Wuthering Heights by Emily Bronte

Book Details
Hardcover
Pages: 321
Publisher: Cameron House
Published: 2008 (Australian edition)
Language: English
ISBN: 9781741730340

Book Review
My boyfriend's sister gave me this book as a Christmas present this year. She read it in High School and it is her favourite book so it came with a high recommendation. I didn't really know what to expect to be honest, but I don't think it was what I got. I can't remember the last time I read such a dark book.

It is the story of an unfulfilled romance between Catherine Earnshaw of Wuthering Heights and Heathcliff, the young orphan boy her father adopts and brings to their home to live with them. Catherine and Heathcliff are close throughout their childhood and teenage years, although Catherine's brother Hindley Earnshaw deeply resent Heathclif and special place he holds in his father's heart. Despite her love for Heathcliff, Catherine marries the son of their neighbour, Edgar Linton, at Thrushcross Grange, a young man closer to her in social status. This destroys Heathcliff, who then dedicates his life to taking revenge on Hindley and proving to Catherine the poor decision she made in marrying in Edgar.

What really surprised me is how many people had told me that they really liked Heathcliff. I have to admit to disliking Heathcliff immensely, in fact, I didn't find myself able to sympathise with any of the characters, not even Ellen Dean. Heathlcliff particularly - I found him to be evil, controlling, abusive and a manipulator. He is selfish to the extreme. What makes it worse is that he doesn't even pretend that he cares - he is so openly out to cause harm to others in return for the harm that he himself has suffered. I'm not denying that he was treated poorly at all, he had a difficult like which collapsed in around him when his love married elsewhere. And yet regardless of this, I can't help but think that there is no excuse for the deliberate harm he inflicted on others, including those that the purported to love.

Ellen Dean was about the only character that I thought that I could possibly like, and even then she was definitely a little annoying. Whilst she had good morals and a good nature, she couldn't resist but put her two cents worth in whenever the opportunity arose. She struck me as somewhat controlling, always so sure that she knew what was best for everyone and trying to make sure things according to idea of what is good and proper. Having said that, she genuinely cared for those that she served and I think genuinely wanted to protect and help everyone, a lot more than could be said for any of the other characters. I also found it frustrating that a lot of time time she just watched these horrible things happen, and didn't put a stop to some of the goings on that she so much wanted to put a stop to. I supposed this a product of the times, as the servant she had little control over her masters, even when they are children.

The book had so many themes and messages in it. I saw the dangers of pride in all of the characters, although particularly in Catherine Linton nee Earnshaw. She was so certain of her own self worth I think in some ways this turned into her downfall. The effects of selfishness were also very apparent - Hindley Earnshaw failed to care for his son after his wife's death because he was too wrapped up in his own loss and self pity to give a thought for anyone else. As a result Hareton fell under the influence of the evil and manipulative Heathcliff. Heathcliff too was clearly selfish, caring only for himself and totally focused on getting his own revenge at the cost of others happiness. I was especially surprised at the portrayal of Linton Healthcliff, he was such an unpleasant child, so focused on himself and his sufferings that he seemed incapable of proper human feeling most of the time.

I think that the book was also making an important comment on the issue of nature v nurture. There was this tension between the idea of some of the characters having a bad character on the one had, but on the other hand, you could see that each character became the person they were being treated as. For example, Heathcliff was treated terribly as a child, and grew up to treat others terribly. I think Ellen Dean had some insight into this tension between nature v nurture:
"The masters bad ways and and bad companions formed a pretty example for Catherine and Heathcliff. His treatment of the latter was enough to make a fiend of a saint."
and
"I divined, from this account, that utter lack of sympathy had rendered young Heathcliff selfish and disagreeable, if he were not originally;"
Its the old debate isn't it - what makes us who we are? Are we born with our personality and characteristics pre-determined (Nature) or do we become the people we are due the influences around us (Nurture)? The book has a happy ending of sorts, and after all the sadness and madness, that was something positive.

