 2012 & The Classics Club

Overall: 4/5 – rather good

This book has certainly taken me on a journey.  To start with, reading this was a bit of a chore if I’m honest.  I didn’t really know who anyone was – I was confused as to why there was this Catherine who was Heathcliff’s daughter-in-law and not his love, so I assumed I must have misunderstood something.  I was also a bit put of when I realised that it was not narrated by neither Cathy nor Heathcliff, as I assumed it would be, as Jane Eyre is narrated by Jane (falling into the trap of presuming the Brontë sisters’ novels will be similar again).

Funnily enough, everything I felt at the start of this book seemed to be completely turned around by the time I had finished!  For example, at the start of the book I felt sorry for Heathcliff – he was treated cruelly and at a time where status and class were everything, no wonder he felt alienated and resentful.  However, by the end of the story, especially when he locks Ellen and Catherine in the Heights to prevent them from seeing Edgar before he dies, I loathed his unnecessary cruelty.

Anyway, I remember Jillian writing that she was surprised that this novel was so emotive for her, and now I know what she meant.  The way I resented some characters for their sheer spite and found my heart beating rapidly when others were in danger really moved me.  It is a true credit to Emily Brontë that she evokes such strong emotions in people well over a hundred years later than when she wrote her only book.

The plot is really original – without being unrealistic, it was shocking and clever and took turns I never would have predicted.  Throughout the novel, I was constantly wondering “what the hell can happen now?!”  The slight downside, for me, is that sometimes we were told of events before they were narrated.  For example, Nelly states that Heathcliff has died before she tells the tale of how, which slightly diminished my desire to read on quickly.

In terms of characterisation, Emily has depicted some of the most unforgettable characters throughout English literature; personally, I believe Heathcliffe and Cathy are on a par with some of Dickens’ creations.  This, of course, is definitely not to say that I like the characters in Wuthering Heights.  On the contrary, I abhor the majority!  At some time or another, almost all of them are mean to one another and seemingly the only person who isn’t, Ellen, is pretty unrealistic, in my eyes.  All those years of serving the family and still going strong at the end?  Oh, and being perfectly content to discuss the entire history of a family she has been so intimate with?  Not likely.

Another instance of the way my view completely changed over the course of the book was with the character of Edgar.  When we were first introduced to him when they were all so young, I found him irritating and meddlesome.  How dare he stand in the way of two people so obviously destined for one another?  I think I saw him as the personification of the requirement to conform to stereotype, in this case marrying to your appropriate social level, and that annoyed me.  However, as I progressed with the story, Edgar’s kindness and devotion to both his wife and daughter won me over and he became one of my favourite characters by the end.

The prose is undoubtedly superb, with no sentence sounding odd or disjointed.  All writing by the Brontës I have encountered so far has been flawless and a pleasure to read; I can’t help comparing with Dickens again, whose lengthy descriptions sometimes have my mind wandering – this is not an issue with Emily Brontë’s descriptions of the moors.  What an amazing setting!  I have family in Yorkshire and next time I visit them, I am definitely going exploring.

To conclude, I now understand what is meant by the view that Wuthering Heights is not so much a novel, but an exploration and education on passion, dominance, revenge and many other strong emotions.  For me, I think it educates on how cruelty can spring from all places, despite background or situation.

A very vivid and thought provoking read.
Although I did not award 5/5 (I couldn’t completely disregard the apathy I felt towards the characters and plot at the start) it is definitely going straight on my re-read list, as I think I have so much more to learn from this book the second time round.

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March Wrap-Up and April Plans

March has been quite a good month in terms of reading for me, as I got quite a lot of reading done despite having lots of schoolwork and other commitments.  Also, as I started this blog on March 1st, I have completed my first month of book blogging!  I have to say I am really enjoying the structure and discussion blogging has brought to my reading and most of all how brilliant is has been to get to know other bloggers from all over the world.  I have felt really welcomed by you all so thank you very much!

Here’s what I read in March 2012:

David Copperfield – Charles Dickens

The Understudy – David Nicholls

And This Is True – Emily Mackie

The Hunger Games – Suzanne Collins

This is good as I aim to read at least three books every month (and I really really enjoyed David Copperfield and The Hunger Games).  Much better than February where I technically didn’t finish anything as I was reading David Copperfield all month!  Also, my target of at least one classic every month was fulfilled in March by David Copperfield.

Challenge Progress in March 2012:

The Classics Club :  1/60 books read  (David Copperfield – Charles Dickens)

The Victorian Challenge 2012:  1/6 books read  (David Copperfield – Charles Dickens)

This is also quite a good show as one book counted for both the challenges that I’m involved in and it is one of the longest in both.  I am on target for both as I only need to read a Victorian every 2 months and a classic every month to complete these challenges on time.

