For the last week I have been losing sleep and the only thing that knocks me out is a specific novel: Wuthering Heights by Emily Brontë. It’s like it is calling me from the shelf:
Wake up … wake up—read me …
(At least it wasn’t calling: “Let me in! Let me in!”)
Or rather quotes from the story keep surfacing and I can’t sleep with the story playing in my head. Just watching the movie wasn’t enough (because, let’s face it, the movies are completely different from the novel). So, last night, I gave in and started to read it for the FOURTH time. It’s the most I’ve read any book because, hey, I have a lot of unread books on my shelves. Finally I slept through the night for a full 8 hours after reading a few chapters. Before that it was 4 to 6 every morning, tossing and turning, blaming it on the storm or my cat or my job hunt.
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Last weekend when I was out celebrating the onset of summer, I stopped into one of my favorite stores on the Ave. It’s called Studio 213 LLC and they have about 8 or more rooms filled with different artist’s or collector’s items. The last room at the end of the long hallway is filled with old books and to my surprise I found a 1943 Random House edition of Wuthering Heights. I’ve been in this room several times (of course), but this time the title jumped out at me and I started squealing as I pulled it from the shelf. A stomachache arrived and everything. (Due to an adrenaline rush or maybe just pure excitement, these stomach issues happen every time I enter a bookstore. You can imagine my bathroom breaks when I worked in one.)
Not only was I thrilled to have finally gotten my hands on an old edition of the greatest novel/love story of all time (in my opinion), but this particular edition had my favorite cover art. It is an image that I’d discovered during an obsessive Google search shortly after I’d returned from my trip to England where I’d visited the Yorkshire Moors and Brontë Country. Wuthering Heights was the first of the 5 novels required for the English Department’s Study Abroad Program at UW-Oshkosh and I chose to read it first. My hands were shaking by the end of it and the addiction was official. But I read it again when I got home, just in case.
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If you live in the Fox Cities, check out Studio; if not for the old books then for the artwork. Who knows what treasures may be waiting for you!
Also, if you haven’t read Wuthering Heights, please do so. It may take time to get used to the old English language if you don’t regularly read it, but it’s worth it. You may not even know why you want to read it again after your first try, but I can guarantee you will pick it back up again to see what you missed.
If you can’t handle reading a book without watching the movie or vise versa, I would recommend PBS Masterpiece Classic’s 2009 version for emotional impact (and my personal favorite Heathcliff played by the dreamy Tom Hardy) and the 1992 version (starring the wonderful Ralph Fiennes as Healthcliff) for a closer adaptation to the novel, though both still stray quite a bit. I always heard that the 1930 movie version was the best, but I haven’t gotten my hands on a copy yet, nor have I seen the 2011 version, which starred the first black Heathcliff.
Now I have to ask: Is there anyone else who is haunted by their favorite stories in the middle of the night? Do you ever give in and read until you’re able to fall back asleep? Please share and help me to feel less of a crazy person!