DAY 11: Your Favorite Classic Book.

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From the moment I laid eyes on this question I knew exactly which novel I was going to be talking about, but now I’m sitting here writing the post I feel all nervous and clammy. You see, I want this post to be epic because that’s how I feel about the book. Yet that’s probably impossible because I read this classic such a long time ago that many of the details have faded. Have you ever just loved a novel so much that you found it impossible to arrange your thoughts into a coherent sentence to convey the sincere connection you have to it?

Revolution for Breakfast did a great job of magically describing how she found one of her favourite books, and while I don’t think I can live up to that, I hope after I finish you might consider reading or rereading this book. 🙂

~ * ~

One unsuspecting day I returned some books to the school library, I smiled at the librarian (who always seemed to be shocked when someone actually wanted to take out a book) and went to search for my next adventure.
I browsed along the small isles and took note of many familiar novels that never seemed to move from their designated shelf spaces. I felt a unimpressed; I wanted something new, something different.
Then out of the corner of my eye I spotted a book on the bottom shelf, tucked away in a corner nestled between several other generic books.
The title almost seemed to glow, I lowered myself to the floor so I could look at it closer. Red font and an off white cover stared back at me.

Wuthering Heights.

To this day, I still don’t have much idea why I picked it up, something about the title just enchanted me, it seemed eerie and mysterious. ‘Wuthering Heights. What does that mean?’ I thought, ‘who is Emily Brontë?’ The plain cover could give me no indication either. I looked inside; the font was tiny and the writing style old. I’d never taken an interest in a classic before, let alone read one, and yet I found myself going over to the librarian with the book, taking it out and thoughtfully walking home.

When I showed my mum the book she looked something along the lines of bewildered or surprised. I was only fourteen after all, I doubt she thought I would get on with the book but was intrigued that I was willing to try.
Within the first five chapters I was totally confused and lost. A man named Lockwood had moved into a house and met his gruff landlord Mr Heathcliff. At some point he engaged a housekeeper in conversation and she began telling Lockwood all about Wuthering Heights and the people that lived there. I felt deflated, the language was tough and there were already so many characters to keep track of. I was utterly confused by the names situation with multiple generations of people with the same surnames or similar first names. I was close to admitting defeat, but something in my head told me to keep going, determination?
I got my mum to read the first five chapters along with me again, she looked up a family tree and I eventually got to the point where I had it straight into my head. After that I was off at a sprint. I dove head first into a period soap opera of betrayal, anger and deceit.

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I know a lot of people perceive Wuthering Heights as an over the top love story and I think that’s why a lot of people aren’t bothered about picking it up. Oddly, I never really saw it as a romance. Its about people that sacrifice their future happiness to spite someone, it’s about people who refuse to swallow their pride, it’s about self sabotage and pain and depression, deceit and lies. It’s about hate and lust, rolled into one toxic mess. It focuses on how the nostalgia of the past that can haunt someone everyday when they face the reality of their present. It tackles nature vs nurture; are we are born bad or are we shaped by our surroundings and those we come in contact with? And if it is a romance, it’s about the darker side of love, how it can twist and warp people into something unrecognisable, it’s about the misery and the suffering and the bitterness of a broken heart.
Like many other 19th century novel’s, it’s also about the restrictions placed on women in relation to marriage, and the limitations of their lives because they are shackled to the whims of men who dictate who they marry, what they will learn and how they will live.

Wuthering Heights is my favourite classic novel firstly because of the deep rooted personal connection I had with it. I felt the writer’s every description, fanciful phrase and her unmasked pain. Emily got me invested in the insanity of Cathy and Heathcliff’s lives even though they are possibly the most vain, egotistical and unlikeable characters in literature. The other reason I love Wuthering Heights is because it opened my eyes. I found out classics didn’t have to be drawn out stuffy books that only older people read. I realised they weren’t all about bland people being politically correct and sitting around doing nothing other than having tea parties. (My younger brain’s impression of Jane Austen!) I discovered that they could be wild and passionate and psychotic and exciting. Classics could be an adventure; just like all of those other novels stuck unloved in that dingy, unfeeling school library.

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My latest, pretty leatherbound Barns and Noble Classic version! The Bronte’s, Three novels.

