It is so rare to hear Woolf speaking in this voice—the voice of a reader in the process of making a judgment. Equally rare, if less vivid, is the chance to leaf through the pages and see how she took notes, what quotations stood out for her. Just seeing that she used the left margin to note page numbers is of interest to me, and, in reading through the notebooks back in June, I found that I had some answers to the kinds of questions readers always want to ask writers—how do you take notes? what kind of pen do you use? when you’re working on a review, how much research do you do? what books influenced you most when writing this one?
Having perused a few of these volumes for my edition of Mrs. Dalloway, I remain grateful to Silver and staunch in my admiration for what she achieved, but I wish her book offered readers more of the romance of reading that I found while working with the actual documents in the Berg Collection.