***April Group Read: Orlando by Virginia Woolf

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***April Group Read: Orlando by Virginia Woolf

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1japaul22
maaliskuu 26, 2015, 1:05pm

Here is a thread for the group read of Orlando by Virginia Woolf, taking place in April.

I'm excited to read this and hoping it will lead to some interesting discussion.

2PawsforThought
maaliskuu 26, 2015, 2:33pm

I'm going to try really hard to read this book this month. I've been wanting to read it for years and really got into the idea late last year. I'm still in a reading slump, however, and can't predict how things will turn out. I'll be keeping an eye on the thread no matter what, though. Very much looking forward to what people think.

3laytonwoman3rd
Muokkaaja: maaliskuu 26, 2015, 2:57pm

I may try to join in. Orlando has been on my TBR list for a long time. However, Woolf is also the author chosen for July for the British Authors Challenge in the 75 Book Challenge Group, so I might wait and read it then. In any case, I'll follow this thread when I do read it.

4Tara1Reads
maaliskuu 26, 2015, 9:45pm

I read Orlando last month for the Monthly Author Reads group. I will star this thread and see if I have anything to add as the discussion goes along.

Below are my comments about Orlando from the Monthly Author Reads Woolf thread:

Orlando: A Biography

**NO SPOILERS**

I finished Orlando last night. It was my first book by Virginia Woolf. I am still processing it and am not sure what to think. I would benefit from a re-reading of it for sure. Most people on LT seem to agree that Virginia Woolf is best understood upon the second reading. And I am guilty of rushing through the last bit just to get it done because I had been reading this short book for over a week!

There were parts that I thought were brilliant and I highlighted many passages in my e-book edition. Orlando loved reading which lead to a love of writing, mostly of poetry, so there were many great passages about reading and writing. I also appreciated Orlando's musings on life in general in his/her quest to find "life and a lover."

What I found the most compelling about Orlando was the journey through time and how Woolf showed the different treatment society gives men and women at different points throughout history. Having the character of Orlando change from a man to a woman to show how Orlando as a person is treated differently just because of gender is genius.

It wasn't an easy read by any means. At least not for me. I had to look up many words in the dictionary or Google the odd British phrase or unfamiliar object very often which greatly slowed down my reading. I was grateful I was reading the e-book edition because that made doing these things easier, and I found that it did improve my understanding of the story overall.

5japaul22
huhtikuu 8, 2015, 10:47am

I've not started this yet, but I hope to next week. The two books I started at the end of March are taking longer than I expected!

6japaul22
huhtikuu 22, 2015, 1:23pm

I finished this book this afternoon and really enjoyed it. Here's what I wrote in my review:

This book was so much fun. The whole time I was reading it, I felt like I could picture Virginia Woolf with an amused smile on her face, half making fun of herself and half making fun of her wider circle of friends.

Orlando is the biography of Orlando who starts out as a young man living in the Elizabethan era of the 1500s and ends the book as a 36 year old woman in 1928. Along the way he/she has many life experiences, travels, and forays into writing. It's hard to say what this book is actually "about", but it's fun to read, amusing, and clever in the best senses of all of those words. Woolf makes no apologies or explanations for Orlando's sex change or longevity. I was expecting all of this to be confusing and shrouded in mystery, but Woolf just clearly lays out the events and expects the reader to go along. I loved it.

I'd recommend reading some of Woolf's other works first or you might not get the lighter, more playful tone that she uses in this novel.


I also enjoyed the gender issues that weave through the novel. I thought the writing on how dress affects a person was really interesting. I also thought this passage, towards the end of the novel, really summed up what Woolf was going for:

"The true length of a person's life, whatever the Dictionary of National Biography may say, is always a matter of dispute. For it is a difficult business - this time-keeping; nothing more quickly disorders it than contact with any of the arts; and it may have been her love of poetry that was to blame for making Orlando lose her shopping list . . . "

7Tara1Reads
huhtikuu 22, 2015, 6:34pm

>6 japaul22: I'd recommend reading some of Woolf's other works first or you might not get the lighter, more playful tone that she uses in this novel.

Orlando was my first (and only so far) book by Virginia Woolf and I was surprised that she had a sense of humor!

8countrylife
huhtikuu 26, 2015, 11:25am

I'm glad to have joined in this read. This is the only book by Woolf that I have read. I wasn't blown away, but I'm happy to have given her a try.