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Travellin' Penguin Pam

I tend to shy away from Woolf because I do find her difficult to read. However your review here has encouraged me to try again. Great post. Jacob's Room sounds quite interesting.


I really think I've read all of her novels now, although maybe not Night and Day but Jacob's Room is one of those I don't remember at all. She's written a few that really stayed with me but some like this or Between the Acts are gone.
I'm in a modernist mood at the moment. I just started Manhattan Transfer and can't understand why I didn't read it earlier.


I have not read much Woolf, and I did not like Mrs. Dalloway when I read that, so I haven't been too keen on renewing our acquaintance. Perhaps I should reread it and see if my opinion has changed. I am intrigued by her, and would like to read a biography, however. She does seem like a formidable and intimidating person!


I really like Woolf, but I still take a deep breath before beginning one of her novels! My favourite is The Years, which is the most conventionally structured, I suppose, but full of her glorious writing. I haven't read Jacob's Room but it sounds most intriguing!


I'm glad I am not alone in finding her on the hard side. She both scares me a little and draws me in--how many authors can you say that about! I definitely want to revisit Jacob's Room someday.


I have a ways to go still until I can say the same--it seems like she wrote so much, but maybe not as many novels as I think--she wrote so many essays and all those diaries it feels a little overwhelming when it comes to her output. I think I like A Voyage Out the best of what I've read by her, but that's only as it is the book that remains most clearly in my mind. I would like to read Orlando next I think. Is Manhattan Transfer the Dos Passos book? I'll be interested to hear what you have to say about it as I have it, too, and have wanted to read it for ages--certainly your comment makes me think it sounds very promising!


Some authors certainly appeal more than others. She's not an author I feel like I can cozy up to, but I admit I sort of like the challenge of her--though I usually don't feel worthy to it all. Maybe part of the fascination for me is her personal life, which is so interesting. I would definitely love to read her diaries sometime and also a biography.


I'm glad to hear you say that--it makes me feel better that you also need to be in the right frame of mind. I will have to look up The Years--that is a novel I don't own and am not familiar with--but I like the sound of a story that is more conventionally structured. I hate being defeated by a book--and all too often that's exactly how I feel with more modern works. It somehow makes me feel like something of a failure as a reader when I can't get on with books like that--probably a bit unfair on me, but I can't help myself. I do know how good her writing can be--and that is probably why I keep putting myself through the challenge of her work when I often don't feel quite up to it.


"Like a chair that has the imprint of a body and is still warm to the touch, but the person has left the room."

Love that Danielle! So completely perfect. Jacob's absence is his presence. I really liked the part where Jacob was traveling too. I thought it really interesting that she chose to make Jacob so ordinary. Sure he was good looking, well educated, and bright, but there was nothing extraordinary about him, nothing especially compelling for a story. I saw something somewhere that suggested Woolf did this on purpose and in choosing the name of Flanders turns Jacob into a sort of stand-in for all the young men just like him who died in the war. It works, and maybe that is what Woolf was doing, but she is such a subtle writer that the idea of Jacob as a stand-in sort of rubs me the wrong way. Still, the book give one lots to think about, doesn't it?


I don't know where that image came from--it just popped into my mind and seemed so apt. You;re right his presence is in his absence! I want to read more about the book--would love to see what she was saying about the writing process in her diaries--now that might be very illuminating. Can you believe the Guardian actually printed that review--and they always seem so progressive and open to the new and different--she floored even them! :) I like that Jacob became an 'everyman' sort of character--makes sense really then that she would make him so ordinary. I think she is very subtle--so much so that my shaky reading probably meant I missed loads. She is a writer who demands attention and lots of rereading I think. Her work always gives me lots to think about! Thanks again for reading with me--maybe if you read more of her later this year or next I can invite myself along? :)


I very much enjoyed reading the book along with you. We were good at keeping each other on track! So of course, I would love to read more Woolf with you any time! :)


I've had no luck with Woolf in the past, but want to try again. This autumn I'll try Jacob's Room and see if quiet evenings that darken early will help. But I will tell you, up to now, she makes my head hurt.


Cool. I am sure we will chat about it more in our letter writing! :) Next time we'll have to talk more about the reading as we're reading--things got a little busy there for a while but just having read the book in a nice timely manner was nice.


Yeah, I can see that, truly I can! She is not an easy read for me by any means, but I always feel a sense of accomplishment when I read her. Have you tried her essays? She seems much more accessible through her essays. I've not read many but those I've read I liked very much. Maybe she is someone best read in a group where you can chat about her as you go? I read at least two of her books in groups and it somehow made it all easier. Good luck with her this fall. I'd like to read something else by her sometime soon, too.

Buried In Print

This wasn't one of hers that I enjoyed especially, and I've often wondered if it was more my mood at the time or if it just isn't a good match for me. I enjoyed reading your thoughts on it though. (And congrats on persisting! I still think those slim volumes are the MOST time-consuming reads of all.)


To be honest I am not sure 'enjoy' is necessarily the word I always associate with VW--though that is probably a little misleading. I do enjoy them but not in the same way as a mystery, say.... Timing and mood really is everything and for me she is someone who demands rereading. Those slim volumes really are more challenging than you think--I heartily agree with you there.


Your words: "Now that I've "read" Jacob's Room, I feel like I am ready to Read Jacob's Room." resonated with me. It's like walking through a forest the second time using the same path. There's time to be more observant because you know the way. Thanks for your blog, I read it nearly every day.


Thanks for the kind words--and for leaving a comment (I've taken a peek at your blog, too, and have added to my places to visit!). There are many books I think only get better or begin to really make sense after a second or third visit! Anything my Virginia Woolf seems to fit that category. Sometimes just knowing the basic plot and having been introduced to the text makes it so much easier to make sense of things--as you say traveling that same path a second time!

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