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Light in August
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Group Reads: Pre-1980 > Light in August, by William Faulkner: Initial Impressions, May 2014

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message 1: by Lawyer, "Moderator Emeritus" (new) - rated it 5 stars

Lawyer (goodreadscommm_sullivan) | 2699 comments Mod
Here's the starting point for our discussion. No spoilers, please.

Mike


Josh | 185 comments I'm only 1 chapter in due to time limitations but I did find this really interesting piece about Faulkner's time in Hollywood. Moderator feel free to move this post to a Faulkner specific thread but it was a pretty interesting piece I happened to stumble into while starting my journey through Light in August (in May haha). http://gardenandgun.com/article/willi...


message 3: by Lawyer, "Moderator Emeritus" (new) - rated it 5 stars

Lawyer (goodreadscommm_sullivan) | 2699 comments Mod
Josh wrote: "I'm only 1 chapter in due to time limitations but I did find this really interesting piece about Faulkner's time in Hollywood. Moderator feel free to move this post to a Faulkner specific thread bu..."

Thanks for the interesting article, Josh. Meta Carpenter's kiss and tell, A Loving Gentleman: The Love Story of William Faulkner and Meta Carpenter is well worth a read.

Mike


message 4: by Lawyer, "Moderator Emeritus" (new) - rated it 5 stars

Lawyer (goodreadscommm_sullivan) | 2699 comments Mod
For those beginning their read of Light in August, check out the helpful information provided on Shmoop: http://www.shmoop.com/light-in-august/

Here you'll find a synopsis, characters, analysis, and themes.

Mike


Larry Bassett | 0 comments I appreciate all of the links above that have been provided to supplement the actual reading. I have my copy of Light in August purchased used online since I knew I could not manage with a library deadline. My other reading of Faulkner has left me challenged and sometimes defeated. My dilemma is that I do have a library copy of Swamplandia!, the other book this month, and it would be so easy to begin with that one and just somehow "unintentionally" never get to Faulkner! That just seems so wrong....but tempting.


Larry Bassett | 0 comments I continue to til the soil in the hope that some seed of Faulkner will take root. I found this review of his Collected Stories that did not calm my fears but helped me to appreciate Faulkner in what I thought was a realistic light: https://www.goodreads.com/review/show.... One way that I might be able to handle him is in smaller doses!


message 7: by Meghan (new)

Meghan I believe I'm on page 100 or so. This has been a tough go for me and it's getting harder for me to decide why. I guess mainly I don't care about the characters (except maybe Hightower) and the inner dialogue can begin to feel like wading through mud. I had to read so many books in school I didn't want to and vowed that I would never force myself again to read something I didn't enjoy and this is slowly inching it's way towards that...


Josh | 185 comments I made it to the end of chapter 2 tonight and for me, this one seems to be much more approachable than the other Faulkner texts I have read. I am enjoying it although already I can see the set up is leading to some unexpected twists. I will save anything more than that for the final impressions thread.


message 9: by Diane, "Miss Scarlett" (new) - rated it 5 stars

Diane Barnes | 3968 comments Mod
Like you, Josh, I just finished chapter 2 and am pleasantly surprised at the ease of reading this one. So far there's no intricate stream of consciousness run on sentences to make sense of. Although I've perfected my technique and was expecting that style of writing. Unlike some other posters here, I am liking the characters and do care what happens to them.


message 10: by Lexy (new) - rated it 4 stars

Lexy | 24 comments I must agree with Josh and Diane. I'm finding this to be a much easier read than previous Faulkner's. But I'm keeping the shmoop guide handy just in case. It has been wonderful to use for previous reads. Thanks!


message 11: by Diane, "Miss Scarlett" (new) - rated it 5 stars

Diane Barnes | 3968 comments Mod
I just finished Chapter 11, and am very caught up in the story. So far there's not really any intricate family pedigrees or relationships to keep up with, but the Schmoop guide is still very helpful.


message 12: by Diane, "Miss Scarlett" (new) - rated it 5 stars

Diane Barnes | 3968 comments Mod
Very happy to see Gavin Stevens make a cameo appearance in chapter 19. I've missed him.


message 13: by Josh (new) - rated it 5 stars

Josh | 185 comments Going slow but not in the way that normally means. This is a savor it experience for me. I keep snapping photos with my phone of lines and quotes from the book. I can see how some might NOT like it, but I keep replaying it and it's now made its way into my dreams which only happens a few times each year.