Summary

What kind of read is it?
It is an easy read, but for its size it did longer to read than I expected. That perhaps can be put down to the language used. I definitely had to spend some time figuring out what the character of Joseph was saying. The kind of read that is good when you need something a bit seriousness after a row of really happy books. Something that would be good when you want a reminder of what true human nature can be like.

Do I recommend it?
Despite the fact that I didn't necessarily like the characters and still don't understand why everyone likes Heathcliff so much, I still couldn't put the book down. So, I definitely recommend others read it, just to see what you think of the characters and their goings on.

Do I recommend buying it?
Usually I think that I would recommend buying most books, but not this one. You can tell that I'm in two minds about it, for as much as I was sucked into the story and the characters, it wouldn't be a book that I would need to have on my bookshelf.

Star Rating

6.5 / 8

Brilliant, couldn't put it down.

Booking Through Thursdays: Flapper? Or not a Flapper?

I have found a great new blog called Booking Through Thursdays that I would love to participate in, and although I know that it is a little bit late, I'd love to share the answer to this weeks question:

Do you read the inside flaps that describe a book before or while reading it?

I definitely read the flap before I commit to the book. I want to know what the book is about to help me decide if I think that its something I want to read. I read the back as well. I also always read the first line (I think the first line of the book is the best part!) and I also flick through the book randomly and stop at certain pages and read some random selections. I admit that the danger of this is that something gets spoiled, which occasionally does happen, but I don't let that put me off getting the book anyway if I think that I will enjoy it.
Strangely enough though, sometimes while I'm reading the book I will go back and read the flap or the back cover. This is usually when I'm confused about something, or the book isn't what I expected.
What about you?

Lights, Camera, Blog Action!

This is a special feature dedicated to sharing the word about the other great blogs that are out there! I have seen these a lot on other people's blog and I really love it - I have found a lot of great blogs through such features and I want to be able to share some book blog joy too!

Today I am featuring "My Overstuffed Bookshelf", a blog my Amy J who featured mine on her website last week: http://myoverstuffedbookshelf.blogspot.com/

1. Tell us something about yourself

I am a seriously addicted reader! I constantly have a book in my hand. In bed, on the couch, in the car, yes even in the bathroom! LOL I am 33 years old and married to wonderful man who works in the road department. We have a beautiful 5 year old daughter. I also have 2 other daughters from a previous marriage that are 13 and 12. AND a stepson who just turned 11. I live in a hot desert and if we get any snow at all, everyone takes the day off to play in it! I occasionally scrapbook and make cards, but reading is my real passion!

2. What was your favourite book as a child or young adult, and why?

Hmm....I have read so many books, so it is hard to remember. I have read over 300 books in about 4 months so it is hard to think back. I would have to say that my favorite books as a young adult were by Christopher Pike and Little Women. I also loved the Little House on the Prairie books as well.

3. Why do you love to read?

It opens up such a wonderful world in your mind! It's an escape from the real world. You can travel anywhere and meet new people and all within your own home! I love all the creative ideas authors have come up with and shared with everyone!

4. How do you choose your books?

I am so bad about this. First I look at the cover. I know I shouldn't judge a book by its cover, but it just happens. I also pick my books by what genre I am in the mood for. I read all types of genres, not just one or two. So it is based on my feelings at the moment. Sometimes I am in the mood for a mystery, other times I want to read some good old passionate sex books! LOL=)

5. If you had to narrow it down - who would be your 3 favourite authors and what would be your 3 favourite books?

OMG! Only 3!!! Is that even possible?! Well, my top 3 would be Lynsay Sands, Gena Showalter and Stephenie Meyer'My 2 favorite books would be any of their books. Just pick 3 out of their works!

6. When and why did you start your blog?

I started my blog back in August of 2009. So about 5 months ago. I just wanted to share to everyone what a book is about and the feelings it gave me. Like I said, books are my passion, and I have found writing about them is just as exciting as torturing my family with all the details! =)I also wanted the chance to meet other book lovers as well!

7. What do you love about book blogging?

All the wonderful people I have met and how everyone is so helpful! It's like we are all our own little neighborhood! I love how people can get so excited about a book, just like me!

