My top 10 of ’15: themes

The year of Virginia Woolf

The Waves, Mrs. Dalloway and To the Lighthouse are among my favorite novels of all time. This year, I spent more time on Woolf than ever, reading the following titles:

  • Virginia Woolf: Art, Life and Vision by Frances Spalding
  • Recollections of Virginia Woolf, edited by Joan Russell Noble
  • Deceived with Kindness by Angelica Garnett
  • The Common Reader (first series) by Virginia Woolf
  • Downhill All the Way by Leonard Woolf

I was also lucky enough to attend the 25th annual international conference on Virginia Woolf at Bloomsbury University in Pennsylvania this year. I wasn’t sure if, as a non-academic, I’d fit in, but they were a warm, welcoming group – and there were plenty of other non-academic fans there as well. It would be hard to think of a more rewarding way to spend a week.

Year of graphic novels

I’d never read a single graphic novel before this year, but after being so thoroughly engrossed by David Small’s Stitches, I continued the trend with Why Can’t We Talk about Something More Pleasant? by Roz Chast, Fun Home by Alison Bechdel and Exit Wounds by Rutu Modan. It’s been fun to discover this new way of viewing a story.

Year in mysteries

I love mysteries, but I try to treat them like dessert and only read one a month or so. I was introduced to two stand-outs this year: Ann Cleeves  (after becoming a big fan of Vera, the brilliant Brenda Blethyn TV series based on Cleeves’ work) and M.C. Beaton (whose Agatha Raisin series I discovered after hearing a Penelope Keith dramatization on BBC Radio 4).

 

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