Following the announcement of the Classic club’s Women’s Classic literature challenge – I declared my intention of reading more by and about Virginia Woolf. I also said it would be nice to have company – a read-a-long or something. Naturally a couple of people gave me a gentle nudge towards hosting one; it seems others might want to read VW as part of a group read too. So one reason for this post is to gauge what interest there would be from both classic clubbers and non-classic clubbers. Earlier this year I read Orlando and The Voyage Out – thoroughly enjoying both, and I have been keen to get reading more Woolf.
I have just (a couple of hours ago) finished A Room of One’s Own – review will be in a few days – busyness permitting. I suppose that has whetted my appetite for more. Last night I attended a lovely (if very small) feminist book group, and I took along To the Lighthouse to pitch for a future read – and good news we shall be reading it in January. To the Lighthouse – although not Virginia Woolf’s first novel does seem a good place to start – the title suggestive to me of a beacon – leading me toward other works. Currently my classic club list has To the Lighthouse, Night and Day and Flush by Virginia Woolf on it – I am trying to resist further tinkering with the list – but I think my VW reading will go beyond just those three.
This is where I need your help – especially those of you who know VW’s work better than I do. Firstly how best to organise a read-along or Woolf-a-long or whatever we might call it? I personally don’t much like the “ week 1 read chapter 1 – 6, week 2 read chapters 7 – 13” approach simply because it just isn’t the way I like to read. I also think that Virginia’s Woolf’s novels aren’t really large enough to warrant that kind of read-along. The other thing is that not everyone may want to read the same things. Some people have read lots of Woolf already, others not much. So I’ve come up with a broad outline of a possible Woolf-a-long that might be flexible enough for some – or too flexible to work, I can’t decide. Please let me know what you think – and of course if you’d be interested in joining. Another thing is what editions of short stories and essays would be best to go for? The collections of stories published in Woolf’s lifetime don’t appear to be the same as the collections readily available now. I am drawn to the OUP or penguin editions preferring the idea of a relatively small volume rather than a huge complete shorter fiction edition which I know is available especially for ereaders.
I thought I would start in January, because (selfishly) I have lots of books in the queue for the next two months.
So how about six books over twelve months? Too ambitious or about right?
January/February – a famous Woolf novel – To the Lighthouse or Mrs Dalloway
March/April – beginnings and endings – The Voyage Out/ Night and Day (Woolf’s first and second novels – or Between the Acts – Woolf’s final novel
May/June – shorter fiction – any collection of short stories
July/August – biographies – either Flush, Orlando or a biography of Virginia Woolf
September/ October nonfiction – either an essay collection or Virginia Woolf’s diaries
November/December – another novel – The Years/ Jacobs Room/ The Waves
So please let me know what you think. This is not a sign up post – just wondered what the interest might be – and whether people think this would work. Virginia Woolf aficionados – which short story collections, essay collections would you recommend?