Kaitlin Throgmorton – Guest Post
I am very excited to feature a post by Kaitlin Throgmorton today. I believe that Kaitlin is one of the first bookish people I came across on Instagram and I remember wishing that I could find someone like her near where I live. Her passion and creativity are evident right away and she writes about books beautifully and engagingly. I love seeing her latest reads, from British classics to the latest fantasies, not to mention getting peeks into whatever her latest fun adventure is. You can get to know this lovely soul more by reading her answers to my questions below her book stack and hopefully taking the time to check out her Instagram feed and blog. Kaitlin, thank you so much for your wonderful contribution to Imaginary Book Stack!
“Thanks to Nelly’s narration, Wuthering Heights has long been one of my favorite novels, despite its darkly twisted subject matter and deeply flawed characters.”
Nelly’s Book Stack
Nelly Dean narrates the majority of Wuthering Heights by Emily Brontë, and I find her to be an underappreciated character, even though her storytelling shapes our perspective on all the characters, whether reliably or not. I think she first charmed me with this line: “I have read more than you would fancy, Mr. Lockwood. You could not open a book in this library that I have not looked into, and got something out of.”
To critics, Nelly is an archetypal unreliable narrator, but her voice swayed me as a young teen, and continues to do so today. When I first read Wuthering Heights, I realized how strongly tone could affect my opinions on characters, and my experience of the story as a whole. One of my favorite things about Wuthering Heights is that the storytelling itself is so distinctive as to almost have a role of its own within the tale—and it is Nelly who evokes that powerful effect.
Thanks to Nelly’s narration, Wuthering Heights has long been one of my favorite novels, despite its darkly twisted subject matter and deeply flawed characters.
P.S. A big thank-you to Erin for giving me the chance to see this novel in a new light by looking at it through Nelly’s eyes—and of course, through Nelly’s book stack. It was an incredibly fun and fulfilling way to revisit a favorite classic.
● Romeo and Juliet
Ill-fated love, families who can’t stand each other, and the follies of youth? “These violent delights have violent ends,” indeed. I imagine Nelly would ‘get something out of’ the Bard’s tragedies, including an eerie sense of familiarity.
● East of Eden
Full heartbreak and humanity, Steinbeck’s masterpiece closely examines why we hurt those we love, and would likely resonate with Nelly, maybe even provide some catharsis on the many bleak scenes she witnessed. And maybe, like me, she would think back to Wuthering Heights when she read these words in its pages: “There was real fear mixed up in his love, and the precipitate from the mixing of these two is cruelty.”
● Six of Crows and Crooked Kingdom
While reading this fast-paced duology last year, I wondered if Bardugo might be a Brontë fan. Kaz especially parallels Heathcliff with his terrible childhood, lack of moral compass, fierce passion for those he cares about, and terrifying vengeance for those who’ve wronged him. I’d venture a guess that Nelly’s soft spot for Heathcliff would translate to a soft spot for Kaz and the rest of the gang.
An unreliable narrator, a series of events that leaves you unsure whose side to take, a suspenseful tale set in large mansion in a dark wood, and even a gossipy housekeeper. Nelly would finish du Maurier’s timeless romantic thriller in one sitting, I’m sure of it.
● And I Darken
If you raised Catherine and Heathcliff and didn’t loathe them, then certainly you could take a shine to Lada of And I Darken, and her savage fire, as well as her occasional disregard for her nurse, which Nelly would be only too familiar with.
● We Have Always Lived in the Castle
This dark and bizarre tale would be perfect reading material for a stormy night on the moors, and might have Nelly thanking her lucky stars that at least the Earnshaws and Lintons didn’t resort to outright murder, at least not directly.
● The Woman in White
One-sided narrators, check. A gloomy setting, check. An unhappy marriage and a doomed former lover, check and check. Dreams, visions, ghosts—check, check, check. If Nelly could spin a tale like Wuthering Heights, she’d definitely appreciate the suspense and drama of The Woman in White.
* At the bottom of the page there is a button linking you to Powell’s Independent Bookstore. Please consider supporting the blog by ordering your books through that link. It is deeply appreciated!
A Little More About Kaitlin
Please tell us a little about yourself and your reading life
In the unpredictable sea of life, books are my anchor. Precious few activities can follow you from infancy into the golden years, but reading can be a lifelong pursuit, and I think that makes it special. Reading is both a constant presence, and an evolving experience for me—a habit I’ve kept for years, while simultaneously observing significant changes to myself and my reading through the practice of that habit. I love that paradox, that books can be exactly what you need them to be, both the same as they’ve always been and yet different somehow, from season to season. Sometimes books are a comfort, sometimes an escape, sometimes transformative, sometimes challenging. No matter how reading is currently shaping my life from moment to moment, I know it’s always there for me.
What are you reading right now?
It’s always fun to ask the multireader what she’s reading *right* now. I’m usually reading three or more books at once. But I can’t seem to put Wilkie Collins’ The Woman in White down at the moment. When I’m not reading it, I’m scheming to get out of whatever I’m doing so I can read it instead. I’m also really enjoying V.E. Schwab’s A Darker Shade of Magic, and looking forward to devouring the entire trilogy this summer.
What’s a book you wish everyone would read?
Till We Have Faces by C.S. Lewis. Even Lewis fans sometimes don’t know about it, but he considered it his masterpiece, and I have to agree. If you like mythology, strong women, and family drama, read it! It’s high up on my list of favorites.