Category Archives: Emily Bronte

My Worst Best Books

“What’s the worst ‘best’ book you’ve ever read — the one everyone says is so great, but you can’t figure out why?” That is the question from today’s Booking Through Thursday and I could instantly think of one and that would have to be Twilight which though no one I knew was loving most of the UK population seemed to be joining in with that whole bandwagon and that included me. I thought it was overly long repetitive and didn’t really have any likeable characters. I also got very bored with the whole ‘I love him but he’s dangerous’ that seemed to be repeated twice every page.

However if I am talking about books I have been recommended by lots and lots of people I know and would generally say I trust in terms of great reading guidance I think I have four main contenders, actually no, I have five books I could put forward for you. All of them have been described as being ‘very me’ and though bar one I have finished them all they have left me completely cold. The one I didn’t finish and therefore have promised several people I will re-read this year is We Need to Talk About Kevin by Lionel Shriver. Hated the writing style, was bored and then someone told me the ending which I am hoping I have forgotten! I was also just generally a bit bored with it.

Second on my hit list would have to be The Turn of the Screw by Henry James. Even I thought I would love this book as I am a big fan of dark gothic spooky tales but this left me cold, one part made me jump admittedly but the rest I thought was a bit dull, Novel Insights read this with me at the time and agreed. The Catcher in the Rye by J.D Salinger was another book loads of people told me I should read. I have never disliked a lead character more and I know you shouldn’t like all characters but when all they do is moan, lie and fantasise you come away bored. Fourth would be The Heart of Darkness by Joseph Conrad, found it very confusing and then the ending just completely let me down!

Now for the fifth and final book which I am sure will cause uproar for some people when I say this but it has to be Wuthering Heights by Emily Bronte. The leads are two of the most selfish vile characters written and in an overlong and quite dull narrative, totally boring. I couldn’t wait for the end of both of them and the end of the book. There I have said it. Sorry if that shocks you but seriously I was so disappointed. Having been to Haworth and walking to the farm that caused the inspiration for the book and walking the moors I thought I would love it… no!

I do love being recommended books though. I would never have read The Book Thief so early on if it hadn’t been raved about by my friend Danielle. I would never have dipped into Daphne Du Maurier if three people hadn’t told me Rebecca was one of the best books ever written, in fact I would have missed a fair few of my favourites (The Woman in White, Brideshead Revisited, Lady Audley’s Secret, To Kill A Mockingbird) if they hadn’t been recommended to me so fervently.

I am trying to think of books I have recently been recommended. Simon at Stuck in a Book has told me I must read Alice in Wonderland so will be giving that a go soon and reporting back and indeed I have promised Dovegreyreader I shall try We Need To Talk About Kevin once more. I will report back on those! What books would you recommend I read? What are the worst best books you’ve read?

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Filed under Emily Bronte, Henry James, J. D. Salinger, Joseph Conrad, Lionel Shriver

The Moors of Mitcham

I have dovegreyreader to thank for what has been one of the best, and most needed, days out in ages. Sometimes your head needs a bit of time off. I’ve been having a phase of cabin fever one of the pitfalls of working from home and what’s worse… writers droop and readers block! So rather than do nothing on a Sunday which is usually (and slightly infuriatingly) the case I demanded the Non Reader get up and off we went on a magical mystery tour to Mitcham Common.

I had some slight reservations about what might be lurking there as I know that dovergreyreader has some very fond memories of Mitcham, but it has become renowned for being a bit rough. However I had promised I would visit the area (I certainly wasn’t going alone during the week) and so we got the bus and ended up in what looked like a lane that wouldn’t go amiss in a crime novel as you can see.

I had some slight reservations until we turned the corner and were confronted with One Island Pond which looked like this…

I felt like I had stepped into one of the Moors from Wuthering Heights and yet I was still technically in London. In fact scrap Wuthering Heights I don’t like that novel, it was more a mix of the Moors from Du Maurier’s Jamaica Inn or Bronte’s Jane Eyre.

It also had the slightly spooky ominous edges of the sort of barren autumnal wasteland that you might get in a Susan Hill crime novel. My readers block vanished; I knew what I would be tucking into before bedtime. I think it’s the trees being so bare that made me think of crime sites, or too much ITV3, what do you think?

