As I am super busy with my final hand-ins and assessments for my degree, I thought I would do a round up of my top three favourite books. If you have been following my blog, you will notice I have already posted an Author Haul on Ian McEwan. So, to save repeating myself and boring you all, here my other favourites:
1)The Waves (1931) by Virginia Woolf
I love love love Virginia Woolf, she was the focus of my undergraduate dissertation and I find her work within literary modernism truly inspiring. In particular, I really enjoy her focus on the interiority of character. She was one of the first authors to think of the text reflecting thoughts and feelings, bringing the reader closer to the life of her constructs.
My favourite fictional work of hers (I would highly recommend also reading her literary criticism) is The Waves. Written in 1931, The Waves is regarded as one of Woolf’s most experimental novels; which follows the lives of Bernard, Neville, Louis, Jinny and Rhoda. The narrative follows the characters relationships with one another and the natural world, and mainly consists of what many critics refer to as ‘soliloquies’, due to the rhythmical nature of the prose. Interspersed between these soliloquies are sections of descriptions of the natural world, focussing on water and light, which pose a close relationship to the characters subject matter within their soliloquies.
I found the intricate technique employed by Woolf fascinating, which means I couldn’t help but continue to turn the pages. On a more basic level, the close relationship Woolf inspires between characters and reader means you become really invested in the text!
2) Tristram Shandy (1759) by Laurence Sterne
I had never read any Sterne prior to university, however Tristram Shandy was on my reading list for the Georgian module. Many of my peers didn’t enjoy this text which I can understand due to its investment in John Locke’s philosophies. The text is also loaded with reference to Sterne’s wider reading, which I for one can say was lost on me at times. It is also a lengthy text- but persevere as I assure you there are brilliant moments!
Throughout Tristram Shandy, particularly in earlier editions, there are features such as the marbled and black page. There are also embellishments of Sterne’s illustrations, such as the squiggly lines (don’t laugh- it literally is a squiggle). These illustrated qualities of the text are said to be reflective of character feeling, for example (spoiler alert) the black page is arguably representative of Tristram’s feelings about Yorik’s death.
Perhaps I enjoy this closeness to character consciousness, through writing this post I have realised this is the theme that has drawn me to both books!
3) How to Be a Woman (2011) by Caitlin Moran
Caitlin Moran’s non-fictional text is something I would encourage anyone to read. It poses the awkward questions that come along when becoming a woman in a hilarious fashion. Moran isn’t afraid to speak the truth and ignores social taboos- something really refreshing and honest to read. It is this combination of honesty and hilarity which has made it so enjoyable to read. As a reader I found myself relating greatly to the text alongside questioning some of my pre-existing ideals.
I have also read her fictional text How to Build a Girl (2014) which has similar themes, so although cringing at times (I wont spoil as to why) I found this book to be a breath of fresh air as well.
If you haven’t already I would definitely recommend a read of both!
As always, thank you for reading! What are your favourite texts? Have you read any of the above? It would be brilliant to hear from you so please like/share/comment to your hearts content!