message 14: by Karen (last edited May 13, 2014 10:26AM) (new) - rated it 4 stars

Karen Josh wrote: "I made it to the end of chapter 2 tonight and for me, this one seems to be much more approachable than the other Faulkner texts I have read. I am enjoying it although already I can see the set up ..."
Hi, I just joined this group! I just finished reading Light in August, I did like it and agree that it is one of Faulkners more accessible books. I have also read As I Lay Dying, The Sound and the Fury, which is my favorite, and Absolom, Absolom, which was the hardest for me.


message 15: by Karen (last edited May 13, 2014 10:44AM) (new) - rated it 4 stars

Karen Larry wrote: "I appreciate all of the links above that have been provided to supplement the actual reading. I have my copy of Light in August purchased used online since I knew I could not manage with a library ..."
Remember not to try and decipher every paragraph Faulkner writes, I don't think it's possible. Concentrate on the beautiful and unique style. Also know that he writes about people- "the human heart in conflict with itself". So it's not so much about a linear storyline, although this story is more linear than his others- he really gets into a characters head, in very subtle ways, with careful reading, it has a profound effect. It takes me 3 wks or a month to read him-I love Faulkner, the first time I read him I thought I would never again, this was years ago and I can't remember the book. I am so glad I gave him another try.


message 16: by Diane, "Miss Scarlett" (new) - rated it 5 stars

Diane Barnes | 3968 comments Mod
Hi Karen, welcome to our group. Thanks for jumping right in on the Light in August discussion. You're right about not trying to decipher every paragraph, instead just let the language do it's work. I felt the same way about Faulkner when I was young and am very glad I gave him another try.


Karen Diane wrote: "Hi Karen, welcome to our group. Thanks for jumping right in on the Light in August discussion. You're right about not trying to decipher every paragraph, instead just let the language do it's wor..."

Thank you for your welcome. I get excited when people say they have trouble with Faulkner but keep reading him and end up liking or loving him!


Larry Bassett | 0 comments Hi Karen! Thanks for the encouragement. In my mind I have committed myself to reading one chapter each day and I have made it to the third day! I imagine counting the days like someone who is trying to quit smoking! Yikes! I hope the story is enough of a reward to keep me on track. This works with my "smaller doses" concept that I mentioned in an earlier post.


message 19: by Karen (last edited May 13, 2014 02:13PM) (new) - rated it 4 stars

Karen Sometimes I have to go back and read over. I also can't skip a day reading Faulkner, if your strategy works- that's great!


message 20: by Patricia (new)

Patricia Weil | 168 comments This is a non sequitur comment, posted where I can perhaps get the attention of Diane, as moderator. I am no longer getting messages from the group and do regret that, although I'm not reading along right now. I have been into my account and edited my settings, trying to correct the problem. But still no mailings. Does anyone have a clue what might have gone wrong?

Thanks!


Franky | 320 comments I'm only about 2 chapters in, but so far this is the most accessible I've seen Faulkner (after reading The Sound and the Fury and As I Lay Dying). I'm waiting for the other shoe to fall though.


message 22: by Josh (new) - rated it 5 stars

Josh | 185 comments Franky I'm almost done and don't think you'll find anything like the other Faulkner texts. There's a little "who is he speaking about" here and there but it quickly resolves. Nothing like the others where I had to go back, reread, reprocess, refocus. This one is quite good despite being quite different.


Larry Bassett | 0 comments Franky wrote: "I'm only about 2 chapters in, but so far this is the most accessible I've seen Faulkner... I'm waiting for the other shoe to fall though."

I am still waiting after six chapters for something about this story to grab me and make me want to know more. Letting Faulkner's words "wash over me" has not worked so far.


message 24: by Diane, "Miss Scarlett" (new) - rated it 5 stars

Diane Barnes | 3968 comments Mod
Patricia wrote: "This is a non sequitur comment, posted where I can perhaps get the attention of Diane, as moderator. I am no longer getting messages from the group and do regret that, although I'm not reading alo..."

Do you mean you're not getting emails when comments are posted, or goodreads emails that go out to everyone in the group from Mike? If it's regular email, that happened to me too shortly after joining, even tho I have checked the email box. So I just go into the group on my computer or Nook and check out any new comments that have been posted.


message 25: by Patricia (new)

Patricia Weil | 168 comments >Do you mean you're not getting emails when comments are posted, or goodreads emails that go out to everyone in the group from Mike?<

Thank you, Diane. Nope, am getting neither. At least from your reply I know that this happens, even if no one can figure out why. I'm doing exactly what you did--going into the group--and am hoping to join the discussion for Flowering Judas.


message 26: by Diane, "Miss Scarlett" (new) - rated it 5 stars

Diane Barnes | 3968 comments Mod
I also subscribed to the daily quotes, but don't get them either. Not sure why.


