Virago Reading Week

Just a quickie today – I currently have an old school friend visiting and we are very busy running around doing lots of fun things in Manhattan, which means reading and blogging have been put rather on hold!

However, I just wanted to post about Virago Reading Week, which the lovely Carolyn of A Few of My Favourite Books and I are planning on hosting around the end of January/beginning of February. This will be a very exciting opportunity to dig out those hoarded but unread green spines (or black spines for our American friends), or, for those of you who have never read a Virago before, to read a Virago for the very first time. If you are reading this post and have absolutely no idea what I’m talking about, please click over to here, and all will become clear.

There is a huge range of choice when it comes to reading Virago Modern Classics; Carolyn and I are working on putting together an alphabetical Master List which will help you in choosing titles to read if you don’t have some sitting on your shelves. This will hopefully be ready within the next week or two, when I have time to sit down and finish it. 🙂 Just as a taster, the Virago list spans from the 18th to the 21st century, and includes authors as ‘mainstream’ as Edith Wharton, Jane Austen, and Louisa May Alcott, along with the more modernist talents of authors such as Dorothy Richardson, Barbara Comyns and Sylvia Townsend Warner.  Many of my favourite novels, such as The Rector’s Daughter by F M Mayor and The Enchanted April by Elizabeth Von Arnim, are Virago Modern Classics. There is so much variety and choice amongst the list that there really is something for everybody, and I do very much hope that many of you will be excited to join in. If you want a good starting point to research titles, please do go over to Verity’s fantastic blog, where she is chronicling her reading of the entire list. She is quite the expert on Viragos! There is also an excellently helpful community over on the Librarything Virago group.

I am not the most organised person in the world, so things are going to be quite flexible. When Carolyn and I have firmed up the exact week, we’ll let you know, and I’ll post up the full list of titles to choose from just as soon as it’s ready. Within the week you can read as many or as few titles as you wish, and Carolyn and I plan on doing some posts about feminist literature, feminist presses, and female authors, to fuel your Virago reading fires. I am also hoping to be able to secure some prizes but I haven’t really got started on sorting that out yet so I can’t make any promises, though I’ll do my absolute best! So, at this point, all you need to do at this point is get excited, and keep the end of January/February in mind when it comes to making reading plans!

One thing we could do with some help on is creating a button for the week – ‘technology’ and ‘Rachel’ do not naturally mix and as such I am hopeless at doing such things. If anyone can assist, please give me an email and you will receive my eternal gratitude!

Normal BookSnob service will resume in a couple of days!




  1. Oh, fun! Count me in. (I’m, um, old enough to remember when these books first started appearing, and I collected a few…with one or two I still haven’t read.)

  2. Ooh thanks for he mention, I’d better get readig and reviewing a few more… I’m looking forward to joining with you both!!

  3. Well, I’m excited already! I’ve got quite a wee library of Viragos (I may be of about the same vintage as Audrey! 🙂 ), so I hope not to have to buy any more books to be able to join in!
    It’s something to look forward to after Christmas is over!

    1. Fantastic – I’m sure you’ll be able to find something on those heaving bookshelves of yours Penny! My thoughts exactly – everyone needs a January pick me up!

  4. I’m really looking forward to this, Rachel! It’ll be great to get news ideas of VMCs to read. Also, I think there’s a list of VMCs on library thing in the VMC group.

  5. I’m looking forward to participating in this. I haven’t read many VMCs so this will be the perfect opportunity for me to read some more. Now I just need to decide which ones I want to read!

  6. I’m looking forward to this. I was planning on reading more of my poor neglected Viragos next year, so this will be the perfect way to kick off the new year!

  7. This sounds fun! I would offer to help with a button but I am no good whatsoever with designing things. When I did my one event that I hosted this one time, I basically found the prettiest picture in the world, asked the artist if I could use it, and slapped text across the bottom. #lazy

    1. Well the lazy version sounds like a plan…as no techno whizzes have stepped forward I shall be going down the same homespun route! We will see the results!

