It’s been a while. I’ve been trying to get my reading in despite life’s little distractions. Good distractions, but still. I’ve set a higher reading goal for myself this year compared to last year’s goal of 25 books by the end of the year. This year I was aiming for 30, but I’m only at 19 so far. I say “only” because last year I read 31. But last year I also had no job, no money, and you guessed it, no life. But now I have all of those things but not as many books read. Why am I still talking about this? Moving on…
So I finally read Lolita by Vladimir Nabokov. Despite the thinness of the novel, it took me 5ever (longer than 4ever) to finish it. At first I was really immersed in the book. The writing is beautiful. Actually, that’s an understatement. The writing is some of the best I’ve read. The characters are well-developed and smart. Nabokov’s writing makes you feel witty and perfectly educated.
His character Humbert Humbert is so likable and charismatic that you don’t really mind his thoughts about a 14 year old girl until you actually step back from the book and think about it. And then you realize that Humbert’s thinking is so realistic that only a child-obsessed brain could write these words and perfectly pin-point these observations. Kind of gross.
I was quite bored during a lot of the story. It started out strong for me and then quickly went downhill. I trudged through it and I’m glad to say that I did. Would I read Lolita again? No. Do I appreciate the story for what it is? Sure.
After that I read A Tale for the Time Being by Ruth Ozeki. This book is very original and was definitely a breath of fresh air for me. The story is split between two juxtaposing lives. One being, Nao, a suicidal girl who lives in Japan and wrote a diary explaining her sad and sorry life circumstances. The other, Ruth, a married woman living on one of the small islands surrounding Vancouver. She finds Nao’s journal washed up on shore and becomes engulfed in the girl’s tale.
I have to give extreme props for originality with this one. I really liked the two settings. I learned a lot about ancient and modern Japanese culture yet I could relate to the depictions of Pacific Northwest island life. It was a cool mix that ended up working well. However, I did feel like there were some lulls in the story, but I remained interested because it felt very real.
And most recently I finished another Gillian Flynn book, Dark Places. This one was perhaps my least favorite of Flynn’s three novels. It just seemed kind of rushed and messy. Don’t get me wrong, it made sense, but I just didn’t connect with any of the characters or feel invested in what was going on. It was still an exciting read, but I liked Gone Girl and Sharp Objects slightly better.
In Dark Places, we meet Libby Day, a survivor of the brutal murders of her mother and two sisters one night in their family home. Her brother, Ben, has been locked away for 25 years accused as the murderer. Libby gathers new information about her family’s untimely deaths and learns that Ben may not be the one who killed her mother and sisters after all.
In all of her books, Flynn tries to throw the audience for a loop in a betcha-didn’t-see-that-one-comin’ kind of way. There is definitely a good element of surprise, a lot of suspicious characters, and a few red herrings, that keep the reader guessing. It’s a fun, easy read to take your mind off of the normalcy of every day life.