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Monday, July 15 – Saturday, July 20
Enjoy some good summer reading.
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It should be noted that these book recommendations are not necessarily recently published works. As Ralph Waldo Emerson once said, “Never read a book that is not a year old.”
“I looked and looked at her, and I knew, as clearly as I know that I will die, that I loved her more than anything I had ever seen or imagined on earth. She was only the dead-leaf echo of the nymphet from long ago – but I loved her, this Lolita, pale and polluted and big with another man’s child. She could fade and wither – I didn’t care. I would still go mad with tenderness at the mere sight of her face.” ― Vladimir Nabokov, Lolita
Although Vladimir Nabokov’s first nine novels were written in Russian, it was his intricate English prose that brought him the most distinction and international prominence in the literary world. Lolita is Nabokov at his best. He wrote what would become his most famous and controversial book in 1955… in English. A decade later, he (himself) translated it into Russian. It is a tale about a middle-aged man, “Humbert Humbert” (this is not a typo!), who is both protagonist and erratic narrator — and his mad, obsessive (and very unseemly) love for a twelve-year old girl, Dolores Haze. “Lolita” is his private nickname for her. As Humbert narrates, he draws from the disturbing, broken fragments of his own selective memory. Needless to say, the love story is doomed from the start.
This book is a masterpiece. Listed as one of The 100 Best Books of All Time, Lolita was adapted for film (in 1962) by the brilliant director, Stanley Kubrick and then again (in 1997), by director Adrian Lyne.
Other novels (in English) by Vladimir Nabokov:
- The Original of Laura (published posthumously in 2009)
- Look at the Harlequins! (1974)
- Transparent Things (1972)
- Ada or Ardor: A Family Chronicle (1969)
- Pale Fire (1962)
- Pnin (1957)
- Bend Sinister (1947)
- The Real Life of Sebastian Knight (1941)
In addition, he wrote a vast body of work: many short story collections, plays, poetry, Russian novels and novellas, and a wide selection of non-fiction works (critical reviews, memoirs, etc).