Virginia Woolf wrote a kid’s book.
Why does that strike me as incredibly strange? It’s like if Samuel L. Jackson voiced a kids’ book called Go The F**k To Sleep. Oh, wait a minute, he did.
Or it’s like if James Joyce wrote a kid’s book called The Cats of Copenhagen. Oh, wait a minute, he did.
I’m interested how Woolf adapted (or didn’t adapt) her normal, verbose style into working for a kid’s book.
Woolf’s book, titled Nurse Lugton’s Curtain, is “a lovely allegory about the whimsical wonderland we enter as we slip into sleep.”
Let’s take a look at a couple of passages:
Today’s post is my guest post that appeared on Book Riot last Friday. As it pertains to my never-ending hate affair with Mrs. Dalloway, which most of you are well aware of by now, I thought I’d share the post here on 101 Books. Enjoy!
The other day, in an unprecedented fit of boredom, I stared at a blank wall for 90 seconds. At some point, maybe around the 70-second mark, I thought to myself: This feels a lot like reading Mrs. Dalloway.
The wall, though blank, certainly has a lot going for it. Someone spent a lot of time building it, then they primed it and painted it. They even cared enough about that wall to put a ceiling above it and a floor below it.
That’s a lot like Mrs. Dalloway, too. Because even though it bored me to tears, Virginia Woolf obviously spent a lot of time writing it. She was a smart woman.
But back to the wall. It just stood there, not moving, not changing color—basically just hanging out, like it was at Mrs. Dalloway’s party sipping watered-down punch.
That whole wall experience got me to thinking—what’s more boring: a white wall or Mrs. Dalloway? After many hours of laborious thought, I decided to give the slight edge to Mrs. Dalloway.
Yes, I find Mrs. Dalloway horribly tedious. So much so, that it’s currently ranked 46 out of the first 46 novels I’ve read from Time Magazine’s All-Time 100 novels.
So to better explain my thoughts on this novel, I thought I’d take some time to compare it to 10 other boring things. Let’s see how the following things stack up versus Mrs. Dalloway in the land of tedium:
It’s rerun week at 101 Books! Today’s post originally appeared on March 21, 2011. 101 Books will return live on Monday July 9.
Get your pitchforks ready. Find a stake you can set fire to. Get ready to riot and burn an effigy of me.
Because I’m about to be honest: I didn’t like Mrs. Dalloway. There, I said it. I’ve probably committed some kind of literary heresy by admitting this, but I’ve got to keep it real, as the kids say.
Who knew that Flannery O’ Connor had such a talent with chickens? Or Virginia Woolf was such a prankster?
Publishers Weekly recently listed several authors famous for something else, in addition to their books.
Here’s a sampling:
Woolf paraphrased: James Joyce sucks.
Virginia Woolf had this to say about James Joyce: “[Ulysses is] the work of a queasy undergraduate scratching his pimples.”
Now that’s pretty funny and maybe a bit harsh, don’t ya think?
Authors have such egos. And when it comes to insulting their peers, their creativity shines.
FlavorWire recently listed the 30 harshest author insults in history. Here are a few of my favorites:
I haven’t hidden the fact that I wasn’t a fan of Mrs. Dalloway—which is currently last in my rankings of the books I’ve read to this point. Interestingly, though, I’ve noticed some similarities between Mrs. Dalloway and Infinite Jest.
Both David Foster Wallace and Virginia Woolf didn’t mind writing a sentence with hundreds of words. I believe a couple of sentences in Infinite Jest last more than a full page.
But the difference being, in my opinion, that David Foster Wallace’s long sentences actually make sense to my small brain.