Wednesday, January 18, 2012

So Let Me Say This About That: Lolita (1.18.2012)

Cover of first edition of Lolita,
published in 1955.
One of my New Year's resolutions was to read more. I tend to read non-fiction (and write non-fiction), but wanted to spice up my reading list with a few classics. A friend of mine told me that her book club read Lolita, so I thought why not? I'm probably the last person on earth to read this but somehow it just never popped up on the reading list at either St. Mary's or Our Lady of Lourdes.

It's rare to read a book that forces me to grab a dictionary every 10 minutes. My own Asperger's forced me to make a note of the words I didn't know in the first few pages. There were a lot of them*.

The friend who recommended the book to me is a fellow writer and just hideously literate. She totally denies this, but is someone who has not only read many of the classics but can comment in full on the story lines and how they compare to other books I've never heard of. Me? I can barely recall what I had for breakfast while I'm eating it.

Anyway, with the amount of writing I've been doing (both at work and at home) it makes me notice and appreciate the way a writer writes when I finally get around to reading. For example: Joan Didion and Vladimir Nabokov don't have much in common in their writing style, but I learn something from reading them both: Joan teaches me not to get bent out of shape about punctuation; and Vladimir teaches me that there can be many joys in using big words in a run-on sentence if you know what you're doing.

*midges, biscuity, sibilant, uranists, coevals, poltroon, girleen, voluptas, inveighled, fructuate. (My word nerdiness is definitely starting to expose itself...)