Happy Birthday, Emily Bronte! Part One

You don’t look a day over 100.

Today is the the 202nd* anniversary of Emily Bronté’s birth, which you know if you already know if read the title of this blog post. She is one of THE Brontë sisters of 19th century novel fame. But today I don’t want to focus on the bibliographical points of Emily’s life. I want to write about my thoughts on her one and only published novel Wuthering Heights.

Wuthering Heights  is one of the most hotly debated novels. This story of extremes elicits extreme reactions to this day. Readers either love it or hate it. There doesn’t seem to be a clear middle ground. Those who hate it dismiss it as a hysterical Gothic romance. Those who love it see it as one of the greatest love stories of all time. I count myself as a lover of this story, but it has changed for me over the years. It is still a love story, yes. But I now see it more as a cautionary tale; a tale of the horrors of obsessive love. In Wuthering Heights Emily is warning us against the dangers of the unhealthy, obsessive love between Cathy and Heathcliff.

From the beginning Cathy and Heathcliff are attached to each other much to the unhappiness of her brother, Hindley. At this point I should mention that Cathy’s father “adopted” Heathcliff and brought him home to raise along side his children. Many 20th and 21st century lit critics argue that Heathcliff is his illegitimate son. Thus making him Cathy’s half brother. And that brings up a whole other can of worms which I’m just ignoring for now. Maybe someday I’ll revisit this point. Cathy and Heathcliff become deeply attached and spend their time running like wild things across the moors. And while this sounds sweet and lovely, the two do not always behave this way. They are also cruel and unkind to those around them.

But one day things change for Cathy (puberty!) and she finds that she wants something more and different than running like a wild thing across the moors with Heathcliff. She wants to join society. Be a proper young lady in pretty dresses with proper young men courting her. And this longing for respectability is something that Heathcliff can not forgive. Cathy feels torn between the two worlds. And when Cathy chooses the world of the proper young lady, Heathcliff leaves to find his way in the world without her.

And things continue to get worse and less romantic in this story.

 

* I originally wrote this post back in 2018 to post on the anniversary of her 200th birthday, but never got around to doing it.

I’m not the only one who doesn’t buy into this story as a great romance. Here are some Links:

Kate Bush’s video  If you haven’t seen it in a while…..it’s bananas.

Heathcliff and Literature’s Greatest Love Story are Toxic

Romanticised Abuse: Heathcliff and Cathy in Wuthering Heights

What are your thoughts on Emily Bronte, Wuthering Heights, and my take on this story? Or what are your thoughts on the Gothic genre in general? I’ve been thinking a lot about it this week because I’m reading Mexican Gothic this week and I see so many nods in it to the Bronté sisters novels and other classic Gothic novels. Let me know in the comments below what you think about any of these topics. I would love to chat with someone about it!

Happy Reading.

 

Book Mail!

5DBA8CFE-C8A6-41D9-84BE-24DE4EC0BB2B I subscribe to two book box subscriptions: Book of the Month and Page 1.  And both make me very happy for different reasons. Book of the Month allows me to pick the book I want from a list. And Page 1 sends me a book based on my favorite books and authors. And it comes wrapped in paper and ribbon along with a fun bookish item. Click on the links to visit the webpages and get more information about the subscriptions.

 

Here’s my July boxes.

Book of the Month:

EAEB6F3D-8F89-46BB-8CED-EEFBE0C54E6F Mexican Gothic by Silvia Moreno-Garcia. Look at that cover. It’s just beautiful. Fingers crossed that it lives up to the cover!

 

 

 

 

 

Page One:

D297FF7A-19B0-4248-8077-EEB23A0BD6F4 As you can see, the box contains a wrapped book, a bookish gift (coasters), & a Page 1 sticker.

 

 

 

 

 

6CA2A5A5-0DDC-4036-A433-065C9FAB8F96Here’s the book. It’s not one that I’ve really heard anything about, but is definitely one I would pick up in a store. And the colors on that cover! Gorgeous!