  8. I am looking forward to this in the New Year. I have a small collection and do buy when I spy the green cover.I have a few older ones I haven’t read yet so it will be fun.

  9. What a good idea! I hope I do better than with NYRB Classics reading week, where I got as far as picking one of my shelf.. and no further. Although I did pick a title which is also a VMC, so perhaps I’ll cheat and read it…

  10. Just the thing for the dreaded months of January and February. I am SO looking forward to this. I hope you’ll include a favourite or two of mine so that I can visit them again with a purpose.

    As to technology, I do sympathise. But can’t be helpful. I am rather envious of blogs I’ve seen recently which have snowflakes drifting across them!

    1. Good – I thought so too. We all need something to look forward to in these dreary post Christmas months! I will do my best – as I’m not working from my own Virago library I can choose whatever the library has at my disposal thankfully!

      It’s a difficult thing but I am going to see what I can come up with, Chrissy!

  11. I am definitely in. I’ll be busy on internship Jan/Feb but hope to read some in advance.

    Have you heard about the Virago Book Club? Sounds fun & maybe the first book will tie-in nicely with your week. the Virago Book Club&utm_content=Announcing the Virago Book Club CID_6045647ad32e859a893f80e56ec925e3&utm_source=CM&utm_term=SIGN UP HERE

    (Apologies for incredibly long link).

    Enjoy your friend’s visit! Perhaps you could squeeze Alice’s Tea Cup into your itinerary…

    1. Great news! Hope to hear more about this internship!

      No I hadn’t but I have now signed up – thank you for the link!!

      We actually walked past Alice’s Tea Cup but we were in a rush to get to the ballet and there was a long queue. It looks lovely though and I’ll be heading back one of these days!

  12. It’s hard to believe that Virago Classics are now “classics” themselves. I’m with Penny & Audrey–remembering when Virago was the new kid on the block. I loved discovering writers like Elizabeth Taylor and E.M. Delafield and Emily Eden through those books (all of them with green spines, if I recall). I can’t commit to a read-a-thon, but I just finished all four books in the DIARY OF A PROVINCIAL LADY series and can’t recommend those highly enough.

    1. I wish I had been around when they first came out! I’d have loved to gather them all up while they were so easily available! If you can find time to read one Virago it would be a pleasure to have you, but if not, I hope you enjoy reading along with those who are!

  13. This is going to be great fun and my title has already been selected! The Way Things Are by EM Delafield has been languishing on my shelf for much too long. Off to Carolyn’s for more details….whoosh!

    1. I love that you have already picked your book, Darlene! That’s the spirit! I am looking forward to you reading it and enjoying it, as I know you will!

  14. I am in and excited to be in. What fun. I am in the midst of “The Willow Cabin” currently. Don’t know what to pick up next but I haven’t begun my Elizabeth Taylor’s yet so this might be a good time to begin her works.
    Thank you for hosting this. I love the set aside Virago weeks and months. They are the absolute best.

    1. Hi Belva! This is fantastic news. Elizabeth Taylor would be an excellent choice – once you start you won’t want to stop!

      It is a pleasure – I know Carolyn and I are going to have a lot of fun!

  15. Oh, I like the sound of a Virago reading week. I’ve been lusting over Verity’s books for quite awhile now. I didn’t do so well with Persephone reading week, but this will give me another chance to try again!

  16. Dear Rachel,
    Let’s meet in Brooklyn this year! You have my email.
    I live near the Brooklyn Botantic Garden and Prospect Park.
    Happy New Year from Bermuda,
    I’ll be back January 11th.
    Laura – The Girls from Winnetka

  17. Oooh! Viragos! I’ve been envying Verity her focus for some time now — this will be great fun.

  18. Please count me in…I’m putting the date in my diary now. My lovely secret santa on Librarything gave me Elizabeth and Her German Garden by Elizabeth von Arnim so that will probably be my first book. If I finish that before the week is out I can start on my e-bay haul 🙂

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