We are proud to announce that BookBrowse has won Platinum in the 2024 Modern Library Awards.

Who said: "Second hand books are wild books..."

BookBrowse's Favorite Quotes

"Second hand books are wild books, homeless books; they have come together in vast flocks of variegated feather, and have a charm which the domesticated volumes of the library lack."
— Virgina Woolf

Virginia WoolfeVirginia Woolf (1882-1941) was a British novelist, essayist, critic and a central figure of the Bloomsbury group*. She was educated at home by her parents - Julia Jackson Duckworth, a member of the Duckworth publishing family, and Leslie Stephen, a literary critic and founder of the Dictionary of National Biography. She experienced a series of traumatic deaths during her teens - first her mother died, then two years later, her half-sister Stella Duckworth, followed by the slow death of her father from cancer. When her brother Toby died in 1906 she suffered a prolonged mental breakdown - the first of many.

It was after the death of her father in 1904 that she, her sister and two brothers, moved to the house in Bloomsbury which would become central to the activities of the Bloomsbury group. In 1905 she began writing for the Times Literary Supplement; and in 1912 married the political theorist Leonard Woolf. Her first book, The Voyage, was published in 1915, but it was not until 1927 and the publication of To The Lighthouse, followed by The Waves (1931) that she established herself as one of the leading writers of modernism. In edition to her novels, she was also a prolific essayist, publishing more than 500 essays starting in 1905.

By March 1941 her mental condition had deteriorated markedly. Unable to face another bout of illness she loaded her pockets with stones and drowned herself in the River Ouse near her Sussex home.


*Named after the Bloomsbury area of London, the group included Virgina Woolf, Lytton Strachey, E.M. Forster, Vita Sackville-West, Roger Fry, Clive Bell and John Maynard Keynes. The group met from 1904 up to World War II. It started out as a social clique formed by a few Cambridge University graduates and their friends who met on Thursday nights for drinks and conversation. They were committed to pushing against the restraints and taboos of Victorianism on religious, artistic, social and sexual matters. By the 1920s their reputation as a cultural circle was established to the point that the groups mannerisms were parodied and Bloomsbury became eponymous for anything considered aesthetically insular or snobbish.

More Quotes

This quote & biography originally ran in an issue of BookBrowse's membership magazine. Full Membership Features & Benefits.

Support BookBrowse

Join our inner reading circle, go ad-free and get way more!

Find out more


Top Picks

  • Book Jacket: The Ascent
    The Ascent
    by Adam Plantinga
    Adam Plantinga's brilliant debut novel, The Ascent, introduces readers to former Detroit police ...
  • Book Jacket: The Curse of Pietro Houdini
    The Curse of Pietro Houdini
    by Derek B. Miller
    Derek B. Miller's sixth novel, The Curse of Pietro Houdini, opens in the town of Cassino, Italy, in ...
  • Book Jacket: Our Moon
    Our Moon
    by Rebecca Boyle
    In Our Moon: How Earth's Celestial Companion Transformed the Planet, Guided Evolution, and Made Us ...
  • Book Jacket: Neighbors and Other Stories
    Neighbors and Other Stories
    by Diane Oliver
    The history of American segregation, along with changes to it in the 1960s, is sometimes taught and ...

BookBrowse Book Club

Book Jacket
Mockingbird Summer
by Lynda Rutledge
A powerful and emotional coming-of-age novel set in the 1960s by the bestselling author of West with Giraffes.

Members Recommend

  • Book Jacket

    Becoming Madam Secretary
    by Stephanie Dray

    She took on titans, battled generals, and changed the world as we know it…

  • Book Jacket

    Leaving
    by Roxana Robinson

    An engrossing exploration of the vows we make to one another and what we owe to others and ourselves.

Win This Book
Win The Cleaner

The Cleaner
by Brandi Wells

Rarely has cubicle culture been depicted in such griminess or with such glee."
PW (starred review)

Enter

Wordplay

Solve this clue:

I Wouldn't T H W A T-F P

and be entered to win..

Your guide toexceptional          books

BookBrowse seeks out and recommends the best in contemporary fiction and nonfiction—books that not only engage and entertain but also deepen our understanding of ourselves and the world around us.