Virago Round Up: The Final Countdown!

Well, here it is! The final round up of Virago Reading Week. It’s been a phenomenal week, and one that has surpassed all of the expectations I had. The amount of participation has been truly wonderful, and I know I speak for Carolyn as much as I do for myself in saying thank you so much to all of you who so enthusiastically took part. It has been a real joy to see the pleasure everyone has taken in reading and posting during this week, and I have thoroughly enjoyed reading all of your reviews and musings and book hauls and photographs and other Virago related posts. It has just been overwhelming! I won’t lie; it has been a very labour intensive week for both Carolyn and I, and I didn’t realise just how much work would be involved, but I don’t regret it, and all those late nights reading and commenting and collating have been more than worth it!

Tomorrow Carolyn and I will announce our prize winners! So stay tuned for that! But in the meantime, without further ado, here’s the final round up of reviews and posts; as usual, let me know if I missed you out!

Tales from the Reading Room has written a passionate post about the marvellous Willa Cather; my thoughts exactly!

The very knowledgable Laura of Laura’s Musings has written a super wrap up post and chosen her two favourite Viragos; South Riding and The Custom of the Country; excellent choices that I am yet to read, but very much want to now!

Luvvie of Luvvie’s Musings has posted a brilliant heart shaped photo of her Viragos, showing how much she loves them!

The brilliant Teresa of Shelf Love is asking for some help with choosing her next Virago, and also has a Virago to give away! Go and check it out!

Virago expert Verity over at Cardigan Girl Verity has posted about baking for Virago Reading Week – see what apple-y treat she made!

Thomas at My Porch has gone all out today and posted three times to celebrate the end of Virago Reading Week; he shows us a Virago he forgot he had; an interesting review of Elizabeth Von Arnim’s Love, which set him thinking, and finally he has posted a gorgeous portrait that he thinks would do well on a Virago cover!

JoAnn of Lakeside Musing has wrapped up Virago Reading Week beautifully, showing us her two books read – Excellent Women by Barbara Pym and Eudora Welty’s The Optimist’s Daughter.

The dear Simon of Savidge Reads has, thankfully, managed to find some time in his very busy schedule to take part in Virago Reading Week, choosing a very modern classic, Angela Carter’s The Passion of New Eve.

The lovely Claire of The Captive Reader has written a brilliant post on her thoughts on Virago Modern Classics. Much to think about!

Simon of Stuck in a Book has written a wonderful, thought provoking post about men who do not fit gender or reading stereotypes; where are books for the men who live quiet lives? This is a quite spectacular and not often discussed topic and I encourage you all to go over and have a read.

Helen of A Book in the Woods has written about Ada Cambridge’s The Three Miss Kings. This is a lesser known Virago set in 19th century Melbourne and it sounds very intriguing!

My lovely co-host Carolyn has written two posts; an interesting review of Elizabeth von Arnim’s Elizabeth and her German Garden and another wonderful and thought provoking post about why reading Viragos is changing her life. It just goes to show – reading can be revolutionary, and open your mind to a better and brighter world.

Cristina of Rochester Reader has written two posts; one on Violet Trefusis’ Pirates at Play and one on Elizabeth Taylor’s The Wedding Group; great choices!

Verity of Verity’s Virago Venture has posted about the haul of Viragos she managed to pick up cheaply this week – so her reading of Viragos will continue merrily for many weeks to come!

Darlene of Roses Over a Cottage Door has also posted about a cheeky trip to the bookstore which managed to result in four new Viragos; go and drool over those covers!

Hayley of Desperate Reader has posted about a lesser read Muriel Spark; Symposium. It sounds really rather interesting and has reminded me that I need to read more Spark!

Kristin from Books and Teacups, who I am delighted to meet for the first time, has posted some very interesting reflections on Willa Cather’s Death Comes for the Archbishop, which has me very excited to read it!

Mother,etc has written a intriguing review of a lesser read Virago, Naomi Mitchinson’s Travel Light.

Lastly, but by no means least, Chrissy has written a wonderful review of Rosamund Lehmann’s Invitation to the Waltz – a must read!


Oops…here are some I missed!

Cousins Read posted a wonderful review of  The Land of Spices by Kate O’Brien.

Novel Readings has written a very informative, interesting, and pleasingly academic review of Margaret Kennedy’s The Ladies of Lyndon.

Indextrious Reader has posted an interesting review of one of my favourite Rosamund Lehmann novels, The Ballad and the Source.

And really, the last one! – Fleur Fisher has wrapped up Virago Reading Week, with more thoughts to come, we hope.


    1. bookssnob says:

      Thanks Carolyn – don’t know how I missed those! I must have been going crosseyed! I know, it has just been the best fun and I am glad you were my partner in crime! 🙂 We have a lot of decisions to make tomorrow…we better get reading and emailing!

  1. Cristina says:

    What a great roundup! Thanks again to you and Carolyn. I can imagine how much work this involves and I am grateful for your cheerful and smooth handling of the week. I hope you can both take a long, leisurely rest soon 🙂

    1. bookssnob says:

      Thank you Cristina! You are very kind and I am so glad you enjoyed it! It was a lot of work but 100% worth it because of the lovely readers like you who participated!

