During my undergrad years, I somehow managed to avoid Virginia Woolf's works. Odd, since I don't live too far away from her beloved Talland House and quite near to her much lamented Godrevy, latent star of her novel To The Lighthouse. Although set in the Hebrides, it was loosely based on her family's summer home on the outskirts of St Ives (Godrevy clearly inspired the young Woolf and its persona is clearly depicted in the novel). Part of the reason why I had circumnavigated Woolf was that life in the St Ives area is super saturated with her works and I have never been one to actually follow any of the blurb - it was there, present in everyday life,alongside Barbara Hepworth, Patrick Heron and all of the other St Ives artists. I did not need to slice a vein to see their life blood in me. It is there already in the sky, sea and sand. Saying that, I hadn't thought I had purposely avoided her writings, but equally, I hadn't been overly bothered with reading them. During my time at uni, I read some scant lines of The Waves (confusing) and a few passages of Mrs Dalloway (interesting) but had not ventured back. Until now.
My days are typically full of retail shift work, until I re-enter the Hen House in October (more seasonal work). It is therefore quite easy to drown in mindless crap of TV and whatever is piped through media forums and recently, I have yearned for the classics. Plus, I have rejoined Audible and downloaded a Bloomsbury parody called Gloomsbury - A Rhapsody About Bohemians by Sue Limb (which was an absolute riot - huge lampoonings of various writers, artists, philosophers...and any other layabout of the day - just kidding). I appreciated the lampooning satire, but it rekindled my interest and I decided that I would start with To The Lighthouse and actually read her books, rather than actively avoid them as I have for most of my life. I have quiet times on one of the campsite shops and two days off per week, both are midweek and both Hubby and Prodigal 2 are at their own jobs. Perfect excuse to read, rather than be swamped by other people's need to avidly watch the box. I have ordered Orlando, too - so my aim is to completely read all four titles mentioned and reflect on them as I read them.
Fingers crossed that I can get through them. They are rather involved, but I figured if I can read and understand most of Shakespeare (with a few side notes, it has to be said), been able to stumble through Charlotte Bronte's Wuthering Heights and eventually bent my head around Mark Z. Danielewski's post modern nightmare, House of Leaves (generally considered unreadable - I did too, but soldiered on and thought it was great), then I should give Woolf a go. I promise that I will not be heavily critiquing her work, but I will add my observations.
Wish me luck :-)