Books

Lily’s Literature #17


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. lolita

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.15811545

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.dark-places-cover-w352

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.

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11 thoughts on “Lily’s Literature #17

  1. I’ve always wanted to read Lolita. Maybe I’ll put it on my list again. It seems that all I’ve been reading lately is my Human Kinetics book in preparation for my exam and I’m sooooo bored.
    The other two books sound interesting.
    I recommend you read The Rainmaker by John Grisham. It’s absolutely one of my favorites.

    • Ehh just watch Lolita and save yourself some time haha! Hey, at least you’re reading smart stuff! I would be bored too, though. I’ll check out The Rainmaker. Thanks Sandy!

    • Ugh I hate that. I have extreme OCD in those circumstances so I always try to power through them and then I get frustrated at myself for all the time I wasted reading a book I hated from the start. I feel ya girl!

  2. Lolita is on my to-read list. But one of those weird books to carry around, if you know what I mean.
    In our grocery store, there’s a series of fruity wine drinks called Lolita. That seems all kinds of wrong.
    I’m struggling through Aunt Julia and the Scriptwriter, by Mario Vargas Llosa, a Peruvian writer. This was written in 1977, and I had heard good things about it, but it’s wooden. Maybe it’s just a bad translation.
    Prior to this, I read Traveling Sprinkler by Nicholson Baker and loved it. Breezy and cerebral both.

    • Definitely know what you mean. I felt my cool-level rise whenever I had it with me. Hah yeah not too sure about those wine drinks. But you should check out some of the alternate book covers for Lolita. There are some good ones in there. If you like stuff like that.
      Never heard of Aunt Julia and the Scriptwriter. However, I know from experience that South American writers just don’t do it for me. I like how you described it as “wooden” though. Hah. I’ll check out Traveling Sprinkler!

  3. Lolita is one of my top five favorite books. It’s a spectacular read (to me). I read it in my early 20’s and thought it was a well-written, comedic romp across the country. I loved every character. Then I read it again when I had a 10-year old daughter. I didn’t think it was so goddamn funny that time. Mostly, I was aghast that I once laughed at this story. I had forgotten how graphic some of it was. It’s amazing how life experiences can change your perception of a piece of art.

    • Totally! I loved the characters as well. Even though Humbert is kind of gross and creepy, you can’t help by being charmed by him. I have to give Vlad extreme props for making the reader feel so many differing emotions.

  4. I’m totally with you on Dark Places being less effective than Sharp Objects and Gone Girl. But you know, Dark Places did get a movie adaptation, which I found that a bit puzzling. Although maybe it could work out.
    I would’ve loved to see Sharp Objects adapted more but maybe eventually, right? 🙂

    • I found that puzzling as well! I’m sure Sharp Objects will get a movie because it doesn’t seem like Flynn has an issue with giving away the rights. Plus it’s so short. Easy peasy. But yeah I think it should’ve been chosen before Dark Places. 😀

  5. Couldn’t agree more with your thoughts about Lolita! I read it about 5 years ago and became totally immersed in the story…until about halfway through, when I started to feel as though it was a bit repetitive. Hmm, symbolism maybe?

    In saying that, I read the afterword and basically learnt that Nabokov decided to write Lolita in English ‘just for kicks’. Great. One of the greatest authors and most beautifully written novels of all time was written by someone whose second language is English. I feel like a bit of a failure in comparison.

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