the sound of waves

I’m back in snowy Canada now, but here’s a picture of my last day at the beach, reading To the Lighthouse. Virginia Woolf was at the start and end of my trip, I finished Mrs. Dalloway on the way to the airport two weeks ago (and got so much more out of it this time) and then finished To the Lighthouse on the plane coming back. In between I also loved The Enchanted April by Elizabeth von Arnim (it’s strawberry sweet) and The Dud Avocado by Elaine Dundy (quirky fun).

And I went to the Wizarding World of Harry Potter at the Universal Studios theme park in Orlando! It was thrilling, magical and at the same time just a bit too commercialized.

Aside from that, I’m just trying to recover from so much sunshine and excitement and noise — I didn’t even unpack today (and likely won’t be joining in Persephone Reading Weekend), I set up a LibraryThing account instead, here! I’m wanting to settle into some quiet old fashioned reading (Jane Austen or Elizabeth Gaskell maybe) or may do some very rare once yearly baking, I found a recipe for black forest brownies that’s rather tempting.

The whole mass of the picture was poised upon that weight. Beautiful and bright it should be on the surface, feathery and evanescent, one colour melting into another like the colours on a butterfly’s wing; but beneath the fabric must be clamped together with bolts of iron. It was to be a thing you could ruffle with your breath; and a thing you could not dislodge with a team of horses. And she began to lay on a red, a grey, and she began to model her way into the hollow there.

That was one of the quotes I remembered from reading To the Lighthouse in university.

16 thoughts on “the sound of waves

  1. Karenlibrarian says:

    Did you have an amazing time at the Wizarding World? We went at Thanksgiving and I’m dying to go back.

    And I am amazed you were able to read Virginia Woolf at the beach! I find her quite challenging. Wow.

    • Karenlibrarian says:

      I should clarify, I really meant impressed at your ability to read Woolf at the beach — I don’t think I could do it. I tried to read Theodore Dreiser at the beach a few years ago and I was not successful.

    • Carolyn says:

      Yes, it was enchanting (I almost had a little tear when we walked in to see it all come to life!), but I got a horrible headache from riding the Dragon Challenge rollercoaster after being out in the sun too long with not enough water and too much sugar! I loved the Forbidden Journey virtual ride though, it was amazing to feel like I was flying through the air over Hogwarts! After a while I found everything to be a bit too much, because I’m sensitive to loud noises and light and that was everywhere. But overall, it was definitely worth it. I loved the butterbeer and am wishing I’d gotten a few more souvenirs there, as expensive as they were!

      To my mind, Virginia Woolf suits the beach. She writes a lot about water and the sea, especially in To the Lighthouse (and The Waves also), but I will admit I was pushing myself to read quickly to get it finished before I came back and may not have paid full attention to all of it… I didn’t get into the first part as much I as have before, although I loved the middle section (that made me want to throw the book across the room in university!!) and quite liked the last part as well. And To the Lighthouse is certainly more accessible than The Waves, which is much more choppy and experimental, it has a strong storyline despite the stream of consciousness thing and is pretty short too. Also I just like that style of writing, George Eliot certainly hasn’t worked for me on the beach in the past, but Woolf is lighter and crisper than that and she’s got a rhythm that matches the water breaking on the shore.

      • Karenlibrarian says:

        Well, now I understand why you’d bring To the Lighthouse to the ocean! Makes perfect sense now.

        I just finished Flush and I liked it, thought it was so short . . . I wish it was longer so I could get a stronger impression of Woolf. I’ve only read Mrs. Dalloway which I didn’t really get, and A Room of One’s Own. I feel like I should really give Woolf a good try.

        I didn’t go on the Dragon rollercoaster because I only like baby rollercoaster, like the Flight of the Hippogriff which we did 2 or 3 times. I did get choked up when I walked into the Wizarding World too. It was terribly crowded, Thanksgiving was a terrible time to go. My daughter had been saving for months so we did get a good amount of souvenirs (and we all got wands). Of course nearly everything we bought is available online too! I’d love to go back but we’ll probably wait until they add something new to the WW.

  2. Chrissy says:

    How blissful to sit before the sea and read Virginia Woolf! Water is everywhere in her work – I recall someone in Academia collecting every single reference to water she wrote. Did you look up sometimes and see the same waves she was describing?

    I return to To the Lighthouse again and again. I find the longing in it very moving – and then to find Mrs Ramsay has died is incredibly sad. Lily with her painting says a lot to all artists, I think. And somehow, those packets of sandwiches do it for me too, triggering memories of family outings when our mother always made them.

    I hope spring isn’t too far away in your part of the world.

  3. bookssnob says:

    I’m so glad you had such a wonderful time! Virginia at the beach sounds incredibly lyrical and relaxing. Such a hauntingly beautiful book. Hope you’re not shivering too much!

  4. Danielle says:

    What a lovely beach picture–it sounds so nice–sunshine and sand a book in your hand as well. Glad to hear you had a good time. Isn’t the von Arnim a great story? I plan on reading more of her work now. I’ve read one of Elaine Dundy’s others books, but not yet The Dud Avocado. Sounds like you have a wonderful weekend lined up–those brownies sound yummy!

  5. litlove says:

    Welcome back! The Enchanted April and The Dud Avocado are both books I loved and thoroughly enjoyed – and of course I’m a fan of Woolf. Very glad you had a lovely time, although it is always nice to be home again.

  6. Iris says:

    I know I keep disappearing and then reappearing, and here I had missed that you were on vacation in Florida! But it looks like you had a good time. I liked The Enchanted April and I cannot wait to get to The Dud Avocado which is on my immediate TBR pile. And the Harry Potter theme park? I’m so jealous!

  7. Monica says:

    Hi there.

    What a treat – a great list of reads and sunshine and R&R. Although I admit I need a cosy chair in a quiet corner for Woolf.

    Ooh, I wish it had been a goodreads account instead. 🙂

  8. Darlene says:

    That sunshine looks so warm and I can’t remember what it’s like to whip out the door without taking twenty minutes to wrap up!

    Persephone Reading Weekend has been great but you’ve been missed. And what’s this about once a year baking? I practically needed my smelling salts!

  9. Penny says:

    Will you be utterly horrified if I tell you that I’ve never read any Virginia Woolf? My offspring studied To the Lighthouse and Orlando at university and loathed them, so… Maybe I should give her a try… 🙂

    However, I’m definitely going to read Enchanted April, which is snuggled on my TBR bookcase at the moment. But maybe I should wait till April? Not long now!

    Jane Austen and Elizabeth Gaskell? Now you’re talking! Glad you had such a lovely beach holiday! 🙂

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