We then got lost and it started to rain. I could see the non reader (who forgot their coat) was looking less than happy until we turned another and were greeted by lots and lots of wild rabbits, some of which scarpered their white tails bobbing off in the distance and others who simply looked at us nonchalantly and carried on regardless. It was a delight. Sadly none of them stuck around long enough for a photo as it started to rain hard and they all vanished into their warm warren the lucky things. We then came across this which oddly seemed to enthral the Non Reader more than the rabbits…

Despite getting so completely lost and their being no one around we eventually found a cyclist and some directions though the walk ended up going from four miles to six, we didn’t care as we were completely encapsulated by the area. We ended up finding the Ecology Centre, which was closed and then Seven Islands Pond where we both sat on an old tree trunk by the water skimming stones in one of those delightful comfortable silences. You don’t need to say anything to each other you’re both simply happy in your own thoughts letting you head wind down.

All in all just what the doctor ordered. Or should that be just what the dovegreyreader prescribed without quite knowing it?

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Filed under Book Thoughts, Daphne Du Maurier, Emily Bronte, Susan Hill

1000 Novels Everyone Must Read… So Far

So The Guardian (and Observer) are treating us to the ‘1000 Novels Everyone Must Read’ over seven days. I wasn’t sure how this would work it being that 1000 divided by seven means 142.85714 books per day. However what they have done is to theme each issue in the series. So far we have had Love and Crime. Though personally I didn’t exactly think that To Kill A Mockingbird or Jurassic Park was crime, or The Virgin Suicides a love story but I shouldn’t be picky. I was shocked The Time Travellers Wife wasn’t in love actually. I haven’t thought of ones I would put in their yet! That could be another blog for another time.


I don’t know about you but I go through the list and look at which ones I have read and then the ones that I should read in the future and these two issues so far have given me lots to read. What had I read?

Lady Audley’s Secret – Mary E Braddon
Wuthering Heights – Emily Bronte
The Thirty-Nine Steps – John Buchan
Rebecca – Daphne Du Maurier
The Murder At The Vicarage – Agatha Christie
The Woman In White – Wilkie Collins
Jurassic Park – Michael Crichton
The Hound Of The Baskervilles – Arthur Conan Doyle
American Psycho – Brett Easton Ellis
A Quiet Belief In Angels – RJ Ellory (I was shocked this was in here – hated it)
Casino Royale – Ian Fleming
A Room With A View – E.M. Forster
The End Of The Affair – Graham Greene
Red Dragon – Thomas Harris (which I am going to re-read this year)
Lady Chatterley’s Lover – D.H. Lawrence
To Kill A Mockingbird – Harper Lee
Atonement – Ian McEwan
The Pursuit Of Love – Nancy Mitford
Dissolution – CJ Sansom
The Reader – Bernhard Schlink
Perfume – Patrick Suskind
The Secret History – Donna Tartt
Anna Karenina – Leo Tolstoy (well am reading it in the background)
Breathing Lessons – Anne Tyler
The Night Watch – Sarah Waters

Hmmm… 25/1000 so far… must try harder! If you have missed this so far then have a look here http://www.guardian.co.uk/books/series/1000novels

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Filed under Agatha Christie, Bernhard Schink, Brett Easton Ellis, Daphne Du Maurier, Emily Bronte, Harper Lee, Ian Fleming, Ian McEwan, John Buchan, Leo Tolstoy, Nancy Mitford, Sarah Waters

As We Get To The End Of The Year…

So naturally I have started to go through what I think are the best books of the year which I will announce on the 30th of December, in the lead up and looking at other people blogs everyone is working out how many books they have read and by male or female authors like Simon Stuck in a Book. I liked this idea of as well as blogging your favourites of the year you do something a bit different too. However I thought of a few extra questions I would ask people, so here we go…

How many books read in 2008?
I think the one I am reading now will be the last one of the year as after that am reading Anna Karenina and don’t think could read that in less than three days and finish this one so “When Will There Be Good News” will be my 102nd book of the year beating last years 69.

How many fiction and non fiction?
In total 94 fictions and 8 non fictions.

Male/Female author ratio?

50 male and 52 female which really shocked me as I thought I had read much more books by women than men, odd.

Favourite book of 2008?
I have a pretty sneaky suspicion but you’ll have to wait until the end of the year!

Least favourite?
Midnight Cowboy by James Leo Herlihy was incredibly boring though I finished it, I didn’t finish Iain Pears ‘An Instance of the Fingerpost’. I also thought that ‘Son of a Witch’ by Gregory Maguire was poor; I don’t think anything he has done has been as good as ‘Wicked’ though. I refuse to mention Abby Lee. I was also underwhelmed by Emily Bronte sadly.