Do you have a favourite classic book and if so why? What did you think of Wuthering Heights? 🙂

P.S. It has become clear to me over the years that Wuthering Heights is the epitome of a Marmite book, so if you run off to buy a copy and don’t like it, I’m sorry! :S


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46 thoughts on “DAY 11: Your Favorite Classic Book.

  1. Catherine and Heathcliff may be the most unlikeable characters in literature, but they are also some of the most well-drawn out one too. I don’t think I will ever love and hate characters like them anywhere else. I enjoyed reading that book last year and I will definitely re-read it sometime!

    My favorite classic book will always be Jane Eyre. I read a graphic novel version and a illustrated kid-version before I read the actual book in 8th grade. At the time, I was very insecure and thought I was ugly and so I related to Jane because she was also plain and insecure. The book gave me hope that things would get better someday. Jane Eyre also ended up being the first classic book I ever read.

    • Jane Eyre is a great book! One of my faves. Jane may be plain (pun?) but she’s gotta be one of the strongest female characters in literature. I had a drawn out with a male friend of mine about this, though, because he thinks that Jane practically abuses Rochester and that Rochester is the one deserving all sympathies in the book. He also talked about “Wide Sargasso Sea” – Jane Eyre’s… prequel? sequel? I haven’t read it – but yeah, it’s been so long since I’ve read Jane Eyre plus I haven’t read that one that I didn’t have much to say. I still think Jane is awesome. I had to comment because I’m always fascinated by which characters people relate to – I’m happy to see that the book inspired you! 🙂

      • There’s a prequel/sequel to Jane Eyre??!?!!?!! How did I not know this?

        That’s an odd way of looking at things, Jane abusing Rochester…hmm. I haven’t read the book so I can’t comment but I certainly don’t get that impression from the TV/film adaptations.

        So glad to hear you love Jane Eyre too! I also find it incredibly interesting which characters people see themselves in. 😀

        Haha, here on Blogs of a Bookaholic, WE LIKE DRAWN OUT DISCUSSIONS! 😛

      • Heck yeah! I actually really do enjoy conversing back and forth with you guys because I feel like these discussions about literature with people who love it as much as I do are a major part of my life that’s been missing for the past 3 years, so thank you for giving me something to look forward to when I hop on to WordPress! 🙂 Also, I think my friend’s opinion of Rochester was skewed because he was in a rough relationship and seemed to be projecting his own troubles onto Rochester -.- lol. And I just looked it up to be sure – yup! “Wide Sargasso Sea” is an (I would think unofficial) prequel to Jane Eyre because it was written in 1966 by a woman named Jean Rhys. The novel follows some events of Edward Rochester’s life before the time of Jane Eyre. It actually looks pretty interesting, but don’t even read the summary / blurb until you read Jane Eyre because there’s a spoiler in there! XD Oh wait… you’ve seen the film adaptations, hmmmm… Well just to be safe I’ll not mention anything 😀

      • Me too! Comments are my favourite part of blogging, I love getting to hear other people’s opinions, it’s almost like the book club I’ve never had (except better cause book clubs are normally snooty, right? :P) It’s so awesome that you’re getting so much out of WordPress already! Normally it takes a while to find bloggers to talk to and to start creating great posts, but you haven’t been on here long and you’re already fantastic at both!

        Ahh I’m sure that would have affected his opinion, I hope his love life is going better now. 🙂

        Wow, I can’t believe this isn’t common knowledge (at least not to me, lol) that would be interesting, I hope I can check it out some day because I would love to see what ideas the author came up with.

        Hehe, that’s probably best. 😛

    • I totally agree, they are so fleshed out to the point where even though they are these bigger than life, over-dramatized characters they are also somehow believable. I dare anyone to label them two dimensional, LOL! I know what you mean, even for all their insanity I kind of loved them for it. I hope I can reread it sometime too. 🙂

      They do graphic novel versions? Awesome! I still haven’t read Jane Eyre, I’ve wanted to for the longest time but somehow haven’t gotten around to it. I think it’s hiding under a mound of books somewhere. 😛
      Wow that’s a lovely story and I’m so glad Jane Eyre was able to help you through a rough time!

