The Next Best Book Club discussion

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Group Read Discussions > To the Lighthouse

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message 1: by Lori, Super Mod (new)

Lori (tnbbc) | 10089 comments Mod
A classic should never be spoiled. Be sure to mark your spoilers with the spoiler html code.


message 2: by Dee (new)

Dee (austhokie) | 616 comments this is next up on the pile - my library had it in audiobook format, so its on the ipod ready to go as soon as I finish up The Time Machine


message 3: by Max (new)

Max I'm just returning to goodreads after a long hiatus, and I'm excited to see that this is the chosen book for my first month back. I love Virginia Woolf with a passion, but haven't gotten to reading this one yet. I'm not sure it's normal to be as excited as I am to read this...


message 4: by Meg (new)

Meg (mkop359) Ms. Woolf's writing style certainly does take some getting used to! I found myself exhausted after only a few pages of paragraph-long sentences. It's becoming easier as the book grows on me and I hope I can get to the point where I appreciate the long-winded character of her writing. This will definitely be a challenge!


message 5: by Angela (new)

Angela Sellers Meg wrote: "Ms. Woolf's writing style certainly does take some getting used to! I found myself exhausted after only a few pages of paragraph-long sentences. It's becoming easier as the book grows on me and I h..."

Thank you for saying this. I have had some trouble getting into it, so it's encouraging to know that I am not the only one having trouble getting used to the long sentences :)


message 6: by Kenneth P. (new)

Kenneth P. (kennethp) Mercy.... I love this book and just discovered this discussion. I haven't read the book in years but still remember it well. Is my paperback copy still in the house?


message 7: by Serenity (new)

Serenity | 24 comments First off, I have to say that I'm not a huge fan (to be exact, not a fan at all) of Virginia Woolf's writing style. This was my second attempt at reading one of her works, and I had to resort to Sparknotes for almost half of it. I read this for a college course.

One thing my professor told us about this book that I thought was really cool, though, is the structure. I'm going to share in case anyone is interested. Virginia Woolf apparently wrote this book as part of the post-war generation, trying to make sense of / come to terms with the violence and trauma of the war. The structure of this novel reflects that: (view spoiler)

That was the only bit I remember from our class discussions of this book...I was bored to catatonia during the rest of the discussions.


message 8: by Emilly R (new)

Emilly R (rosario0829e) | 198 comments I own this book ,and, i haven't been able to read it yet;because i am having difficulty getting into it,thank for this post


message 9: by Heather L (new)

Heather L  (wordtrix) Finished this book yesterday and, like others, I did have a little trouble getting into it at first with the sometimes two-page long paragraphs (which also did not make it ideal for reading on the bus, et.), and sometimes had to reread what I had read.

Serenity: Liked what you said about the structure. Will be interesting to hear what others think of it.


message 10: by Meg (new)

Meg (mkop359) Well, I never did quite get over my dislike of the writing style. I found this an incredibly difficult read - often having to reread whole sections my eyes had just skipped over. The writing style was verbose and cluttered and difficult to follow at times. The only part I can say I actually enjoyed was "Time Passes". (view spoiler)


message 11: by Dani (last edited Jul 21, 2011 01:35PM) (new)

Dani (The Pluviophile Writer) (pluviophilewriter) | 237 comments Eloquently written and true to Woolf's style, To the Lighthouse is a thoughtful reflection of people, women, men, families, life, death and knowledge. I didn't enjoy this book as much as I did Mrs. Dalloway but this novel carried the same tone and reflections. I wouldn't say that this book is for everyone as it doesn't go anywhere fast and Woolf's characters do tend to take long pauses on their thoughts about life and some readers may not be able to stick with. For those who would like to read something more invigorating by Woolf I would suggest A Room of One's Own. It's an extremely insightful essay about women and knowledge and an it's an accurate representation of women and of the world Woolf was living in. I do love Woolf, her writing is outstanding and it always leaves me with something to ponder and this novel is no exception.


Gitte - Bookworm's Closet (gittetofte) I read this a few yers ago and found it very interesting. But I just think she's too difficult to read and I never really enjoy her books because of that...


message 13: by Max (new)

Max Dani wrote: "Eloquently written and true to Woolf's style, To the Lighthouse is a thoughtful reflection of people, women, men, families, life, death and knowledge. I didn't enjoy this book as much as I did Mrs...."

I'm glad at least one other person seems to love Woolf!

I just finished To the Lighthouse this afternoon and -- this is probably a rash statement to make, since I just finished it and am still basking in the feeling of it -- but it's one of the best books I've ever read. Woolf writes with talent unlike any author I've read before. This isn't a plot-driven novel, it's slow, but that exactly how it's supposed to be.

The genius of the novel is how intricately Woolf goes inside each character's head, makes each character so unique and yet so strangely familiar - so many times I found myself strangely emotional, and when I forced myself to intellectualize the emotion, I realized it was because either currently, or in the past, once or many times, I felt the same way the characters felt. Of course my own circumstances and subjectivities were attached to these emotions, but Woolf seems to have had such a profound wisdom of the human spirit that even 80 years later, I still identify with the thoughts and emotions of her novel in a very profound way.

As a side note, I do think this book is more enjoyable if you're an artist of some sort. Although far from what this book "is about" (I never feel comfortable defining what a book is "about," because a good book, I feel, can never be explained so simply), a lot of the novel dives into the artistic process, and the reasons for needing to make art. If you're an artist, I think you'll identify with most of Lily Briscoe's thoughts, as she seems to be a thorough examination of the artistic process.

This book can be for anyone willing to put the effort in, though. It's not an easy read by any means. The writing did take some getting used to. But it was worth it. I think it's best to tackle this book as an emotional journey rather than whatever usual way you go about reading books. Though I assume most of the books you read do take you on an emotional journey of sorts, To the Lighthouse should not, I believe, be intellectualized while read. It should be felt. If you feel the novel, then I truly believe you'll enjoy it just as much as I did.

Oh boy, sorry for the wordiness! I do ramble when talking about a good book.


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