Karen Brenda wrote: "Larry wrote: "Franky wrote: "I'm only about 2 chapters in, but so far this is the most accessible I've seen Faulkner... I'm waiting for the other shoe to fall though."

I am still waiting after six..."



Why did you hate this one then?


Laurel | 9 comments I'm only a few chapter in but am loving it so far. This is my first Faulkner and I'm not finding the writing too hard - it isn't a 'light' read by any means but I'm enjoying his style - I think sometimes you are just in the right mood or frame of mind for certain authors but if they don't catch you at the right time you can struggle with them - I reckon a few years ago I wouldn't have liked this at all but I can easily see myself rating it 4 or 5 stars.


Larry Bassett | 0 comments Laurel wrote: "I think sometimes you are just in the right mood or frame of mind for certain authors but if they don't catch you at the right time you can struggle with them."

Maybe this is true for me, Laurel! After struggling with 1-6, I read through chapters 7-9 and enjoyed them quite a bit. I even thought I understood what was going on! And then I hit another brick wall where even the synopsis didn't help. The James River rolls by my window high and brown today from yesterday's rain. I wonder how Faulkner will be? Maybe chapter 13 will be lucky for me!


Karen Brenda wrote: "Karen wrote: "Why did you hate this one then? "

Karen, the story line just never picked up for me and I never found a character I really 'liked'. I'll try it again in a few years, maybe it'll cli..."


Yes, story lines can be hard with Faulkner- his concentration is on his characters, and even then his descriptions of them can be so subtle. He shows us their actions, and it is up to us to figure out why they do what they do. I liked Light in August, but for me TSATF and As I Lay Dying are my favorites.


message 31: by Franky (last edited May 18, 2014 05:44PM) (new) - rated it 4 stars

Franky | 320 comments I'm currently reading chapter 4 and am really enjoying this one. I really like how Faulkner paints a picture of the characters so far. Even though they seemed flawed, they are sympathetic.

So, I see the isolation/alienation theme seem to come up so far (in Lena, Bunch, and the Reverend). For some reason, the way the character of Lena is presented seems a little like Hester Pyrnne (in The Scarlet Letter) so far. Also, the hypocrisy of the small town "public" seems to coincide with the Puritan community in The Scarlet Letter.


Heather Fineisen | 64 comments I am immediately drawn in to the story but I don't think Faulkner likes women very much. About 100 pages in. Some masterful sentences. I'm a fan.


message 33: by Judi (new) - rated it 5 stars

Judi | 417 comments I am on chapter 10. Savoring it slowly. I feel the isolation, disconnect, loneliness. Each on their own path, all bruised. I see Edward Hopper paintings in my mind when reflecting on what I have read. Rich visuals. Faulkner is a wordsmith. I'm depressed.


message 34: by John (new) - rated it 4 stars

John | 533 comments Edward Hopper, another great idea.

Andrew Wyeth, even though he's from the north his field scenes And Christina's World. http://www.moma.org/collection_images...


message 35: by Judi (new) - rated it 5 stars

Judi | 417 comments John wrote: "Edward Hopper, another great idea.

Andrew Wyeth, even though he's from the north his field scenes And Christina's World. http://www.moma.org/collection_images..."


Yes, I agree. Even though he is from New England, he captures the spirit and the times. His field scenes and Night Hawk comes to mind.


message 36: by Lawyer, "Moderator Emeritus" (new) - rated it 5 stars

Lawyer (goodreadscommm_sullivan) | 2699 comments Mod
Judi wrote: "I am on chapter 10. Savoring it slowly. I feel the isolation, disconnect, loneliness. Each on their own path, all bruised. I see Edward Hopper paintings in my mind when reflecting on what I have re..."

Below is "The Best of People" by Alabama Artist John F. Carlson.

 photo TheBestofPeopleMed_zps3cbaae6a.jpg

I spoke to Carlson about the origins of the painting. He was driving through small towns in Mississippi on a Saturday morning. The perspective is from the Courthouse looking at the "Best of People" who have come into town to meet and greet, watch folks, and shop. It's one of my favorite paintings. The first time I ever saw the painting I thought of Oxford and Faulkner's "People." Unfortunately John died several years back. He's greatly missed.

Mike


message 37: by John (new) - rated it 4 stars

John | 533 comments terrific Mike, white shirts, suspenders and hats. Notice there are twelve as in the Last Supper?


message 38: by Lawyer, "Moderator Emeritus" (new) - rated it 5 stars

Lawyer (goodreadscommm_sullivan) | 2699 comments Mod
John wrote: "terrific Mike, white shirts, suspenders and hats. Notice there are twelve as in the Last Supper?"

