Wuthering Heights

It’s a classic. Lots of people have read it. It’s right up there with Jane Eyre and anything by Jane Austin. I hadn’t read it before, and when I was looking through the bookshelves at home, I decided to pick it up and try it. Ever since I got home for my break, I’ve been reading a new book every couple of days, spending half my days reading and swallowing up page after page. I’m beginning to feel like a hermit, but then there’s something so nice in escaping completely and utterly into the worlds of other people.

So I decided to read Wuthering Heights. The copy I picked off our shelf was beautiful – a small, green, hardback copy in terrific condition and with that special type that seems to dominate older library books. I began reading, excited that I’d finally get to know this Mr. Heathcliff that everyone who talks about the book is always swooning about. I assumed he’d be something like Jane Eyre’s Mr. Rochester; gruff and unfriendly, but ultimately the possessor of a romantic and loving heart.

In this, as in everything else I’d heard about the book, I was sorely mistaken. Heathcliff is horrible. Why is he romanticized? True, the life he led wasn’t particularly a good one, but then his mean and vengeful spirit was entirely his own, in my opinion. The whole book was so vastly different from what I imagined it to be – I thought it would be more like a Jane Austin novel, but instead I found it to be disturbing, full of  menacing and frightening characters, violent and truly distressing.

This is the first time I truly felt that I’d judged a book by it’s cover. Must remember not to do that again in a hurry.

“I’m a genre too, you know,” squeaked the little book sadly.

So sue me. I like reading books that are written well but that are also readable. Books that I can enjoy reading without having to strain my brain enough that reading three pages makes me exhausted for the whole day. I like reading books with a good story- something exciting, interesting, philosophical and enthralling by turns.

You know what books fall under those catagories quite often? Fantasy books, sci-fi books. I wish people would stop looking down on books of those genres. Have you read Orson-Scott Card? Neil Gaiman? Terry Pratchett and China Meville? If you haven’t then how the hell can you make a polite but mocking face when you look at the book I’m reading?!

I loved Jane Eyre, I loved Pride and Prejudice. I enjoyed A Clockwork Orange immensely. But those classics are still not as enjoyable, fun or  wonderful to me as books such as American Gods or Un-Lun-Dun or Ender’s Game.

So please, World-At-Large, stop looking at fantasy and sci-fi as non-genres.