My old tattered copy of Lolita by Vladimir Nabokov
One day I was walking through an old independent bookstore in Charleston, Illinois and I saw an old paperback of Lolita by Vladimir Nabokov. It was in a plastic Zip-Loc bag and when I asked the owner of the store why it was in the bag, she replied that it was placed there because of its unique cover. The cover seemed kind of simple to me- until she said that. The more I examined it, the more beautiful I thought it was. When I got home I started reading it almost immediately. I had no idea that I was slowly falling in love with literature at the turn of every page.
Lolita is the story of Humbert Humbert, a scholar and romantic, who becomes desperately in love with Lolita Haze- the gum-smacking twelve-year-old daughter of his land lady. Humbert agrees to marry Mrs. Haze just so he can be close to “Lo”. When an accident kills Mrs. Haze and Lolita begins to seek attention somewhere else, Humbert decides to carry her off on a cross country trip in order to keep her to himself. We follow them as their unsuitable relationship becomes obsessive and eventually ends disastrously. This humorous, lustful, heart breaking novel is truly a masterpiece.
As I laid there on my bed reading I became completely engrossed in the story. My feelings towards Lolita and Humbert Humbert were real! The content, although uncomfortable and taboo, is brilliant in the sense that it introduces what we would consider a horrible act and humanizes and romanticizes it. I was crying and cringing and falling in love! After I finished it, I wanted to read something else that would make me feel so absorbed… so I began reading more.
Vladimir Nabokov’s writing is unlike any other. The Russian-American novelist achieved international prominence after he began writing in English prose. He is well known for his originality, possibly because he had the rare gift of synesthesia.“An experimental novelist, Nabokov often played with various forms of novel composition. His works carry a unique element of intrigue and humor with literary allusions, deceiving word games and bizarre incidents. His most famous works Lolita (1955) and Pale Fire (1962) have been ranked number four and fifty-three respectively on the list of Modern Library 100 Best Novels while his memoir Speak, Memory was ranked number eight on the Modern Library nonfiction list.” (FamousAuthors)
Lolita will forever be one of my favorite novels. It is the book that began my literary journey and introduced me to an iconic story, beautiful prose, and a phenomenal author.
Do you have a book that made you fall in love with reading? Let me know in the comments!