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What I’m reading and favourite books

175/365 today i woke up alice
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On a random whim I’ve decided to take part in Friend Friday today. The theme is books, and it struck a cord, because of what I’m currently reading:

Wuthering Heights by Emily Bronte

The Kate Bush song of the same name was the last song we played at our wedding reception, and while we were planning the playlist, Dave and I looked up the synopsis on Wikipedia! It was all very confusing with people of different generations marrying each other so when my book group decided to do a classic, I suggested it.

I feel like such a philistine saying this, but I’m finding it really hardgoing. I haven’t managed more than a chapter at a time, and even then I’ve sometimes had to go back and re-read the end of the previous one to work out what was going on. Plus I really don’t like any of the characters, they all just act so horribly and we don’t know enough about their inner life to come to like them anyway. Maybe if we found out something about Cathy and Heathcliff’s actual feelings, as opposed to just the endless repetition that they are each other’s soul, it would be better.

I’m only halfway through though, and willing to be persuaded of the book’s merits. I think that Andrea Arnold film that’s coming out will be good anyway!

And of course, the song is brilliant (this is the 1978 version with extra scary eyes)

Since I’ve been quite negative about my current read, the rest of my five choices are books that I really like.

1984 by George Orwell

For ages this was my favourite book. I really love the detail in the bits about how language controls reality, and the bit in the middle from the book about how international politics/war/economics works. I’ve read it 4 or 5 times, but the last time I read it I didn’t like it as much as the times before. The idea of an all-powerful organisation controlling the minutiae of everyone’s life just seems so of its time and doesn’t chime with my understanding of how society works now.

But definitely read it if you haven’t yet!

The Blood of Flowers by Anita Amirrezvani

This is another book club one, my friend randomly discovered it in the library. It’s about a headstrong girl with a talent for carpet making set in 16th century Iran, but feels really contemporary in the barriers she encounters. And some really powerful scenes when she falls in lust with her arranged husband. A total discovery!

Everything is Illuminated by Jonathan Safran Foer

A story of a young American tracking down his family background in the Ukraine. The historical bits I’m not that bothered about, but the contemporary bits I love. The language of the Ukranian translator (played in the film by Eugene Hutz of Gorgol Bordello) had me laughing out loud all the time. At the same time, the actual plot, which is loosely based on Foer’s own history, is really moving.

Catch 22 by Joseph Heller

A satirical novel about the futility of war, set among US soldiers in the Second World War. I’ve spoken to a few people who really don’t like it, but I think it’s hilarious, serious and brilliant.

What are you currently reading and what are your favourite books?

See here for the rest of this week’s Friend Friday posts.

Comments on this entry are closed.

  • Nanne 4 November 2011, 9:48 am

    Wow, that’s quite a selection of books you’re reading! I’m quite impressed, some of these are not what you’d consider light reading material! I remember reading 1984 when I was in my late teens, and I found it quite disturbing. Which is probably why I haven’t read it since. Wuthering Heights is one of those books that I just never get around to read, but I’d really love to!
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  • Alli 4 November 2011, 2:35 pm

    I read Wuthering Heights last year for the first time and…. hated it. I put it on my “literary masochism” shelf on Goodreads, because the only reason I would read it again is if I wanted to intentionally cause myself literary pain. It’s just so dark. Nobody is likable. The “redemption” at the end is totally unsatisfying, to me at least.

    I much prefer Charlotte Bronte’s Jane Eyre. Dark moments, yes, but at least Jane is an admirable character.

  • Amy, At the Pink of Perfection 4 November 2011, 2:46 pm

    I loved Wuthering Heights when I read it in High School, but I agree, it was so dark! I’m thinking of reading it again as an adult, thanks for the inspiration!

    I agree with Nanne, this is some heavy stuff! You go girl!!
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  • Rebecca 4 November 2011, 5:11 pm

    I had a touch time with Wuthering Heights. It is a well written book, but I never cared for the main characters.
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  • Maven 4 November 2011, 5:22 pm

    I really did not like Wuthering Heights either. It’s a book about horrible people. But these are brilliant:
    http://harkavagrant.com/index.php?id=224 (the second one down)
    I loooove that you put that song on your wedding playlist.

