Monday, 27 October 2014

The Reading List: Woolf


In the last couple of months I seem to have developed quite the obsession with Virginia Woolf. It's not a particularly new obsession - I explained more about it here - but it always used to be a quiet buzz in the background, whereas now it's pretty hard to ignore. The most recent trigger for my fervent Woolf-loving was Alexandra Harris's excellent biography-cum-introduction, Virginia Woolf. It was fascinating learning more about Woolf as a person and her mindset during the writing of each new work.

Almost immediately upon finishing Harris's book I started perusing my shelves looking for my next Woolf-related read. As there is so much choice, I have limited myself to the following list as a starting point:

Virginia Woolf by Hermione Lee
I've owned this for years, but have always been too intimidated by its size. Now I have Harris's introduction under my belt, I think this will be an easier challenge.

The Voyage Out 
I started this in sixth form and think it is about time I finished it.

The Common Reader
I've read the odd essay from this collection and I'm really eager to read it in its entirety.

Another one that has been languishing on my shelves for an abominably long time. Harris's descriptions of Woolf's writing process for this novel make it sound like a particularly lively read.

A Writer's Diary
Susan Hill made me buy this collection of Woolf's thoughts on being a writer.  I think it will be fascinating to have a behind the scenes look at her thoughts.

Eventually I would like to be able to get through Woolf's entire body of work, though I think it may take some time (she is an author who often gives me a book hangover).

How about you, are you a fan of Woolf? 



  1. I always wanted to try reading some Woolf. I have not got around to it in the 12 years since I first heard of her though! Since I got into reading book blogs I have heard (well, read I guess) a lot of people saying that they either dislike her or that her books are really difficult, which has put me off somewhat. What would you recommend as a good book to start with?

  2. I haven't loved the Woolf I've read so far - I don't remember much about Mrs Dalloway (though that was a loooong time ago, I was only about 13) and I wasn't a fan of Between the Acts, but I REALLY want to read Orlando. Something about that one just really appeals. Read on, sweet Ellie, so you can recommend where I should go next on my Woolf journey!

  3. She definitely is a marmite author! I do find I have to be in the right mood for her, which is why I'm going to embrace it whilst it is here. Orlando just sounds fun, I think that's why it appeals to me. And so full of feminist goodness, too. I will read and I will most certainly recommend :D

  4. I really used to dislike her, but I find I love her more as I grow/experience more of life. I'd probably start with To the Lighthouse, and then maybe move onto some non-fiction like A Room of One's Own. Both are my favourites. Good luck if you do decide to give her a go :)

  5. Ah I really meant to reply to this but didn't. But thank you for the recommendation! I shall let you know how it goes if I do try her (and hopefully I will!)

  6. You're welcome, and please do!


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