Have been away from the blog for the weekend, visiting my mother (who as it happens makes very good apple cake). Anyway, so many comments that need to be answered, that I thought I'd better do a new post. First things first: Virginia Woolf -- my own particular favourites of hers are 'A Room of One's Own' and 'Flush' (about Elizabeth Barrett Browning's dog, but much else besides -- life, love, art, everything, really) and her letters, which are completely brilliant.
As for the insurmountable differences between men and women: I've just been re-reading my diary from the year I turned 17, and plus ca change. There are many agonised entries about someone called Andy, my first boyfriend, who is generally unkind to me. I tell him I love him, and he tells me not to be so soppy, so I apologise. Meanwhile, a much nicer boy called Julian says he is besotted with me, but I am still pining for horrid Andy. When I finally come to my senses, and split up with Andy, he decides he loves me, but it turns out he has also been seeing his ex-girlfriend, Amanda. By this time, I am on my way to becoming involved with someone even more unsuitable. Astonishingly, I manage to take a Cambridge entrance exam, the morning after yet another agonised encounter with Andy. I am interviewed there (apparently the tutors ask me about Shakespeare and Milton), and get a place to study English. In between weeping over Andy and reading a great deal of poetry, I also develop a secret taste for the historical novels of Jean Plaidy.
More of this later...
PS. Have just checked back over teen diary, and apparently I very much enjoyed Jean Plaidy's 'The King's Secret Matter' and 'The Road to Fotheringay'; sadly, have no recollection of either of them now.