Sunday, August 19, 2012

On Daffodils and Reading

This week the daffodils in my garden burst into flower. Heralding the Spring , holding the promise of change and new beginnings. The reality of this wet, winter day contradicts their message but only for a short while - Spring is coming!

It might explain my restlessness and the inability to concentrate on finishing at least one of the three posts I have in progress. After adding a sentence to each I gave up. My mind is elsewhere, my thoughts on two books I've recently finished and can't post about because I need to read them again. Not one day, but now ....

After the Victorian Celebration followed by Persuasion I knew it was time to take a break from 19th century authors and chose Excellent Women by Barbara Pym - blurbed as ' an endearing and amusing social comedy' I think I imagined something along the lines of Miss Marple without the mystery.
I watched a Miss Marple last night on television and she is 'an excellent woman' of the sleuthing kind and I was soaking up the background to help visualize the Mildred era but I already knew I'd taken her story too lightly, marked no passages, made no notes and would have to go back and start again. But before I did she sent me elsewhere.....
" My thoughts went round and round ( I know the feeling) and it occurred to me that if I ever wrote a novel it would be of the 'stream of consciousness' type and deal with an hour in the life of a woman at the sink."
 It was time for me to brave the lion's Woolf's den and read Mrs Dalloway. To put aside the doubts, insecurities and prejudices I've held on to for years, all of them founded on secondhand opinions, and discover for myself if I liked Virginia Woolf's work.....or not! 
Surprise, surprise! It was nothing like I expected.
I really liked it!
I'm teetering on the edge of saying I loved it!
But I certainly can't write about it until I've read it again.

Meanwhile I'm enjoying thinking about and comparing Mildred Lathbury and Clarissa Dalloway. They both live in London and their stories are set 5-6 years after the end of a World War. It must have been a very difficult transition time, the instinctive longing for life to be as it was 'before' , but knowing too much has changed for that to be possible.

I think that's a bit like where I am with my reading - stuck in a transition between the old way and the new and it can be a bit frustrating - old habits die hard! 


  1. I am reading Excellent Women too - and I've been meaning to try Virginia Woolf again as well. Years ago reading Orlando put me off her, and I've never read anything else of hers.

    1. I hope you're enjoying Excellent Women as much as I am. I always thought VW would not be my sort of reading but have been pleasantly surprised.

  2. When you spot those first daffodils, it is always a relief! I love spring. I've never read anything by Virginia day..

    1. Always nice to know that winter is almost over! It's taken me a long time to read VW.....when the time is right!