I have hit this stage in my life when I am craving reading the classics. I look at all these stories I haven’t read and feel like I am now ready. Because of this, I selected Wuthering Heights as my contribution to our book club list.
I have to admit that there is something about some of the classics that I just can’t get into. I am an avid reader but classics just stump me sometimes. Maybe that’s true for all books but I am more particular about the modern books I pick up. Being a part of a book club is a very good thing. It challenges me to read things I wouldn’t normally read. It also encourages me to find ways to get through a book so I can be a part of the discussion.
One resource I use for many books (they have classics and modern books but not every book) is Sparknotes. I really couldn’t do Wuthering Heights. I tried (more on that in a minute) but I knew it just wasn’t going to happen. So I turned to Sparknotes. This is an online version of Cliff Notes for those from the later generations (back when you actually had to go to the library or store to get the scoop on your reading assignment).
I was able to read through the story of Wuthering Heights and read analysis of the chapters. While I didn’t love the words of the story, I loved the analysis. I had a better understanding of why the story meant anything to anyone. I had a better appreciation of the story and I was able to truly contribute to the discussion.
I’ve used it before to just get through a book to see if I would like reading the rest of it. I’ve had luck with some books on the site and no luck with others. It’s a resource that has helped me but it’s not a solution to my, sometimes, lazy reading.
Since this is about the classics, there are two other sites that only deal with classic stories. In fact, they only deal with stories in the public domain.
Project Gutenburg – this is a site where you can read (for free) books in the public domain. I often add them to my Nook without a problem. (They say they have kindle versions but since I don’t have a kindle I have no experience with this.) The books are scanned copies of professionally published books (for the most part) so they are well done. They do ask for donations if you want more books added to the collection.
LibriVox is the audio version of Project Gutenburg. This is a site where you can download readings of books in the public domain. All of the readings are done by volunteers. Some are better than others.
I started reading Wuthering Heights using my Project Gutenburg version. I made it a couple chapters when I realized this was not going to work for me. I could not get into the story. So I went to LibriVox and downloaded a reading. The first version was a singular woman who read very slow. It was agonizing because I was already not connecting to the story. I found a dramatic version that was fun. I made it almost halfway through the story before I needed to speed it up even further. What I loved about the dramatic reading is that there were voices for each character but they were still reading the book. It was not a radio play version.
I realized I hadn’t shared these with you guys. These resources have expanded my access to reading and I hope will expand yours.