Virago Reading Week is Here

By oldenglishrose - Last updated: Monday, January 24, 2011 - Save & Share - 9 Comments

Greetings and welcome to my little corner of Virago Reading Week, a reading event hosted by Rachel of Book Snob and Carolyn of A Few of My Favourite Books to celebrate a publisher which is dear to the hearts of many and which I only discovered last year.  Visit Rachel’s blog for more information about this week and go to Carolyn’s to read an interesting story about how Virago came to be.

An interesting side effect of book blogging is that it has made me far more aware of who publishes the books I read.  After noticing that two of my favourite books from 2010 were Virago Modern Classics (The Age of Innocence by Edith Wharton and The Return of the Soldier by Rebecca West) I suddenly became interested in these wonderful books written by women with their distinctive green designs and little apple logo.  I love the fact that I can pick up a book or an author I’ve never heard of before and be sure that I’m probably going to have a good read because it’s been produced by a publisher I know and trust and whose tastes largely align with my own.  I even enjoy the process of hunting them down: every time I go into a charity shop now I scan the shelves looking for dark green spines in the hopes of discovering a new title.  Somehow it’s so much more exciting than ordering them online.

Virago acquisition is the main reason I’ve failed to kerb my book buying this year as I keep spotting titles that I must have (well, not must, but you know how these things go).  According to LibraryThing I have forty three unread Virago Modern Classics in my library, so I’m well stocked up for the week ahead.  I’m starting out with The Vet’s Daughter by Barbara Comyns, which I received as a lovely gift from my Virago Secret Santa this Christmas, then the plan is to dive into Winifred Holtby’s South Riding about which I’ve heard only good things.  After that, who knows?

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9 Responses to “Virago Reading Week is Here”

Comment from Annie
Time January 24, 2011 at 12:04 pm

I’m old enough to remember the Virago imprint starting out and when they were first available I bought as many as I could afford and probably more than my bank manager would have sanctioned. All the publicity about Virago reading week has made me realise that I haven’t been keeping up with what they’ve published recently and so I’m hoping that I’m going to discover some new to-be favourites along the way.

You’re right about the charity shops; they are the very best place to find them.

Comment from Helen
Time January 24, 2011 at 2:53 pm

I’ve been reading The Return of the Soldier for the Virago Reading Week (although I haven’t posted my thoughts on it yet) and I agree with you that it’s a wonderful book! My second book is going to be The Enchanted April by Elizabeth von Arnim. I do have a copy of South Riding but I don’t think I’ll have time to start that one this week as well.

Comment from Rachel
Time January 24, 2011 at 3:21 pm

Hello! How lovely to discover your blog, and I am so glad you’re participating in the week. You sound like me – I have ridiculous amounts of unread Viragos boxed up in my mum’s attic and I am itching to get to them! I look forward to reading your thoughts on the Comyns! She is not an author I have read, though I do have some of her books in my TBR pile!

Comment from Carolyn
Time January 24, 2011 at 6:55 pm

Welcome, I’m glad you’re joining us! I also love stalking Viragos, although there was only one secondhand bookshop in my old city where I could find them. I hope you get to South Riding this week, it’s one I’d like to read also. (I love your blog name too, how beautiful!)

Comment from oldenglishrose
Time January 25, 2011 at 9:17 am

Thankfully they are (mostly) much cheaper second hand, or my bank manager would be having words too. Virago have just recently started a book club to showcase some of their newest offerings, which looks quite interesting. They publish such an impressive variety of stuff.

Comment from oldenglishrose
Time January 25, 2011 at 9:19 am

I have ‘The Enchanted April’ waiting for my attention too, so I’ll look forward to seeing what you think of it. I’m so gald you enjoyes ‘The Return of the Soldier’; it was one of the best books I read in 2010.

Comment from oldenglishrose
Time January 25, 2011 at 9:20 am

Thank you for organising it. It’s lovely to have an excuse to read lots of Viragos in a row, as it usually makes me feel a bit guilty doing that for some bizarre reason. Comyns is definitely worth getting to if this book was anything to go by. It looks and sounds rather innocuous but it’s powerful stuff!

Comment from oldenglishrose
Time January 25, 2011 at 9:22 am

Thank you very much! I chose it because of having studied Old English at university and translated quite unhealthy amounts of the stuff. I’ve just started South Riding as of last night and already it’s fascinating.

Comment from Annie
Time January 25, 2011 at 9:39 am

I’ve joined the Virago club and you’ve just reminded me that I pushed the latest e-mail over into a fielder and haven’t gone back to it. Thank you, I must go and see what they have to say.

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