Currently In Progress:

Wuthering Heights – Emily Brontë:  Despite a somewhat shaky start, this book has definitely picked up for me; whilst it is still rather miserable, I feel like I am beginning to understand the book more.  Also, I am intrigued as to what will happen next (I am just over halfway through).

Also, I still have Harry Potter À L’École Des Sorciers – J.K. Rowling by my bed, but I am just dipping into that one now and again for half a page or so, as I am going to Vienna next week so now would not be the best time for practising French!  I usually read this at school anyway, so with it being the holidays, I don’t foresee much progress with this book.

April Plans:

Books:  the next three books on my TBR shelf are The Curious Incident Of The Dog In The Night-Time – Mark Haddon, Emma – Jane Austen and The Shadow Of The Wind – Carlos Ruiz Zafón.  I hope I will be able to at least start all three of these in April, but that does depend on how quickly I finish Wuthering Heights and how well I can balance reading with revision for my summer exams.

Challenges:  in regards to challenges, I don’t have any books planned for April that will count for The Victorian Challenge 2012, but Emma will count for The Classics Club, which is exciting.  I am so impressed by Jillian’s hard work with The Classics Club and how she has even set up a paper for it too!  We are all very grateful for all her efforts!

Every week, The Broke and The Bookish poses a category for book bloggers to post their ‘Top Ten’ in that week’s category.

This week the category is ‘Top Ten Books I’d Play Hooky With’, meaning your top ten books you would skip school or work for.  There are many days when I think I’d rather stay at home and read my book than go to school, but I’ve picked 10 for the moment.

1. Harry Potter – J.K. Rowling.  The Harry Potter books are those ones which you can just sit down and read for hours without noticing how the time flies, perfect for a devouring a book in a day.

2. Jane Eyre – Charlotte Brontë.  The reason I picked Jane Eyre is simply because I can just imagine curling up with this book on a cold Wintry day and reading for hours.

3. The Hitchhiker’s Guide to the Galaxy – Douglas Adams.  If you are feeling down or stressed or upset, then there is nothing better than diving into the hilarious and witty HHGTTG, which is one of the most feel-good series I have ever come across.

4. The Girl with the Dragon Tattoo – Stieg Larsson.  This series is enthralling and the first book is the most gripping of the three.  I couldn’t put it down both times I read it, so it’s a good one for a couple of hours on non-stop reading on a day off.

5. The Hunger Games – Suzanne Collins.  I haven’t read these books yet (I am starting tonight actually, as Wuthering Heights is a bit heavy and my sister is nagging me non-stop) but from what I hear, many people find them ‘unputdownable, which suggests they would be good for a day off too.

6. David Copperfield – Charles Dickens.  The reason I picked David Copperfield, is because it is one of those classics that you really have to get into, and what better way to get into a more laborious book, than when you’ve got hours to spare during the day?

7. Romeo and Juliet – William Shakespeare.  I am talking about all of Shakespeare’s plays here (I only picked Romeo and Juliet as I am reading that one next) when I say that they are quite short which means they are great for playing hooky with because you would probably be able to finish one in a day, which is always really rewarding.

8. The Number 1 Ladies’ Detective Agency – Alexander McCall Smith.  Another feel-good series that can pick you up and transport you to somewhere completely different (Botswana in this case) and make you forget about the pressures and stresses in your daily life.

9. To Kill A Mockingbird – Harper Lee.  As many of you know, this is one of my all time favourite books (so maybe I am biased) but I do think it has severe readability and is one of those books that is a real pleasure to read.

10. Oliver Twist – Charles Dickens.  I remember reading this Dickens last Christmas and really enjoying it, but I think that was because I could spend a couple of hours every day reading it, so I highly recommend playing hooky with this one.

Yes, I am starting The Hunger Games tonight, as I am nearly halfway through Wuthering Heights and finding it quite hard going and I fancy a bit of easier reading.  I will let you know what I think of both books in due course.

Every week, The Broke and The Bookish poses a category for book bloggers to post their ‘Top Ten’ in that week’s category.

This week the category is ‘Top Ten Books on Spring TBR List’ with the guidance basically to list the books you are most looking forward to reading this Spring.  Since I am participating in The Classics Club and The Victorian Challenge 2012 this year, I hope to make a significant dent in these lists this Spring so there are quite a few classics on today’s list.

For me, the year is divided equally into its four seasons: June, July & August are Summer; September, October & November are Autumn; December, January & February are Winter; leaving March, April & May as Spring.  I don’t know why I have always though of seasons this way, maybe it’s to do with how school is structured, by for today’s list, I am focussing on books I am really looking forward to reading in the remainder of March, April and May.

