Books That Inspire 2002

To the Lighthouse
Virginia Woolf

I first read To the Lighthouse in college, at a time when I was sure that what I perceived of the world was the unequivocal truth. In many ways, I was like the young James Ramsey, who gazes through the mist at the local lighthouse and sees a silvery tower whose magic yellow eye blinks knowingly in the distance. When James visits the lighthouse as an adult, however, he finds only a plain tower of whitewashed blocks. James realizes then that the lighthouse was both, for "nothing was simply one thing." To the Lighthouse inspired me to take James Ramsey's journey and look at the world from the different perspectives that time, distance, and experience afford.
Steven Gensler
Associate Professor