8. What tips do you have to offer to other book bloggers?

Be patient. I know you have heard it a million times before.You will get more followers, more books, but mostly more friends! Don't be afraid to ask other bloggers questions. We all were knew to it at one point or another. I STILL bug other bloggers for help once in awhile.

Thank you for having me!!!!!!

Thanks Amy, I remember reading Christopher Pike too and really loving those books.

If anyone else would like to be featured please feel free to drop me an email at pageturnersbooks@gmail.com

Thoughtful Thursday: Ebooks - friends or foes?

Literary Thoughts is a feature where I discuss all things book related. It might be an issue that has been mentioned in the media a fair bit or it might be theoretical ideas about reading and/or books. I would love it if people could comment with their views on the issues raised, and hopefully get some debate or discussion going. I love reading and books and it would be great to have a space to talk about these sorts of things with other people who have the same interests as well.

Ebooks - Friend or foe?

I started thinking about this issue after reading an article in the NYBR about google books the surrounding controversy, and it got me thinking - are ebooks friends or foes?

Me and ebooks

I have known about ebook for awhile obviously, but I only really started reading them after purchasing an iphone earlier this year and downloaded an ebook application. What I really like about the ebook is the convenience. I am the sort of person who carried a book with her everywhere. I hate being caught without a book. Whenever I have a spare moment, whether it be when I'm waiting for a bus or sitting on a train or in a waiting room, I want to be able to read. Having said, I can't always have a bag with me big enough for a book (I can be a bit fussy about handbags). The genius of the ebook is that no matter where I am I will always have my phone with me and therefore always be able to read.

Since discovering the ebook I have developed a new 'system' of reading, which you can read about here. Briefly, I always have at least 2 books on the go, one is the actual book that I'm reading, and the other is a book that I'm reading in ebook form whenever I don't have my other book with me. This means that it takes me a lot longer to finish the ebook obviously. So for me, the ebook hasn't replaced the book, it's a back up I like to have with me as a safety net for those times that I'm caught without a book and nothing else to do. I don't think that I could ever stop reading real books for the ebook - I love book shopping, I love the smell, I love the feeling of excitement when I buy one, of not knowing what story is coming. I love holding it and being able to completely immerse myself in it. I just don't feel the same when I read an ebook. Having said that, I think that ebooks definitely have their place. Overall, I would say that they are my friend, if not my best friend.

Cultural implications

As I said, what really got me thinking about was an article in the New York Review of Books about the controversy surrounding the free books made available by google. You can view the article here. There was another interesting article published more recently in the Sydney Morning Herald on 17 December 2009 about the 'ebook revolution' and its effect on the publishing industry, you can access it here.

The article discusses a lot of interesting points; is it a good idea to allow a company such a large range of rights over literature? Should they be able to hold copyright over orphan books? What implications does this have for literature on the whole? The article refers to memorandums from France and Germany; both countries emphasised their national pride in their nations works of literature, they discussed the Declaration of Human Rights and the free access of information in response to the monopoly Google will have have digital books if this agreement is successful. They touched on the issue of privacy when arguing against provisions in the contract that state that all authors are assumed to have opted-in to a contract to have their book digitized, unless they make direct contact to say that they do not consent.

There are so many potential problems that it almost seems too immense to think about. I think that it is a different question as to whether ebooks are a good thing and whether Google Books is a good thing.

Page Turners featured on My Overstuffed Bookshelf

The wonderful Amy J of My Overstuffed Bookshelf featured Page Turners on her meme 'Spread the Love', which gives bloggers the opportunity to talk about about themselves, their book tastes and their blogs.

Please check it out here. I would love you to be able to read a bit more about me and my blog, as well check out another blog that I enjoy.

Teaser Tuesday

I found this great meme the other day, and although its not Tuesday (I know I'm a day late), I couldn't help but post something!

