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Don't be afraid of Virginia Woolf
on 11 January 2012
Right, there are easier authors to read than Virginia Woolf. I remember at school, because I thought it would be a good book to be seen reading, struggling with the first three or four pages of The Waves before putting it aside to come back to later. And even this fine compilation is unlikely to tempt me to take up that struggle again. But there is much more to be enjoyed in her prolific output. To the Lighthouse, densely textured though it is, presents a fine picture of her childhood summers spent at St Ives in Cornwall and has a sympathetic portrait of her mother. Flush and Orlando are much easier than some of the more abstruse novels. In addition you can find here the literary criticism of the two volumes of The Common Reader, the keenly observed portraits of London in her London Essays and her early feminism expressed in A Room of One's Own. If you have any interest in Virginia Woolf or in literature of the first half of the 20th century then collecting this for your Kindle is really a no brainer. A great collection, easy to find your way around and hours of enjoyment browsing in what is, even if the content is sometimes obscure, some of the most beautifully written prose of the last hundred years.
A recent update to this collection, available free to original buyers, has added A Writer's Diary, a wonderful selection from Virginia Woolf's diaries made by her husband after her death. He selected those passages dealing with literature and authors, including her comments on her own works as they were written. It is a fascinating read and includes such things as an account of her meeting with Thomas Hardy in 1926.