Yes. I had noticed that. Also twelve as in a jury. I always believed that juries were the best of people. They wanted to do the right thing. And they did their best to do it.

Mike


message 39: by Karen (last edited May 23, 2014 03:42PM) (new) - rated it 4 stars

Karen Heather wrote: "I am immediately drawn in to the story but I don't think Faulkner likes women very much. About 100 pages in. Some masterful sentences. I'm a fan."

Oh I disagree concerning women- what makes you think that? Lena Grove is a strong woman, Dilsey, from The Sound and the Fury is that story's hero. Faulkner said she was his favorite character.


message 40: by Judi (new) - rated it 5 stars

Judi | 417 comments Mike wrote: "Judi wrote: "I am on chapter 10. Savoring it slowly. I feel the isolation, disconnect, loneliness. Each on their own path, all bruised. I see Edward Hopper paintings in my mind when reflecting on w..."

The painting speaks volumes. Thanks for sharing.


Karen Brenda wrote: "Mike wrote: "John wrote: "terrific Mike, white shirts, suspenders and hats. Notice there are twelve as in the Last Supper?"

Yes. I had noticed that. Also twelve as in a jury. I always believed..."


I think there is someone behind the tree


message 42: by Lawyer, "Moderator Emeritus" (new) - rated it 5 stars

Lawyer (goodreadscommm_sullivan) | 2699 comments Mod
Karen wrote: "I think there is someone behind the tree "

Yes. There's someone behind the tree. In a larger image it's more noticeable.

Mike


message 43: by Lawyer, "Moderator Emeritus" (new) - rated it 5 stars

Lawyer (goodreadscommm_sullivan) | 2699 comments Mod
Judi wrote: "Mike wrote: "Judi wrote: "I am on chapter 10. Savoring it slowly. I feel the isolation, disconnect, loneliness. Each on their own path, all bruised. I see Edward Hopper paintings in my mind when re..."

When you mentioned Hopper, I thought you might like the Carlson. That painting has always spoken volumes to me.

Mike


message 44: by Judi (new) - rated it 5 stars

Judi | 417 comments Mike wrote: "Judi wrote: "Mike wrote: "Judi wrote: "I am on chapter 10. Savoring it slowly. I feel the isolation, disconnect, loneliness. Each on their own path, all bruised. I see Edward Hopper paintings in my..."

I do. Very much. The painting you posted captures the Faulkner vibe.


message 45: by Sue (new) - rated it 5 stars

Sue | 658 comments So nice to read all these comments. I have been delayed in starting the book but I still plan to read it. I last read it in 1970, while in college, for my thesis. I'm really interested in what my reaction will be after all these years.


message 46: by Lawyer, "Moderator Emeritus" (new) - rated it 5 stars

Lawyer (goodreadscommm_sullivan) | 2699 comments Mod
Sue wrote: "So nice to read all these comments. I have been delayed in starting the book but I still plan to read it. I last read it in 1970, while in college, for my thesis. I'm really interested in what my r..."

I watched a thirty minute interview with Shelby Foote about Faulkner. When asked about which Faulkner was his favorite, he hesitated a bit, saying that on Tuesday it might be one, on Thursday another. Then he said that Light in August was Faulkner's best novel. I've loved them all, but this remains my favorite.

Mike


message 47: by Judi (new) - rated it 5 stars

Judi | 417 comments I too have enjoyed the comments. Insightful. This is likely the most accessible of Faulker's writing for me. I like this group. I was born and raised in California/LA, but I am a Southern soul at heart.


message 48: by Karen (last edited May 24, 2014 06:49AM) (new) - rated it 4 stars

Karen Hi everyone
Tell me what you think of my review of Light in August on my home page. It doesn't contain spoilers
Karen


Larry Bassett | 0 comments Karen wrote: "Hi everyone
Tell me what you think of my review of Light in August on my home page."


Karen, I enjoyed reading a review by someone who simply enjoyed the book and didn't necessarily offer any deep analysis - simple appreciation. As I struggle to get to the end with the hope that I will maybe read it again in five or ten years and get it, your review offers hope. But, for me, LIA the first time equals mostly agony! But I will save my copy for that future better moment.


Karen Larry wrote: "Karen wrote: "Hi everyone
Tell me what you think of my review of Light in August on my home page."

Karen, I enjoyed reading a review by someone who simply enjoyed the book and didn't necessarily o..."


Thanks! Again, if you don't enjoy it it's okay!!


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