It is hosted at a blog called Should Be Reading which I have recently discovered and really enjoy, and I think this is a great way to find out about new books, I love reading reviews on blogs, and the great thing about his meme is that you actually get a taste of what's to come behind the cover. Here are the guidelines:

  • Grab your current read
  • Open to a random page
  • Share two (2) “teaser” sentences from somewhere on that page
  • BE CAREFUL NOT TO INCLUDE SPOILERS! (make sure that what you share doesn’t give too much away! You don’t want to ruin the book for others!)
  • Share the title & author, too, so that other TT participants can add the book to their TBR Lists if they like your teasers!
Now, I just finished Wuthering Heights today on the train, so as I am technically between reads I will give you a teaser from the book I just finished and a teaser from the book that I think I will start next.

Wuthering Heights by Emily Bronte pg. 129

"The remainder of the letter is for yourself alone. I want to ask you two questions; the first is - Hw di you contrive to preserve the common sympathies of human nature when you resided here? I cannot recognise any sentiment which those around share with me. The second question, I have great interest in; it is this - Is Mr Heathcliff a man? If so, is he mad? And if not, is he a devil? I shan't tell my reasons for making this enquiry; but i beseech you to explain, if you can, what I have married: that is, when you call to see me; and you must call, Ellen, very soon. Don't write but come, and bring me something from Edgar." Extract from a letter from Cathy to Mrs Ellen Dean.


Capricornia
by Xavier Herbert pg. 1

"Although that northern part of the Continent of Australia which is called Capricornia was pioneered long after the southern parts, its unofficial early history was even more bloody than that of the others. On probable reason for this is that the pioneers had already had experience in subduing Aborigines in the South and hence were impatient of wasting time with people who they knew were determined to take no immigrants. Another reason is that the Aborigines were there more numerous than in the South and more hostile because used to resisting casual invaders from the East Indies. A third reason is that the pioneers had difficulty in establishing permanent settlements, having several times to abandon ground they had won with slaughter and go slaughtering again to secure more." First 3 sentences of the book.


Well, those are my teasers, and I will have more teasers for next week!

It Monday! What are you reading?

'It's Monday! What are you reading?' is a meme started on the wonderful J Kayes Book Blog all about what books you just finished, you are currently reading and what is coming up.

Currently reading


Tales of Beedle the Bard by JK Rowling
I love the Harry Potter series and so I was excited when this came out but just haven't had a chance to read it. It plays such a central role, it is great that it came out as a separate book. I haven't even let the cynical side of me (that thinks it could just be a ploy for more money) get out of control.

Wuthering Heights by Emily Bronte
Yes, I'm still going. Heathcliffe is just so creepy.

The Househouse Guide to Dying by Debra Adelaide
This book is by an Australian author who lectures (or was doing so when she wrote the book) at the university I attended when I was studying. The book sounds a bit tongue in cheek, but it is very serious and is from the perspective of a woman with husband and 2 young daughters that knows that her life is coming to an end due to cancer. Its a very special story and so far one I would recommend to everyone.

Lights, Camera, Blog Action!


I've been inspired by other wonderful blogs to start a weekly feature entitled Lights, Camera, Blog Action! For information about all of my special features and contests click here.

I will be featuring people's blogs on Page Turners every Friday and I would love to feature yours.

Please email me at pageturnersbooks@gmail.com or leave a comment if you would like to be featured and I will send you the list of questions and let you know when you can expect your blog to be featured. Can't wait to hear from you.

Who would like to be on my blog roll?


Drum roll please..........

I am starting to make some improvements to my blog, and I've decided that one of the things that I would really enjoy on my blog is a blog roll.

I love spending time on the Internet looking at everyone's blogs, it makes me feel happy and positive and so it's a great way to pass the time. One of the main ways I find other people's blogs is by looking at the blog rolls on the blogs that I really enjoy reading and clicking on some of the suggested sites. And I have found some really great blogs this way.

So, Ive decided that I am going to start a blog roll.

If you would like to be on my blog roll, please just post a comment saying so. I would really appreciate it if you could add me to your blog roll in return (if you have one). Have a look at the different reviews and feel free to comment while you're around.

Thanks to everyone who wants to be on the blog roll - if I haven't seen your blog before, I can't wait to see it, and if I have, then I can't wait to see it again!