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

So, what do you think of the books I got this month? Have you read ether book? If so, what did you think? Let me know in the comments.

***If you would like to try Book of the Month use this link here. It’s a referral code that gets you your first box at a discount. And I get something, too, if you use it.

***Visit Page One Books & Use code NEWREADER for 10% off your first order. (I don’t get anything if you use this code.)

Happy Reading!

2020 Reading Challenges Update

99CB8479-F3F5-4B32-BA72-926DA52DAF0C Since it’s the midway point for the year, I think it’s time to post an update on how all the reading challenges I’m participating in are going.

Just to let you know, I’m attempting to read books that will work on more than one prompt per challenge, and across more than one challenge. And for the 20 Books of Summer 2020 challenge, only books that fit a prompt on any of the other book challenges. And in my quest to read more of my own TBR books (AKA books languishing on my book shelves), reading more of my TBR .

Here are challenges and my progress:

Pop Sugar Reading Challenge 2020: 23/50

Reading Women Challenge: 9/24

Book Riot Read Harder: 6/24

The Heaving Bosoms 2020 Reading Embrace: 13/20

20 Books of Summer 2020: 4/20

C0959880-C7D9-499A-A0A6-B09E35FBB631

I really need to up my reading to finish all of the challenges before the end of the year.

Are you participating in any challenges this year? Which ones?How are you doing? Do you think you’ll finish before the deadline? Let me know in the comments below. And be sure to leave a link to your blog or SM so I can see what your reading.

As always, happy reading, y’all!

June 2020 Wrap-Up

5373F37D-470B-4563-87C8-96939758A5F1Read: 15

Men: 1

Women: 14

Diverse Authors: 2

Library Books: 9

My Own Books: 6

physical copies: 14

eBooks: 11

Re-Reads: 3

DNF: 2

page total: 4,873

Favorite Books:

Texts From Jane Eyre

A Hunger Like No Other

The Chocolate Kiss

It’s July? How did that happen? Time seems to move more quickly the older I get, but this year is such a mess that months and days are moving at strange rate. Anyway, how was your reading in June? Did you you have a good reading month? Let me know in the comments below. And leave me a link to your June wrap-up, too.

As always, happy reading!

Quickie Book Review: Texts from Jane Eyre

D5027441-FF0A-47C5-ABCE-41E4ECF6F6F0 Title: Texts from Jane Eyre: And Other Conversations with Your Favorite Literary Characters

Author: Mallory Ortberg, Daniel Mallory Ortberg, Madeline Gabbo (Illustrations)

Published: November 4, 2014 by Henry Holt and Co., eBook.

Length: 240 pages

Genre: Humor, satire, & books about books

Source: Public Library

Stars: 5 stars

Summary (from GoodReads):

Hilariously imagined text conversations—the passive aggressive, the clever, and the strange—from classic and modern literary figures, from Scarlett O’Hara to Jessica Wakefield
Mallory Ortberg, the co-creator of the cult-favorite website The Toast, presents this whimsical collection of hysterical text conversations from your favorite literary characters. Everyone knows that if Scarlett O’Hara had an unlimited text-and-data plan, she’d constantly try to tempt Ashley away from Melanie with suggestive messages. If Mr. Rochester could text Jane Eyre, his ardent missives would obviously be in all-caps. And Daisy Buchanan would not only text while driving, she’d text you to pick her up after she totaled her car. Based on the popular web-feature, Texts from Jane Eyre is a witty, irreverent mashup that brings the characters from your favorite books into the twenty-first century.

I think this book has been languishing on my Libby TBR since it was published. I was a huge fan of The Toast & am still sad that it is no longer publishing content (RIP).

