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Defector Reads A Book

Defector Reads A Book Is Back For January

a man and a woman sit in a cozy living room and read
Photo: Archive Photos/Getty Images

The new year has dawned and perhaps you made a list of resolutions and one of them was to read more. Perhaps that's why you are here at reading blogs right now! But have you considered... doubling up? To help you achieve your goals, expand your mind, and have a little fun for once, we are bringing back the roaringly successful program Defector Reads A Book for January.

In case you're not up to speed, or a little sleepy, here's how this works: we pick a book (you get no say), and then at the end of the month we discuss it and you, our readers, share with us your thoughts, feelings and knowledge of volcanic history in the comments. We've already done this for Maria Dahvana Headley's new translation of Beowulf and Anne Carson's Autobiography of Red.

Because we at DRAB like to keep you on your toes, we are not picking a book based on myths this month and are instead choosing a century old novel that recently entered the public domain (which means you can read it for free!). Our January selection is Virginia Woolf's Mrs. Dalloway.

(Original cover of Mrs. Dalloway)

Mrs. Dalloway is a mesmerizing story about a woman preparing for a party. The plot takes place over a single day in London, but Woolf's tale dips in and out of the present, taking us into the minds of her characters and their pasts. It debuted in 1923 and is considered one of the best English-language books of all time.

Maybe you've read it already. Now (when you are bored and also falling into fits of glamorizing or demonizing the past) is a great time to re-read it with us. Maybe you haven't read it, in which case my envy for you is great. I love Mrs. Dalloway.

Your mission is to obtain the book (we recommend an independent bookstore, your local library, or you can get it for free online here), read the book, think about the book, and then visit on Thursday, February 4 to read our discussion and add your comments. Consider putting it in your calendar so you don’t forget. The DRAB discussion group this month will be Maitreyi Anantharaman, Giri Nathan, and me.

If you have feedback or suggestions for DRAB, you can leave them here in the comments. You can also send an email to I will read it only if it is written in the "tunneling process" used by Woolf in this book and reveals at least one (1) secret just for me. Hope you enjoy the book.

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