Any that you simply couldn’t finish and why?
I didn’t finish the aforementioned ‘An Instance of the Fingerpost’ just because after realising that I was going to have to read the same boring storyline four times from different people I gave up during the second. My Gran read this and struggled on through but said she wished she’d given up. The other was ‘Company of Liars’ by Karen Maitland which I really wanted to read but just wasn’t in the right mind frame for, maybe in 2009!

Oldest book read?
Emily Bronte’s ‘Wuthering Heights’ which I thought didn’t live up to expectations at all.

Newest?
I have read a fair few new ones of which isn’t out until January, so a few pre-publication.

Longest book title?
I read quite a lot of long titled books such as any of the M.C. Beaton ‘Agatha Raisin’ novels but it was Mary Ann Shaffer’s ‘The Guernsey Literary and Potato Peel Pie Society’ is officially the longest.

Longest and shortest books?
Nicola Barker’s ‘Darkmans’ was easily the longest; shortest I think is ‘The Tales of Beedle the Bard’ by J.K. Rowling.

How many books from the library?
None, which is shameful isn’t it!?

Any translated books?
‘The Reader’ by Bernhard Schlink, ‘Strangers’ by Taichi Yamada and ‘In The Miso Soup’ by Ryu Murakami.

Most read author of the year, and how many books by that author?
Stella Duffy, I managed to devour three of her books this year!

Any re-reads?
Not this year.

Favourite character of the year?
Julie Ashton the narrator of ‘The Guernsey Literary and Potato Peel Pie Society’ just completely and utterly stole my heart this year, either her or Atticus from Harper Lee’s ‘To Kill A Mockingbird’.

Which countries did you go to through the page in your year of reading?
England and America through the ages, Italy, China, Switzerland, Sweden, Germany, France, Africa, Afghanistan, Australia, New Zealand, Japan, The Netherlands, Guernsey, Mexico, post apocalyptic somewhere, and of course the land of Oz.

Which book wouldn’t you have read without someone’s specific recommendation?
‘The Reader’ by Bernhard Schlink.

Did you read any books you have always been meaning to read?
Five classics; Harper Lee’s ‘To Kill A Mockingbird’, Emily Bronte’s ‘Wuthering Heights’, Conrad’s ‘Heart of Darkness’, Henry James ‘Turn of the Screw’ and John Buchan’s ‘The Thirty-Nine Steps’.

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Filed under Bernhard Schink, Emily Bronte, Gregory Maguire, Harper Lee, Henry James, Iain Pears, John Buchan, M.C. Beaton, Mary Ann Shaffer, Nicola Barker, Ryu Murakami

Wuthering Heights – Emily Bronte

Oh I am a bit bereft after reading Emily Bronte’s Wuthering Heights, and not probably because of why you think. Sadly for me this was another overhyped classic that just didn’t really hit the spot for me. This year I decided that I would read a lot more of the classics that I have not yet had the pleasure of reading and along with ‘The Catcher in the Rye’ this just didn’t live up to the hype. I bought this a few years ago after having been to Howarth and seeing the ‘original’ Wuthering Heights and walking the moors of Heathcliff and Cathy’s tale, so I had the bug. I then got home and read something else, well lots of other things until now.

I fully expected this to be right up my alley. I was expecting a gothic epic tale of love that cannot be and the trials of the moors and the heart. What I got was a flighty vile leading lady in the shape of spoilt Cathy and a horrid mean man in the shape of Heathcliff. From the off I was completely perplexed, how would I care about these two vile characters and their tragic love story? In two words… I didn’t. The book completely fell flat with me, I didn’t like the characters I didn’t care what happened to them, that was that.

I am so saddened by the fact I didn’t like it I cannot tell you, I am praying when I read Jane Eyre (which now won’t be for a while even though I know it’s a different sister who wrote it, she has been tarnished by this one) in the future that I won’t be as disappointed.

It’s actually hard to say anything more, again I have probably just performed book reviewer suicide not liking this and will have no one reading my blog ever again but I can only write the truth. If this was someone’s first book I wouldn’t write a review but my blog is not going to stop Wuthering Heights flying of the shelves is it!?

No a very big disappointment for Mr Savidge with this book as I was hoping to be swept away and sadly I couldn’t wait for the whole thing to end.

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Filed under Emily Bronte, Penguin Classics, Review