Remarkable Books I Have Known

A Room of One's Own by Virginia Woolf 


 Published 1957 by Harcourt, Brace, Jovanovich in New York .


I meant to write about death, only life came breaking in as usual. ~ Virginia Woolf


Women have served all these centuries as looking-glasses possessing the magic and delicious power of reflecting the figure of a man at twice its natural size.
Virginia Woolf, A Room of One's Own (1929)

As today is Virginia Woolf's birthday, I remembered to add this to my 'have read' book list on Goodreads.


I read this originally when I was in my 20s... sometime in the 70s... a long time ago... hence, the old cover. Mine was as battered as this one. I carried it everywhere. I read it while in line at the bank, the grocery store, on all too short lunch hours and in bed before sleeping.


And yes, every woman should read this... at least once. I have read it several times and have yet to live up to the woman it makes me want to become... but I have hope.


In fact, I would go so far as to say that anyone who loves a woman, any woman, should read this. Perhaps it is time for me to read it again.


Here's to you, Virginia...


January 25, 2011 


Book Review: A Discovery of Witches



I am positively bereft. I can’t remember the last time a novel left me grieving so at the loss of it’s characters and unfinished story. I knew going in that it was the first of a trilogy. I also knew as the pages left to read became fewer and fewer that there was no way the story was going to be nicely wrapped up, however I was still emotionally unprepared for the intense feeling of disconnection. This past Friday night, 4 March, 2011 I finished reading A Discovery of Witches. As I have read some negative reviews, I can only assume A Discovery of Witches is not the sort of book these reviewers normally read. One does wonder why one would attempt to read something in a genre they find undesirable. So... if witches, vampires, daemons, mysterious manuscripts, alchemical mysteries and the struggle to discover how you, as a witch, or a vampire, or a daemon fit into the universal scheme of things does not interest you, then this is probably not the book for you. There is also a nice bit of romance, some delightful humour, days overflowing with magic, interesting locations and finally some characters that I not only (wonder of wonders) care about, but would genuinely like to know. I, as you no doubt have already figured out for yourself, was completely enthralled. It truly was the most captivating book I have read in ages and cannot wait for the second installment due out in 2012. In fact, as I am having the hardest time finding something to follow it, I may just have to read it again...


I actually finished this book a couple of weeks ago. I was quite ill at the time, so didn't get a chance to write a review.

I loved this book. In fact, I still find myself thinking about it and reliving some of my favourite, or just plain unforgettable, parts of the book in my mind. I got this from my library (love libraries) but feel I may have to purchase it because I am having the hardest time returning it:-)

I love a good Historical Novel. I have been reading them since I was a teenager (trust me, a long time ago) and have some favourite authors. Emma Campion was new to me. Not surprising as this is her debut novel, but she has been writing historical crime novels under the name of Candace Robb. I look forward to reading more from her.

This is the story of Alice Perrers, a merchant’s daughter who became mistress to Edward III in his later years, told in her own words. I'm not a big fan of first person narratives. It is my experience that very few people can pull first person off well and so many times it comes across jerky and awkward. However, I found myself swept along quite happily with Alice's retelling of her life and in the end fell quite hopelessly in love with Alice and Edward III (and a few of the other characters, as well). In several places I cried.

It's a wonderful story full of sadness, heartache, laughter, royal pageantry, friendship, betrayal and love... a lot of love. The title sounds quite lurid, like that of a bodice ripper, but don't be deceived. It's a lovely story of a young girl and then a young woman cautiously, and not so cautiously, making her way through the joys and pitfalls of loving and surviving. I so admired this character's capacity for love and loyalty in the face of adversity and betrayal. I am trying to continue to carry on the way this novel made me feel in my heart. A bit mushy? Maybe. But in this time of so much division and anger, I was quite relieved to find out that I could still imagine what it may have felt like to blindly love a King, a husband, a number of children, parents, grandparents, and numerous friends and associates in the treacherous times of medieval England. I believe that is a mark of good writer...

If you are a fan of Sharon Kay Penman or Elizabeth Chadwick, I believe you will enjoy this novel.