Tag Archives: Wuthering Heights

Death of a Wasp

Greetings, Salutations and All That Jazz,

Yesterday our trio were run out of town by a pail of wasps.

It began as a pleasant morning: I, sitting with my coffee, listening to the general hubbub of life bubbling around me, when a wasp casually flew passed my nose and landed on the kitchen table. Somehow, the little bugger had managed to find a weakness in our fortified canvas home and was buzzing around like he belonged there.

Being nothing less than a lady, I offered our uninvited winged guest a spot of tea to which he politely accepted. The creature, approximately 3cm long, introduced himself as Scout, self-named after his favourite character from the famous “To Kill a Mockingbird” (wasps name themselves you see). Having read and adored the Harper Lee classic, I falsely assumed a bond had been forged between us as our literature chatter continued. We agreed on many things – the role of ‘environment’ as a character in literature, the wonderful Lewis Carroll, how “The Finkler Question” sucks, and we both found “Anna Karenina” a beautiful, disturbing piece of art. It was lovely.

The conversation took a turn when Emily Bronte’s “Wuthering Heights” was raised. I argued that just because Kate Bush thinks it a romance, doesn’t make it so. A fan of both Kate Bush’s interpretation and Wuthering Heights as a romance, Scout took offense. Things continued to deteriorate: Scout declared with a rather pompous tone, the Harry Potter series a sham- a jigsaw puzzle compiled of plots and characters of the great classics. He may have won points with husband H. but I was dismayed, and somewhat murderous at the slander of the world and characters I hold dear. Then he had the nerve to blatantly dismiss Sir Arthur Conan Doyle and labeled Virginia Woolf’s work as too “floaty” or “airy” -I would have thought that for an airborne creature, ‘floaty’ and ‘airy’ would be desirous?!! (Scout did not agree, saying I had made a sweeping generalisation about his species and should be more open minded). I am now, more than ever, convinced that I will love Virginia Woolf.

Scout was foe, not friend. He turned on me, gearing up to use his sting once I mentioned my love for the espionage-thriller genre. Fortunately for me, H. ever the faithful protector, stepped in and without remorse, whacked the parasite with an effectively lethal shoe. In his last writhing moments, Scout turned, spat a few words of contempt as I lowered my head and whispered ever so gently, ever so soothingly, that Sherlock Holmes is one of the greatest and most fascinating characters ever written, and, by the way, did he realise that he named himself ‘Scout’ after a girl? My triumph secured, Scout’s eyes widened with fear and recognition of the humiliating error! The creature’s body jolted, stiffened and finally slumped, dead. Dead on our kitchen table.

My maddened (and frightening, no doubt) shrieks of victory were dampened by the ominous buzz of a hundred vengeful wasps heading our way. Our trio packed up, left Scout’s body for his comrades, and hauled ass out of our sanctuary, on to another.

So, the moral of this story, Stephen King, is this: wasps are not to be trusted, even if they are named after renowned literary characters.

Your Reader,

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3 R’s of Reading: The Romance, The Revelry, The Reflection

Greetings, Salutations and All That Jazz!

I’ve been contemplating things that start with the letter R, and have decided that there are 3 R’s to reading a book: The Romance, The Revelry, The Reflection.

The Romance

As with any relationship, your affair with literature begins with wooing. Novels may not send you flowers or take you out to dinner  (though they will write letters – hehe), they do have an inexplicable power to charm and woo us readers into thinking we need them. An example of this occured a few months ago. I was just minding my own business, watching the Idiot Box, when up pops an ad for the TV Miniseries of “Pillars of the Earth” by Ken Follett. Whilst I knew very little of the story, the ad aroused an intense curiosity to read the book. It didn’t even matter what the book was about, the idea lodged itself so resolutely under my skin. I then spent the next couple of days hunting it down, only resting once it had been acquired (never mind that it just gathered dust on my bedside table for a couple of months before I began to read it!)

The Revelry

The Revelry is pretty straightforward: you read the book. Nothing too difficult, there. Obviously, people’s experience of reading may differ – depending on the book, the reason for reading it, etc. I’ve termed this stage The Revelry, because reading is a pleasure, a privilege and I revel in it. Sometimes, if I really, I mean really love a book, I start to resemble a crackhead who will do anything for just one more chapter, just one more page -it’s not a pretty sight 🙂

The Reflection

Stage 3. You’ve been wined, dined; read your selected book (or did it select you?) now it’s finished and you think it’s all over. But, is it? Hells no! Now comes an often overlooked, but vital stage: The Reflection.

The great thing about The Reflection is that it doesn’t matter whether you liked the book or not, this is the stage where, with a little time and space, you reflect on the piece as a whole. The themes, plot, characters, your emotional response to particular aspects of the story are given time to perculate, simmering in the back of your mind while you subconsciously compare, analyse and form a richer, considered opinion. The Reflection is unbound by time, sometimes being days, weeks, months. It’s an enjoyable stage – capable of overshadowing The Revelry. You may have absolutely LOVED reading a book, it may have grabbed you by the balls and not let go (like perhaps, certain YA fiction that has be popular recently) but reflecting on the content, themes, characters, you may find that actually – you don’t like the characters, you don’t like the message and you don’t know how on earth you woke up wearing this Team Edward T-shirt! (You know, hypothetically). You may have the opposite experience, such as I did with Emily Bronte’s Wuthering Heights. I didn’t really enjoy the book while I was reading it, I didn’t trust the narrator, I didnt like most of the characters and there were times I just didn’t want to pick it up. However, The Reflection changed my whole opinion of it. I loved the novel as a complete, finished work. It is now one of my favourite books. (More to come on Wuthering Heights – watch this space!)

So there you have it, Mr Stephen King.  I’ve been pondering things begining with the little R, The Romance, The Revelry, The Reflection:  My 3 R’s to Reading. Together they form a harmonious, interesting reading experience.

Your Reader

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