Setting Literature Free

Posted on 29th August 2014

Whilst heading this way I thought I’d grab two stops for one. First I came to Thornton, and from there I headed on just six more miles to Haworth; two places linked by a common family and a common room. In the early 1800s, all four of the Bronte siblings, Charlotte, Emily, Anne and their brother Bramwell, were born in the little dining room of 74 Market Street in Thornton and, to this day, the house can be visited by appointment. However, this is not where the Brontes wrote their books. The pages that are now so widely read were all written in another dining room, at the parsonage in Haworth where the family moved and where, in the evenings, the sisters would circle the dining room table, discussing their literary projects.

Though I love literature, I have always struggled with most nineteenth century literature. I do have a soft spot for Lewis Carroll and ‘Alice’. I treat Kipling as an exception since his publications straggled the turn of the twentieth century, and I appreciate Dickens’ ‘Great Expectations’, but have little time for any of his other books. However, when it comes to the Brontes I feel particularly conflicted. Emily’s ‘Wuthering Heights’ is my favourite of all nineteenth century novels and, perhaps, is a contender for my favourite book of all time. But I have to admit to neglecting all other products of the Bronte family pen out of sheer disregard for the nineteenth century. I have not read a single other one. That is certainly something I shall have to rectify.

In the meantime, I have to admit to being a tad disappointed that so few people have sponsored my journey so far. In an effort to improve this situation I have decided to add a new dimension to this project. You may have heard of ‘Book Crossing’. It is a project by which people register a book on the Book Crossing website and then leave the book in a public place for a passer by to pick up and read before leaving the book elsewhere for another reader to discover. The readers can then log on to the website, type in the registration code for the book they found, and say where they found it. Over time, the books travel all around the globe, passing through the hands of all kinds of different people.

Well, since I am undertaking this journey to raise money for prison arts and writing, and many of the places I will be stopping at are related to literature, it seems only right that I draw Book Crossing into my little project. I may be stuck in jail and forced to make my journey virtually, using the prison gym, but the books I write about can travel out into the world on my behalf. So, starting with Wuthering Heights by Emily Bronte, I will be registering a copy of every book I write about with Book Crossing and releasing them into the world. And each time I do, I will publish a link to the web page for the book within my post and updating you with tales of the copies that make it furthest. So why not keep track of where my favourite books get to? Who knows, they just might come your way!

You can follow the trail of Wuthering Heights at Book Crossing, and while you’re following the progress of me and my books, please don’t forget, this is for charity. Your sponsorship is greatly appreciated.

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