  2. Okay, so many things to say here in this comment, but I’ll try not to ramble on too much!
    First of all, thank you for including a mention of my blog in this fantastic post. I am really touched! That book holds a special place in my heart and, obviously, Wuthering Heights has been just as special for you. I love reading about these kinds of experiences! “The title almost seemed to glow, I lowered myself to the floor so I could look at it closer. Red font and an off white cover stared back at me.” — magical!
    (Side note: I used to call it “Withering Heights” because my kid’s mind couldn’t wrap around the word “Wuthering” as a location name, so you weren’t alone in wondering “whatdaheck is this interesting title?” haha)
    But truly, you did a great job of describing this novel, especially by pointing out the nature vs nurture bits along with the “darker side of love” and how it twists us. I think it’s very impressive that you fought your way through the difficulties of the opening chapters at age 14 and plowed on! The narrative is quite confusing, and to be honest I’m not especially thrilled with the story after… well, no, I will refrain from spoilers for those who haven’t read, but I think you know what I am referring to! I also want to say that I became so engrossed in this post while I was in my kitchen reading it on my phone that I didn’t realize my phone was at 1% battery until it shut off hahahaha. I swear it had a good 10 left! But it was a read well worth it. I love your copy of the book, btw, that page is gorgeous!
    I loved this post, and great pick (smirk) for your fave classic book! 😀

    • Hehee!
      No problemo, I was really impressed with your post and I thought it tied in well with what I was going to be talking about on here. 🙂 It is funny how we can grow so attached to inanimate objects, we are silly sentimental creatures! There is something about books that feel so real and tangible though, and I think that’s why some find such special places in our hearts. Thanks! I still find it so bizarre that my brain was somehow drawn to that book over all the others but I’m glad it made the decision to single it out.
      Haha it’s funny you mention that, I was SO confused when I first read it because whenever I typed it into the internet it would come up as not a real word! I didn’t really get the concept when I was younger. I love the title though!

      Thank you so much. 😀 That’s so lovely to hear. Hehee so do I when I think back to it, for some reason I was determined to read that book and I guess it will forever remain a mystery. I got so confused at the beginning and I thought it was just me, so that makes me feel a lot better! Haha I think I do know what you are talking about. Awesome!

      Thank you for commenting and the compliments! *Blushes.*

  3. I haven’t read any classics in quite a few years, so at first this question was really hard for me to answer. But then I looked back on my childhood and remembered a book that always held a very special place in my heart. That book is Black Beauty, and I have a beautiful, very old leather bound copy that belonged to my grandfather and then my mother. I haven’t read it an ages – I really should pull it out again :). I can just see you with your beautiful leather bound Wuthering Heights. You probably stroke it and say “my precious, my precious”. I know because I would too LOL!!

    • Black Beauty, ooooh! With the horses and the emotional drama and the tears and oh! I bet that would make a wonderful book. 😀 I’ve only seen movie versions.
      Leather bound too! I’m in book heaven just picturing it *sigh*. That’s so wonderfully that it’s worked it way slowly down the generations too, I love when books have a little history behind them.

      I SO do, LOL!!!! I actually have two copies of Wuthering Heights now, maybe I’ll start collecting them one day. 😛

      • A very cool thing happened today. I was at an outdoor event today to see the Tall Ships (big, old fashioned sailing vessels), and there were some tents set up with people selling things. I saw one table with books on it, so of course it was like a magnet and I had to go over. It was the actual author there selling his historical novels. He used to be a journalist, and now he is writing books, and man is he knowledgeable when it comes to history! It is a trilogy, and unfortunately he had sold all of the first book, but I was able to buy the second one, and he signed it for me. I will be able to order the first book from Amazon. It’s called The Healer by John Wright, and it takes place in the 11th century. So, another signed book for me. Yayyyy me!!!

      • No way! You’re really going to have to stop this you know, I’m going to get very jealous soon, LOL!!!! 😛 I don’t even own one signed book! I must rectify this.

        Love the description of like a magnet too, that’s so accurate. I do the exact same thing, even with TV and films because if I see a bookshelf or someone reading on a programme I have to pause and try and work out what books they’ve got. I’m even worse in everyday life!