Like:

I’m going to be honest. This book is catnip for me because I was an English major in college and am familiar with almost every book/character/author used in the book. And it condenses it’s commentary down to text messages, which I love.This book is satiric.  And I love satire. And books about books. And snark. Snark is, by the way, my native tongue. And this book is a snark fest. Snarky takes on Henry David Thoreau. Snarky takes on Lord Byron. And snarky takes on Hemingway (OMG, does he need to be snarked about.)  And it does have a feminist leanings. Which I am also here for.  So for me this book is an almost perfect read. And it’s quick, too.

Not so much:

The only thing I didn’t like so much was the Sweet Valley High & The Babysitters Club texts because those books are after my time. But I still found the texts amusing.

What I’ll remember: 

How funny this book is. I’ll probably check it out occasionally in order to dip in and re-read sections to amuse myself. In fact, I may have to buy myself a physical copy to have on hand. So I can comment in the margins.

Recommend: 

Hell, yeah! If you are an English major and or someone who has read the classics & is snarky, this book will amuse you. Don’t wait! Go read it right now! I regret that I waited so long to read it.

Let me know what you think about this book in the comments below.

Happy Reading!

 

Book Mail!

B1436991-12EA-470A-A30B-569DB20E8E69Book mail is the best mail.

I subscribe to two book boxes right now and both make me very happy. Book of the Month allows me to pick the book I want from a list. And Page 1 sends me a book based on my favorite books and authors. And it comes wrapped in paper and ribbon along with a fun bookish item.

I thought I’d share my bookmail wiyth you today.

First, Book of the Month.

776CFDD5-A5F6-4286-A148-CEB84417157BMy Pick this month is A Burning by Megha Majumdar.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

And, Page 1

In this box I received a tote and The Jane Austen Society by Natalie Jenner.This book has been on my radar for a couple of months, and I am super excited to get a copy. Thanks, Page 1!

If you would like to try Book of the Month use this link here. It’s a referral code that gets you your first box at a discount. And I get something too.

Click here to visit Page 1 book box subscription page. I don’t have a code for a discount, but Literary Life on You tube does have one in her show notes. Click here to watch her video and find the discount code.

Happy reading!

Quickie Book Review: Beach Read

0732CF12-F504-440E-8E16-FF0D4B3DEDD7Author: Emily Henry

Published: May 19, 2020,  Berkley, Book of the Month Club Edition

Length: 362 pages

Genre: Women’s Fiction, Contemporary Romance

Source: Book of the Month Club subscription

Stars: 3 Stars

Summary:

Augustus Everett is an acclaimed author of literary fiction. January Andrews writes bestselling romance. When she pens a happily ever after, he kills off his entire cast.

They’re polar opposites.

In fact, the only thing they have in common is that for the next three months, they’re living in neighboring beach houses, broke, and bogged down with writer’s block.

Until, one hazy evening, one thing leads to another and they strike a deal designed to force them out of their creative ruts: Augustus will spend the summer writing something happy, and January will pen the next Great American Novel. She’ll take him on field trips worthy of any rom-com montage, and he’ll take her to interview surviving members of a backwoods death cult (obviously). Everyone will finish a book and no one will fall in love. Really.

I just have to note before I get to the review that this novel is NOT a romance novel. It’s women’s lit. Which is fine, because I do read women’s lit. I’m just a bit baffled as to why they marketed it this way?  While there is a romance, it’s not the main obstacle the heroine, January, is trying to overcome. And I think that romances are sort of treated a dismissively by January? Maybe? I don’t know. Also, they spend little to no time on the beach……reading. So? Maybe the title is more a reference to the genre of book that it is?

Like:

I like the premise of this book. Two authors challenging each other to switch their genres is fun. I also like that her love interest is August, a nemesis from college. Now she did have a crush on him back then, and she is still attracted to him in the present. I also like the central conflict of the book, January coming to terms with her father’s death and the revelations about him come to light after his death.

Not so much:

The marketing of this book as a romance. Sigh. The central conflict is January’s acceptance of her father as an imperfect human, and her own imperfections as well. It is not about whether or not Gus and she get a happily ever after. Also, there is a weird subplot about a cult in the woods that is a bit like the Branch Davidians or Jim Jones that is just gross? Especially the way the two survivors are treated by Gus. By the way, Gus writes a romance that uses a cult as the setting for the romance and for me it felt wrong.