  2. Simon T says:

    Thanks so much for all your hard work this week, Rachel and Carolyn!

    1. bookssnob says:

      You are welcome Simon! Thank YOU for participating!

  3. Alex says:

    A big thank you to you both from me – I love these sorts of challenges…I’m never very good at them…but you do meet the nicest people…you two must be exhaustipated…but I hope you derived some enjoyment out of it. We all certainly did 🙂

    1. bookssnob says:

      You are so kind, Alex! I got a lot of enjoyment out of it, don’t you worry! All the hard work definitely paid off and I got to meet some lovely new people as well! So glad you enjoyed it too! 🙂

  4. Chrissy says:

    If this week of reading and reviewing was intense and exciting for us, how much more for you and Carolyn! Brilliantly done – thank you both so much.
    I just want to add word about Virago covers – which everyone is very enthusiastic about. For me, they often don’t hit the mark AT ALL and I find them off-putting. It annoys me that more care was not taken to match the painting (often very beautiful) with the character it is presumably supposed to be suggesting.
    I’ve just received my Virago copy of The Weather in the Streets – after reading it to review for The Week it was in danger of collapsing and I ordered a new one a few days ago. Have a look at that cover – what can that possibly have to do with Olivia? Renoir’s woman is insipid and a bit dozy – which our heroine definitely was not. I’m annoyed all over again!
    Still, nothing will put me off working my way through much of the recommended titles.

    1. bookssnob says:

      Thank you, Chrissy! You are so lovely. I’m so glad you enjoyed the week.

      Yes I agree entirely. The modern covers I don’t like at all, and certain of the old ones were very lazily done. For example, all the Elizabeth Taylors, practically, have boring still life flower paintings on the front. I hate them! I don’t know who was responsible for those decisions – glad it hasn’t put you off though!

      Thanks so much for taking part this week, Chrissy! It’s been a pleasure having you!

  5. Darlene says:

    This is shaping up to be a year of reading at least one book by authors new to me. I have yet to read any Rosamund Lehmann and would love to find out what her style is like along with Enid Bagnold, V Sackville-West and EH Young. Needless to say, this past week was SO inspiring!

    Your efforts are very appreciated, Rachel! I bet you’re looking forward to some uninterrupted reading time and it would be well-deserved.

    1. bookssnob says:

      Darlene, I am certain you would enjoy all of those authors you mention! Rosamund Lehmann is excellent, and Enid Bagnold’s The Squire is very beautiful. And obviously you will love Sackville-West as her books are so very English!

      Thank you Darlene – it has been fun and it’s been lovely to have such enthusiastic participants!

      I am…perhaps a brief blogging break to read!

  6. Penny says:

    It’s been a great week, Rachel! So many interesting posts to read and blogs to add to my blogroll (still working through them!) You and Carolyn have worked so hard! I’m extremely impressed! Well done to both of you!

    I’m hanging my head in shame, however. I’ve posted my Virago Book Week blog post – a day late! It’s up now, anyway… I read Our Spoons Came from Woolworths…

    1. bookssnob says:

      Thanks Penny! Glad to hear you enjoyed it so much!

      Oh it doesn’t matter – a day late is nothing! I’ll make sure you get a link!

  7. Both you and Carolyn have done such a wonderful job hosting: what a lot of work and what a lot of Virago Love! It’s been a thrill to discover some new reading folks who enjoy this publisher’s offerings.

    I started into Barbara Comyns’ first novel (well, first published one, Sisters by a River), which refreshed my desire to read every single word she’s written, but I didn’t get it finished during the celebratory week. It’s delightfully disturbing, though: I’m looking forward to reading on.

    1. bookssnob says:

      Thank you! I’m glad you got such a thrill from it too!

      I still haven’t made my mind up about whether Comyns is going to be an author I enjoy or not. I keep hearing about her quirkiness and I just am not sure. I suppose I shall just have to try her and find out! Glad you are getting on well with yours!

  8. Virginia says:

    I just want to thank both you and Caroyln. You two have done so much work and have instigated so many great posts in the blogosphere. I have read so many thought provoking posts about feminism and gender, and they have made me think more deeply. Plus, there have been many great book reviews that have added to my TBR list, and I have encountered more blogs that I hadn’t heard of before. It’s great to feel a part of a community of book readers and discuss the books I read, because, though I know some intellectuals, I don’t have people around me who read the same books and can discuss them with me. Thanks again for all the work you’ve done.

    1. Virginia says:

      And, opps! Sorry for spelling your name wrong, Carolyn.

      1. bookssnob says:

        Thank you, Virginia. And thank you for your wonderful comments and contributions to our discussions; you are a very valued reader, and I hope you know it! What a joy that we have blogs to discuss books on, and we can find each other through them! I am so glad you have managed to find an outlet and thank you for taking part this week. I am with Carolyn; you write so beautifully, you should start your own blog!

      2. Virginia says:

        Thanks, Rachel! After the encouragement of you and Carolyn, I will definitely consider starting a blog. Thanks again!

Leave a Comment

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in: Logo

You are commenting using your account. Log Out /  Change )

Google photo

You are commenting using your Google account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s