        I hope you enjoy the book. 😀

  4. Wuthering Heights has been on my get-to-eventually list for a while but I’ve always been intimidated by it. So it’s good to know that you enjoyed it at such a young age, it gives me hope! Great pick! 🙂

    • Get to it now!!! It’s calling to you Lindsey. 😛 It’s a bit confusing at first like most classics, but once you relax and get used to the style it’s amazing.

      Hope is always good! Thank you. 🙂

  5. Wuthering Heights was one of the books foisted on us when we were at school, to many groans and moans – I think there was one girl who voluntarily read it, the rest of us just studied the one chapter we were given.

    As a result, it’s a book I’ve never read, but I’ll give it a try. Maybe one day.

  6. Blimmin’ hell, you went all poetic on this one. It seems even at 14 you had me beaten on the cultured reading front.

    If Frankenstein counts as a classic then that would be my favourite. I think it was one of the first 19th century books I read out of choice and I was surprised at how good it was.

    • Haha I did! I do like to do a sentimental semi poetic post every no and then. 😛

      Frankenstein as your first classic, interesting choice, there was me thinking it would be something war related, LOL. I’ve heard mixed things about that classic so it’s intereting to hear that you enjoyed it!

  7. Wuthering Heights evokes the moors so vividly that the two will always be associated. I can’t think of many other novels that describe the landscape in which the plot is set quite so effectively. It is interesting that many film versions of Wuthering Heights omit the final section of the book.

    I always found Wuthering Heights too harrowing to be my favourite book. I only like happy endings and Emily Bronte was too astute a novelist to end her novel that way.

    • Oooh you’re so right! I forgot to even mention that but I adore that the setting of Wuthering Heights is almost a character in itself, because as you’ve said it is so vivid. You can conjure up the image of those characters in that desolate landscape which really matches the mood. 🙂 It is interesting, but to be honest I try and forget the movie versions exist, they disappoint me so much and just don’t have the passion or the magic that is in Emily’s writing for me!

      Hmm, weirdly I think I like depressing books.. I prefer this desolate tale far more than the happy chirpiness of Jane Austen. 🙂

  8. Wuthering Heights is a beautiful title. I can’t believe I ever thought this book was romantic though. When I re-read it in college as part of one my courses, my eyes were opened to what a brute Heathcliff is. A toxic mess of a love story is right. 🙂

    • I agree I love it and I still don’t know why, something about it just sounds so cool!
      I think as females we are almost conditioned to look at everything from a romance point of view, we are spoon fed this stuff from a very young age – just think of all those Disney romances!

  9. I’m very impressed. I’ve got Wuthering Heights on my ‘READ ME’ list so I will get round to it. In all honesty, I managed to completely bypass the story up until a few years ago. I didn’t have a clue what it was about at all, but then I watched a TV adaptation and I’m kind of sorry I did. Wish I’d read the book first.

    It certainly sounds amazing though. I’m eager to try this one.

  10. So here’s the thing. I love Wuthering Heights. But. I don’t have a clue why. I picked it up sometime in my teenage years (13-15) and read the entire thing in one night. Seriously, I think I ate supper, but other than that, I didn’t move from my bed. I was completely absorbed. But I haven’t brought myself to read it again since then because I’m a tiny bit afraid it won’t be the same and I won’t like it this time around. I suppose I should read it, but I kind of love that memory held in my head…

    • Haha, I think it took me a long time to write this post because I also had to work out why! It is one of those odd books that if you think about logically it doesn’t sound like it should be a good read, but it is.
      That’s around the same time I picked it up too, maybe there’s something about that age bracket. 🙂 A whole night, wow that’s amazing! I couldn’t do that even with an easy YA read of the same length, I’m too slower reader.

      I’m afraid of that too! I desperately want to reread it but then I also don’t want to go near it because I might not like it as much as I did the first time or it might not seem as magical. :S

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  12. Well, I love the way you introduced Wuthering Heights and your post did it justice, good job!

    A Marmite book. LOL, I never heard that one before, ha ha 😀

    • Thank you Nisha, I was so nervous about writing this post, lol! It doesn’t make much sense but it’s hard when you remember loving something so much and want it to come across to others. 🙂

      LOL! It seemed applicable. 😛

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