So as I started working in full force this month, this should really just be called A Month in Book. Fortunately, it was a good one!
Selected Diaries by Virginia Woolf (2008, Vintage)
Virginia Woolf is an author who has a really special place in my heart. My GCSE English teacher was a massive fan of Woolf, and gave her books to me to read. Mrs Dalloway is a firm favourite, A Room of One’s Own is an absolute must-read if you are interested in feminism and the wonderful book & film The Hours wouldn’t exist without her.
Sadly, Woolf is probably best known for the fact that her life ended early when she committed suicide, and these selected diaries chart her life from 1912 until her death in 1941. Although this is a long period of time, there are frequent gaps in the diary due either to ill health, general business (her and husband Leonard ran a printing press in addition to both writing) or travelling abroad.
Woolf’s descriptions of her day-to-day life are really interesting, and as she was a member of the famous Bloomsbury set she seemed to hang out with all the movers and shakers of the time period. These included the authors EM Forster and Aldous Huxley, and the influential economist Maynard Keynes. She even has tea and attends the funeral of classic author Thomas Hardy, who I assumed had been dead a long time.
Whilst there were times when I felt disappointed with Woolf (especially in terms of her attitude towards women of lower class), it is worth remembering that we’ve all put problematic stuff in our diaries. This book offers a really interesting insight into her life and writing process (it’s unbelievable how quickly she wrote such brilliant works) and I’m really interested to get my hands on her letters soon.