Oh, and these are not in order – that would be much too difficult!

 

1. Wuthering Heights – Emily Brontë.  I am so looking forward to this book and I am reading it next after I’ve finished And This Is True.  I really loved Jane Eyre, which was my first Brontë, and even though I’ve had good advice from Caro that the Brontës were all very  different, I just can’t wait to get back to 19th Century rural England.  Also, Wuthering Heights count for The Classics Club AND The Victorian Challenge so I am killing multiple birds with one book-shaped stone!

 

2. The Shadow of the Wind – Carlos Ruiz Zafón.  I got given this book for my birthday last September by a friend who had heard it was good.  My friend went on to buy his own copy and read it before I could (my book backlog is rather ridiculous) and has said that it was absolutely amazing.  With that kind of recommendation I am expecting great things from this book and am looking forward to sinking into Barcelona!

 

3. The Hunger Games – Suzanne Collins.  Well there is certainly a lot of hype surrounding this series at the moment – I had a free period in the library on Monday and of the roughly 15 people in there, three people were reading (one being me) and the other two were both reading one of The Hunger Games books.  With the film coming out in 3 days time, no wonder people are going crazy.  My sister borrowed the first book from her friend and read it in one weekend, which is quite unusual for her, and we are both eagerly awaiting the delivery of our own copies of the trilogy! I just can’t wait to find out what is all the fuss about?!

 

4. Emma – Jane Austen.  I haven’t read any Austen before (shocking, I know!) and so I am really excited about getting into this, my first.  I chose Emma because my music teacher said that this was her favourite Austen so it seemed as good a place to start as any.  I don’t really know anything of the story and nothing about the characters, so it should be really fun to read a book without any previous knowledge (something quite rare for me).  It has been on my TBR shelf for a good six months or so, and has finally worked its way to near the top and it also counts for The Classics Club, so all in all I think it deserves to be read now!

 

5. The Da Vinci Code – Dan Brown.  I have already read Digital Fortress and Angels and Demons by Dan Brown and I enjoyed them both (solid 4 / 5).  However, this seems to be the novel that took the world by storm so I am looking forward to reading it.  I read Angels and Demons (the preceding novel to The Da Vinci Code) whilst on holiday last summer, so it seems right that this one might tie in nicely with my holiday to Vienna this Easter, although that means getting through a couple of other books pretty quickly!

 

6. Great Expectations – Charles Dickens.  This is a re-read for me – I read it in 2010 but I think I missed something as I found it hard to get into and nothing special.  To be fair it was my first Dickens and I was quite young, so now that I am more experienced with Dickens (I’ve read Hard Times, Oliver Twist and David Copperfield since then) I am hoping to enjoy this much more the second time around.  I enjoyed the BBC adaptation at Christmas and I am intrigued to see if the new film that is being made will bring something new to a story well known by so many.  Another bonus is that it will also count towards The Classics Club and The Victorian Challenge!

 

7. The Girl Who Played with Fire – Stieg Larsson.  This is another re-read.  I absolutely loved the Millennium Trilogy when I read them for the first time back in summer 2010 and I have already re-read The Girl with the Dragon Tattoo last December and loved it again!  Insanely gripping plots – I can’t put these books down so I am really looking forward to reading the second instalment of Lisbeth’s life again.  If you haven’t read these books yet then I seriously seriously recommend them – such vivid characters and instantly captivating plots!

 

8. Cloud Atlas – David Mitchell.  I really don’t know much about this book, aside from the fact that it has several different plots (?).  It was recommended to me by the conductor of the regional wind ensemble I play during the holidays as one of the other ensembles he conducts played a piece of music composed to accompany it and he said it was a great read.  If anyone has read this, I would love to know what you thought of it!  I have put it on this list as I know nothing about the book or the author and that is scary but also exciting!

 

9. The Subtle Knife – Philip Pullman. I really loved the His Dark Materials books when I first read them due to the inventive plot, great characters and the way they deal with serious questions.  I re-read Northern Lights in December and really enjoyed it again, so I am looking forward to getting into the second in the trilogy, The Subtle Knife, a lot.  It is quite a short and easy to read book so I am hoping to polish it off relatively quickly!

 

10. To Kill A Mockingbird – Harper Lee.  This is (probably) my favourite book ever!  For my GCSE in English Literature we had to study this book as our novel and it was so great for me – I loved reading it and learning all the quotes was a pleasure!  This book says so much and says it so well, it a must read for everyone!  I think this will be the 3rd time I have actually read it through as a book, but I have listened to the audiobook many times and when I was studying for English I just kept it around and dipped in and out, reading whichever bit was relevant to the area I was revising.  If you have not read this book you must buy it and read it now!!  On top of all that, it counts towards The Classics Club too – what’s not to love?