    Books and I are sort of on a break at the moment, but my list of favorites is huge. Possession by AS Byatt and Mating by Norman Rush are at the top. For “classics” Middlemarch is my absolute, hands-down favorite.
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  • Pearl Westwood 4 November 2011, 8:15 pm

    I never read Wuthering Heights either but the TV adaptation with Jonothan Rhys Mayers was really good, worth seeing if you can find it. I really love book reviews as I am always on the look out for a new read – not that I ever have to actually read them! I am always reading text books, I cant get enough of them at the moments its marketing books, I know I am such a geek x

    p.s what anti spam are you using, Ive tried a few on WP but none my readers like??

  • Carina 4 November 2011, 9:05 pm

    I don’t know Wuthering Heights but I agree on Everything Is Illuminated, it’s a wonderful book!
    Since my Irish Literature class at uni… huch da fällt mir grad wieder ein dass ich auf Deutsch schreiben kann haha 🙂 Also seit meinem Irish Literature Kurs in der Uni liebe ich irische Autoren sehr! Mein absolutes Lieblingsbuch seitdem ist “Angela’s Ashes” (oder “Die Asche meiner Mutter”) von Frank McCourt. Es ist wahnsinnig schön geschrieben, ebenso seine zwei anderen Bücher ” ‘Tis – a memoir” und “Teacherman”. Kann ich wirklich nur empfehlen! Leider ist er 2009 gestorben 🙁
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  • rings90 5 November 2011, 2:28 am

    I will admit Wuthering Heights is NOT one of my favorite to read books. But some reason I REALLY LOVE the film adaptations of it. Maybe it’s because I am a Hopeless Romantic.. The 1939 version with Sir Laurence Olivier & Merle Oberon is one of my favorites along with the 1992 version with Ralph Fiennes & Juliette Binoche.

    My must read classic of all time is actually Daphne Du Maurier’s Rebecca. I have read that book every year since I was 17 and every time I finish I have a totally different view about the story it’s characters. Every year I am excited to start reading it again. for myself that is what a Timeless Classic Novel should be to its readers, not some daunting chore that feels like it should be done.

  • Oh to Be a Muse 5 November 2011, 3:35 am

    1984 is one of my favorite books every. i keep thinking that i’ve read Catch 22 but i don’t think i have.
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  • Cortney 5 November 2011, 4:38 am

    I guess I’m in the minority, but I actually really enjoyed Wuthering Heights. Of course, I find that having the time to sit down and get through a large portion at a time really helps. Another thing is I absolutely love so-called “unlikable” characters. I find them so much more realistic and accurate to real life than many “likeable” characters.

    Society has shaped them to become who they became, society essentially made them unlikeable. If you look at the way Cathy and Heathcliff were when they were younger, they were carefree and in touch with nature. Once they stepped away from their roots, they were thrust into society’s judgement of what they each should and should not be. In following society’s dictates they went further away from their true selves and boxed themselves into what they were “supposed” to be as people. I have a lot of sympathy for Heathcliff, actually.

    Erm, yes, sorry for the TL;DR. I couldn’t resist. One of my last college courses was on Romantic Literature, and my final essay was on Wuthering Heights…

    Love your 1984 though. 🙂 And Everything is Illuminated is on my list!
    Cortney recently posted..FBFF: Five Favorite BooksMy Profile

  • Kate 5 November 2011, 11:52 am

    You might find yourself liking one of the characters in the second half of Wuthering Heights. There is one person who seems quite straightforward, unselfish and likeable although you don’t really get to know them until towards the end. I’d be interested to know if you end up with the same impression.

  • Era 5 November 2011, 7:04 pm

    It is “Gogol Bordello”. Great band.

  • Fashnlvr 5 November 2011, 10:44 pm

    I’ve not read Wuthering Heights and after reading everyone’s comments on it, I’m not sure I ever will!! I do love Jane Eyre though. Awesome book and movie! 1984 still seems relevant to me today as I think the internet could be considered a huge factor in influencing people. Especially when search engines are targeted to each individual. You and I could search the same term on Google and get different results entirely!! Anyway – interesting post.
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  • Ela 9 November 2011, 8:23 am

    I have read Wuthering Heights twice. I really like it. I like that fictional characters can cause such passions for the readers, be it hate, or love, or something else. Reading plain material that does not give rise to emotions is to me a waste of time. 1984 is great, and so is Catch 22. Both very great dystopian novels. I have not read the rest. My favorite novel is ¨Father Goriot¨ by Balzac. If you ever come across is, I suggest reading it. It´s work beautifully written 🙂

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