28 February 2011

Battle Hymn of the Tiger Mother by Amy Chua

The first time I read the Wall Street Journal excerpt from her book (which can be found here), my eyes popped out. Here's a Chinese mother (in Chua's words, not mine) brazenly flaunting her own perverse child-rearing techniques, something that most other Chinese mothers would rather keep under lock and key. It was like reading a juicy tabloid magazine without having to actually stoop to reading a juicy tabloid magazine! My curiosity piqued, I read and reread the article about 5 times, then googled her name, and lo and behold - there were about a million commentaries about the article and the book itself.

So the kindle edition of the book just "one-click" away, I downloaded it and did not stop reading until I finished it. Took about one half of a lazy Saturday.

12 February 2011

No small diversion

I've recently picked up knitting again, and it has seriously queued my reading. Which explains (sort of) the 3 month gap between my last two posts.

Thanks to knitting I am also now supporting a yarn addiction. I have been purchasing yarn from online stores, notably this lovely one, like a crazed turkey. I'm going to have to buy an extra large basket just to store all my yarn.

So I thought I'd keep track of my projects, to hold myself accountable for my yarn stash.

Wuthering Heights by Emily Bronte

Book Cover by Fritz Eichenberg
1943 Random House publication of
Wuthering Heights
Having read Wuthering Heights over 10 years ago, I recently felt a desperate need to return to it after listening to the song of the same title by Josh Pyke, which is actually a cover of Kate Bush's 1978 original. Josh Pyke's rendition is a fresh and very different take on the song, yet equally haunting. The name "Heathcliff" circling my head for days, I decided to try and find my old copy of the book - no luck - and ended up buying a penguin classics copy for $4.95. Sometimes the price you pay just isn't commensurate with the value of what you buy, and it's nice when it's this way around.

Of all the things I can say about Wuthering Heights, and believe me, I have been struggling for weeks if not months to put some structure to my thoughts, I would first of all say is a brilliantly constructed novel. The textual integrity is so great it grips you from the very beginning just like those ghostly hands on Lockwood's window, and demands to be re-read the moment you finish. Lockwood's confusion is the reader's confusion regarding the identities of the various Earnshaws, Lintons and Heathcliffs and the opening scene at Wuthering Heights is not fully understood until close to the end of the novel - which brings us full circle (but of course). Lockwood's gleeful voyeurism becomes ours too as we delve into the dark and murky depths spanning Thrushcross Grange and Wuthering Heights, with Nelly Dean as our competent tour guide. The wild and unforgiving landscape within which the novel is set permeates our every sense, because its effects are not so much described per se, as manifested in the characters. Reading becomes an almost physical experience. It's like going on one of those haunted house theme park rides, without ever having to leave your couch.