A few months back, a friend and I decided that it might be fun to gather other avid readers-n'-writers of our acquaintance to re-read literary classics and discuss them. We rather randomly chose Wuthering Heights as the inaugural volume. At the time, I thought I had read it back in high school or college, but it turned out that I had never read it before. Wow, what a dysfunctional bunch of characters!
I'd actually gotten a pretty good Wuthering Heights primer in the form of Jasper Fforde's "Thursday Next" series. If you're at all a fan of literature and have not yet read this series, I recommend that you run out and get the first book, The Eyre Affair. The books are just about everything an English major could hope for in reading entertainment, with only the occasional misstep (such as a character named "Jack Schitt," which is probably only funny if you're about nine years old).
We had a delightful time discussing the horrendous personalities of most of the characters in Wuthering Heights, speculating about potential character relationships that were not stated outright in the text, and talking about the fact that the novel was considered "lurid and shocking" in its day (according to the jacket blurb on my copy). We also had fun comparing book covers, as no two of us ended up with the same edition. My favorite was a Wal-Mart paperback with "2/$1.00" printed permanently on the cover under an illustration depicting Lockwood struggling with the ghost of the elder Catherine. The back cover copy was written to be as sensational as possible, and seemed to be trying to give the impression that the book was contemporary.
When the time came to choose the next book we should read, we quickly reached the consensus that "evil sluts" would be an excellent theme for all our selections, especially after Wuthering Heights had kicked off the topic so effectively. The decision to make Lady Chatterley's Lover the next book we would read followed quickly. Only one of us had read it before, so we figured it would be a perfect choice: yet another scandalous work, but written forty years later than our previous selection.
We won't be meeting until early May, but I went ahead and purchased Lady Chatterley's Lover yesterday, since I was already at the bookstore buying some gifts. I actually didn't quite finish Wuthering Heights before yesterday's gathering, so I need to give myself a headstart for next time.
Another fun thing that will be part of our next meeting is a short story writing assignment. It seems there's a shop in town that sells nothing but really expensive socks, and our friend who lives nearby swears she's never seen anyone go in to buy something. Our task is to write a 1-2 page story about how the sock store is a front for some other nefarious or mysterious activity. I'm looking forward to trying to decide what it might be!