January 24, 2003
2. Wuthering Heights, Emily Brontë#*
I first read Wuthering Heights sometime in high school. I was curious about it largely because several years earlier, I'd heard a Pat Benatar song by that name, and realized it was based on the book (I've since learned that Benatar was doing a Kate Bush cover, but I digress). Ended up writing a fairly decent paper on it my senior year about how Ellen Dean is an unreliable narrator, although I don't think I used that phrase.
In any case, reading it first for my Brontë class was an absolute joy, although now I'm worried that Emily's sisters will pale in comparison. I was ready to reread this book, because I noticed so many things I hadn't seen before. There's so much depth here. Once you get past the romantic Gothic trappings (and there's a pretty solid argument to be made that E.B. did a fair bit of mocking those genre conventions), you can find a lot of commentary on the nature of love, of character, of childhood. What draws me in every time is that Heathcliff and Catherine's love is not fairy-tale romance. It's hard, it's painful, it's as often a burden as a joy, but it's real. I love that E.B. realizes her lovers are not the type to ever live happily ever after; their personalities are too strong and too wild. So she tempers them just a touch in the next generation, giving Hareton and Cathy most of the good and only some of the bad qualities of their predecessors, giving them a love that may be less powerful, but one that gives them a greater chance of happiness. I'm left wondering if either Heathcliff or Catherine would think that worth the trade-off.
January 20, 2003
Stolen from Mer, a breakdown of the books I read in 2002 by type.
Young Adult: 5
Interestingly, I normally don't read any young adult fiction, but I fell under Mer and Julie's influence. There probably would have been more under classic fiction, had I actually finished a lot of the books I started for my 18th Century lit class.
January 12, 2003
1. Blackwood Farm, Anne Rice
Along with a ton of homework today, I finished reading the first book of 2003.
Sadly, I used to read a lot of Anne Rice and thought she was a remarkable writer. I was interested in Blackwood Farm largely because I was curious to see how she combined her Vampire Chronicle world and her Mayfair Witches world. The Witching Hour is probably still one of my favorite books, although I haven't read it in years. Overall, Blackwood Farm was supremely okay. A television program I saw once on Ms. Rice said that after Interview with the Vampire was so popular, she started insisting that her publishing company essentially stop editing her works. Well, I can believe it. Blackwood Farm is in serious need of a good whacking with a red pen. Rice is always at her most awkward when she tries to make her dialogue sound 'modern', and there's just too much of that here. I'm not going to rush out and read the Vampire Chronicle books I've missed since Memnoch the Devil.