This is one of those books that everyone is supposed to have read, a literary classic, blah blah blah. It's been on my to-read list for ages, but I finally got around to reading it because it was on my sister's list as well.
Because it was written in the mid-1800s, I thought for sure I would have difficulty with the language, but it was actually a fairly smooth read. Several of the characters speak a North England dialect, but luckily, this edition of the book had a section of notes at the back that translated most of those characters' dialogue. And there were a number of places where I had to rely on the context to figure out a line or two.
The toughest part of reading this, really, was figuring out why anyone would give a damn about Heathcliff. He is one of the most unpleasant, thoroughly horrible literary characters I've ever met. A terrible, mean-spirited ogre from childhood straight up (almost) until death. His and Catherine's love is held up as one of the great loves in literature, right up there with Romeo and Juliet, but the feeling I got was less star-crossed lovers, and more two thoroughly unlikable egomaniacs that deserved no better than each other. Bill Sykes and Nancy from Oliver Twist were a more sympathetic couple.
Really, there were so few likable characters here; even the sometime-narrator Ellen made me angry. The only one I had even a little sympathy for was Hareton Earnshaw.
That brings up my other main difficulty with reading this book: the inter-marriage of the Earnshaws, the Lintons, and the Heathcliffs. I honestly could have used a scorecard or chart to remember who was married to whom, and how they were all related. And those relationships are really the crux of the whole story - the relationships, inheritances, and how Heathcliff manipulates them.