 

Every week, The Broke and The Bookish poses a category for book bloggers to post their ‘Top Ten’ in that week’s category.

This week the category is ‘Top Ten Favourite Covers’, with the advice to be ‘as specific or general as you want‘. Therefore I have decided to post my top ten covers of books that I currently own (not in any order – that would be too difficult!)  The covers here are the versions that I actually own.

1. Jane Eyre – Charlotte Brontë (Vintage Classics).  The Vintage Classics series is known for stunning covers – ‘jacket design is integral to our vintage classics’ and each book in the series has a pertinent and beautiful cover.  I love the way they hint at something in the book’s plot, like the key signifying the locked up secret in Jane Eyre.

2. Saraswati Park – Anjali Joseph (Fourth Estate).  Unfortunately, the best part of this book was actually the cover as the story was rather disappointing! However, the cover is very well designed and a pleasure to look at – one of those books you are very careful with, as you don’t want to damage or spoil it!

3. The Man In The High Castle – Philip K. Dick (Penguin Modern Classics).  Again, a book that I didn’t particularly enjoy (although it is very unique) but a cover that I will never forget.  The reason it made this list is because of how shocking the cover is – it immediately perplexes you and really gets your mind thinking.  I did have to be a bit careful as to where I was reading it though!

4. 1984 – George Orwell (Penguin).  This is such an iconic book and the cover is striking and memorable too – both in the book and on the cover you can’t get away from the idea that ‘big brother is watching you‘!

5. The Number 1. Ladies’ Detective Agency – Alexander McCall Smith (Abacus).  This series are possibly THE books I most enjoy reading, on account of their being so funny, interesting and cheerful.  Lovely happy, bright covers which perfectly match the books they are surrounding.

6. Matilda – Roald Dahl (Puffin Modern Classics).  I have always loved Roald Dahl’s books, especially Matilda and The Witches and I have chosen the cover of Matilda for this list.  My version is very pink, but has a large illustration of Matilda by Quentin Blake on the front.  I think Roald Dahl’s words and Quentin Blake’s illustrations and both just as important for these childhood books so that is why this cover is so important to me.

7. The Girl With The Dragon Tatoo – Stieg Larsson (Quercus).  This book is one of my favourites and the whole series keeps me reading through the night.  I especially like this cover of the first book because it shows Noomi Rapace (who plays Lisbeth in the Swedish films) who I think portrays Lisbeth perfectly.

8. Northern Lights – Philip Pullman (Point).  I love the original (back in my day blah blah…) covers of the His Dark Materials Trilogy and I think Northern Lights is my favourite of the three, probably because my favourite colour is blue and that is the main background of this one!!

9. One Day – David Nicholls (Hodder).  There is so much to love about the cover of this book: its design is unique, the orange is amazing, the actual feel of the book is great … I could go on.  A great book with a really novel idea and a really novel cover to match.

10. Emma – Jane Austen (Vintage Classics).  I started this list with a Vintage Classic and I’m ending it with one too; rather appropriately, I think, because in my opinion this series of classics has the best covers that I have come across and they are always the ones that catch my eye when I’m browsing in bookshops.

Victorian Challenge 2012

I am very excited about participating in my first reading challenge – the Victorian Challenge 2012 hosted by Laura’s Reviews

These are the rules:

Challenge Details

1. The Victorian Challenge 2012 will run from January 1st to December 31st, 2012. You can post a review before this date if you wish.

2. You can read a book, watch a movie, or listen to an audiobook, anything Victorian related that you would like. Reading, watching, or listening to a favorite Victorian related item again for the second, third, or more time is also allowed. You can also share items with other challenges.

3. The goal will be to read, watch, listen, to 2 to 6 (or beyond) anything Victorian items.

Although I do intend to watch the modern films of Jane Eyre and Wuthering Heights, my main aim for this challenge is to tackle some Victorian literature.

These are the books I plan to read:

1. David Copperfield – Charles Dickens (Finished 09/03/12)

2. Wuthering Heights – Emily Bronte (Finished 04/04/12)

3. Dracula – Bram Stoker (Finished 25/08/12)

4. Middlemarch – George Eliot

5. Villette – Charlotte Bronte

6. Great Expectations – Charles Dickens (Finished 22/06/12)

I think this list touches on some of the key Victorian authors and will be challenging but feasible and I can’t wait to finish David Copperfield so I can cross the first book off my list.