What I’ll remember:

The thing I remember about this book is the weird cult subplot. I just find it so weird that I can’t stop thinking about it. And not in a good way.

Would I recommend?

Yes, in spite of the cult stuff. But I do think YMMV. I like Gus. It’s a beach read. I like the frantically trying to positive and happy January. I like way January realizes that humans make mistakes and are imperfect.

Have you read Beach Read? Did you like it? Do you agree or disagree with my  assessment? Let me know in the comments below.

Happy Reading.

May 2020 Wrap Up

D5D2D20C-EE84-45ED-820E-DCB770B68714 Read: 17

Women: 18

Men: 0

Diverse Authors: 2

Library Books: 6

Physical Books: 3

eBooks: 14

Books I Own: 10

Re-Reads: 8

Number of Pages Read: 5,261

Favorite Book this month:

Say Yes to the Duke (The Wildes of Lindow Castle, #5)

Not My Favorite Book:

Hate Notes

As I look over my stats for the month of May, I see that re-read a lot of favorite romance novels in May. The number sort of surprises me. But, not really.  This dumpster fire of year makes me want to read books that I love in order to survive this all. And I also see that I read only 2 books by diverse authors this month, which is terrible. I really need to step up and read more diversely. I have no excuse not to do it.

How was your May? Let me know in the comments below.

Happy Reading.

20 Books of Summer 2020

20 books

Yes, it’s time to announce that I’m doing yet another book challenge this year. This time it’s one I missed out on last year the 20 Books of Summer hosted by Cathy746Books. <<– Click here to see the announcement page for the challenge & to learn more about it. If 20 books are too intimidating, there are also 5, 10, & 15 books of summer levels. Just chose the level that is right for you. The challenge runs from June 1st until September 1st this year.

As always, I plan to use this challenge to tackle both my physical Mt. TBR & all the other reading challenges I’m working on this year. So picking out books for this challenges is simple. I just grabbed books that I’ve been planning to read this summer. Also, I’m only counting books that I started and finished during the run time of this challenge.

So, without further ado, here’s my list*:

  1. You Are Not Alone by Greer Hendricks & Sarah Pekkanen
  2. A Women is No Man by Etaf Rum
  3. Things in Jars by Jess Kidd
  4. The Family Upstairs by Lisa Jewell
  5. The Last Time I Lied by Riley Sager
  6. The Library of Legends by Janie Chang
  7. The Sun Down Motel by Simone St. James
  8. That Kind of Mother by Rumaan Alam
  9. The Silent Patient by Alex Michaelides
  10. The Killing Moon by N.K. James
  11. Being Mortal by Atul Gawande
  12. We Love You, Charlie Parker by Kaitlyn Green
  13. Pachinko by Min Jin Lee
  14. Whiskey by Bruce Holbert
  15. The Bookshop on the Corner by Jenny Colgan
  16. The Argonauts by Maggie Nelson
  17. On Beauty by Zadie Smith
  18. Stiff: The Curious Lives of Human Cadavers by Mary Roach
  19. The Sisters Brothers by Patrick DeWitt
  20. The Almost Moon by Alice Sebold

*This list will probably change as the summer progresses. I figure as long as I read 20 books on my TBR it’s all good & I accomplish my goal of whittling it down.

I will post about starting or finishing the books on Instagram & Litsy. You can follow me on Instagram buy clicking here. And on Litsy search for Loreen. And of course I’ll be using #20BooksofSummer20 in all my social media posts for this challenge. And at the beginning of September I’ll have a wrap-up post here detailing my reading adventures in this pile & challenge.

Are you planning on joining in on this reading challenge? Let me know in the comments below so I can visit your blog and see what your planning on reading.

Happy Summer Reading, y’all!