I read some pretty awesome books that were published this year (list to come once I finish The Goldfinch — ha!), but I also read a lot of fantastic backlist books, too. I love dipping into older titles, whether they’re classics that I want to read as part of my literary self-education or more recent books that people are still talking about years after their publication. It’s actually one of my resolutions for 2014 to accept fewer books for review and take more time to read older titles; they’re really piling up on my bookshelf!
After spending five years deathly afraid of Virginia Woolf after being forced to read To the Lighthouse in high school, I gave the author another shot earlier this year. It turned out that I really loved Mrs. Dalloway, and I was eager to try more of Woolf’s writing. After talking to one of my favorite bloggers, the lovely Elena at Books and Reviews, who shares my interest in feminism, we decided to read and discuss A Room of One’s Own together.
A Room of One’s Own was originally written as lectures Woolf was asked to give on the topic of “women and fiction.” She spends a good portion of the book considering what that even means, describing her thought process as she considers how to write her speech. I actually found this part pretty dull; although I loved Woolf’s stream of conscious style in Mrs. Dalloway, I found it difficult to interest myself in her first-person account of walking around a university and going to a dinner party and sitting in a library. Elena found it slow to start, too, but I’m sure many other readers would enjoy this part. Continue reading →
Fiction: Modern classic
Paperback, 194 pages
Who’s Afraid of Virginia Woolf? Not me, anymore! I really struggled with To the Lighthouse when I had to read it in high school, so I was a bit nervous when I drew Mrs. Dalloway for the Classics Spin. I wondered, will it be impenetrable and confusing? Was I simply too young to appreciate Woolf before? Have my tastes matured to a point that I will understand and enjoy this book? I shouldn’t have worried. I LOVED this book, and I am so glad I challenged myself to give Woolf another shot. Continue reading →
“Quiet descended on her, calm, content, as her needle, drawing the silk smoothly to its gentle pause, collected the green folds together and attached them, very lightly to the belt. So on a summer’s day waves collect, overbalance, and fall; collect and fall; and the whole world seems to be saying “that is all” more and more ponderously, until even the heart in the body which lies in the sun on the beach says too, That is all. Fear no more, says the heart. Fear no more, says the heart, committing its burden to some sea, which sighs collectively for all sorrows, and renews, begins, collects, lets fall. And the body alone listens to the passing bee; the wave breaking; the dog barking, far away barking and barking.”
I posted my list of 20 book picks for The Classics Spin a week ago, and today The Classics Club announced the winning number: 14! Number 14 on my list is Mrs. Dalloway by Virginia Woolf, one of the books I am most intimidated by and also the most curious about.