“Literature is strewn with the wreckage of those who have minded beyond reason the opinion of others.”
Despite Elizabeth Taylor’s infamous play, the actual script had nothing to do with Virginia Woolf. The author, Edward Albee, had written the play and was still struggling with a title for it. He actually saw some poor Lit major’s frustration scrawled into the wall of a restroom, that said, “Who is afraid of Virginia Woolf?”
Now she lives in infamy through Albee’s play. And if you know anything about Woolf, I’m sure you can imagine how delighted she would be by this.
“There is no gate, no lock, no bolt that you can set upon the freedom of my mind.”
― Virginia Woolf
That all being said, Virginia Woolf is one of my favorite writers and thinkers. I remember when I first read some of her essays in college, and reading the societal frustrations she railed against. While reading her essays, I was appalled to discover that although women were granted the right to vote only in 1920, which in my opinion has been a blemish to the history of our country; but, women were continually forbidden from libraries well into the 1970s:
So, there is no space for women in the library. I’m sorry, there are just too many women who want to be well educated! If we took one in, we would have to take them all in!
They also simply do not have enough books to fulfill the needs of women. However, the boys are still allowed into the girls’ library, since “boys cause less disturbance in a female environment than vice versa.”
And finally, the official Harvard opinion in 1966 is that the men at Harvard were not emotionally ready to be around women yet. Even though “boys cause less disturbance in a female environment.”
However, women may be allowed in the library from 2 to 5am. That makes sense. I have no idea why some women have been upset over silly things. Like being allowed into a library.
“Like most uneducated Englishwomen, I like reading–I like reading books in the bulk.”
― Virginia Woolf
Reading is not only very important, it is crucial.
It is crucial to becoming a well balanced person, and especially a person who has the desire of education.
This is why I take my kids to the library once a week. This is why I am constantly finding good literature to download onto my Kindle for us. This is why we have a sitting room with big squishy chairs for reading.
The love of reading doesn’t come easily to everyone, though. So many people have been stuck with literature in school that never spoke to them, and the stories just became “words on a page.” And the thing is, there are thousands of books out there…more than enough for everybody! There is literature out there that speaks to every individual. Sometimes you just have to have someone else show you where they are; and invite you in.
Which is where I come in…
This is my kids’ reading corner.
I was displeased with the way the schoolroom felt…it just felt like a room. No life to it. So, I took all of my boxes of fabric from out of the closet and the kids helped me pick out some decorations, and we created their own reading space. It is well lit, has comfy pillows with matching reading mats, plus a reading cupboard handy for the books they are going through.
This opens the room up, so instead of being a large box…it is now a reading environment!
Now the kids have their own special place to read, and they have been super excited about designing it with me.
Making a reading room for one’s own is vital to creating a safe place to let your mind explore. It doesn’t need to be fancy or expensive. It just has to be comfortable and inviting; and with many, many books available.
I would heartily recommend a reading room of one’s own for everyone.