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The Orange Spine

By Mr Grumpy - Sat 5th Oct 2013

Despite being a student of English Literature, I can still recall one of the best pieces of advice that I was ever given.

"Never read a book with an orange spine", I was told by a decrepit relative at some point during my adolescence.

And like most adolescents, I decided that I knew best, to ignore the advise, and instead mock the old-timer for smelling of wee.

The wannabee literature snob in me read 'The Classics' for quite a few months after I stopped 'Stude-ing', but dried up once I started working for a living.

However, on moving to Spain (and not having English TV) the snob in me came rising to the surface and I foolishly bought a collection of Orange-Spined Penguin Classics to read, telling myself that English Telly was an indulgence that I really didn't need, and instead I would spend what little free time I had in more improving pastimes.

Of course I had my all-time favourites, but instead I decided that my first read as a newly expated expat would be a 'Classic' that I had never read before. And as I Yorkshireman that used to live in a cottage within a stone's throw of the community at the center of the setting for the novel, there was only one logical choice : Wuthering Heights.

Let's just say this : That was 3 days of my life that were completely wasted.

Ok, so it pains me to say that I had no comprehension of the Yorkshire dialect, and that I had absolutely no idea why it took 400 plus pages to describe a set of circumstances that I could probably have summed up on the back of an envelope.

But after spending a wet weekend reading the so-cold novel, two things became very evident to me :

The first was that there is value to listening to the ramblings of ancient relatives at times.

The second is never to underestimate the importance of getting English Telly when moving to a foreign country.

Comment on this Blog

Lol ! - I read Wuthering Heights as part of my English Lit A-Level years ago. I didn't understand it then, and I don't understand it now !
Tyler - Sat, 12th Oct 2013
Try! Try to read our classic "picaresque" novels of our Golden Spanish Centuries: "Lazarillo de Tormes", "La Lozana Andaluza", "La vida del Buscón llamado don Pablos", "Guzmán de Alfarache" and so on. After that, read nowadays newspapers: "Bárcenas", andalusian EREs, pedestrian airports... We, spaniards, revere and mimic our grand- grand- grandparents.
Sareb El Malo - Tue, 8th Oct 2013