So as I’ve mentioned to a couple of friends, I had a pretty ambitious reading list for the summer. One that I’m sad but not surprised to say that has hardly been dented, let alone even half-heartedly attempted. Maybe it’s just my bad habit of getting easily distracted or lacking follow-through or having commitment-phobia (but to literature? That’s a first.. oh, and FYI I’m feeling rather dash-happy) Long story short, I need to read. My vocabulary is slipping, I’m having way too many of those “OH WHAT’S THAT WORD AGAIN? OH OH OH.. I KNOW! I KNOW. *cue 2 minutes of frantic brain-roving* Okay, stopped caring. I’ll look it up later (re: never)” moments, and instead of having stimulating discussions about books that friends mention in passing, all I can do is express my desire of having wanted to read said book at some point in time.
“Blue Like Jazz” is staring at me accusingly from its untouched position at the left of my laptop. The slightly discomfiting cover of Nabakov’s “Lolita” is resting at my right. WHAT TO DO WHAT TO DO. Blue Like Jazz will hopefully be finished by tonight. I’m ashamed that it even took me this long to read it. It’s fairly short and Donald Miller has a breezy, casual writing style which surprisingly proves complementary to his sometimes weighty tidbits on Christian spirituality.
Lolita’s one of those books that has always been in the back of my mind as wanting to read but it was only until my English professor briefly mentioned it again that I’ve been anxious and overly excited to start it. I’m only a few chapters in but Nabakov’s prose is seriously brilliant. The man is a literary genius. I know Lolita’s the most commercialized of his works, but you can’t deny that it takes one heck of a writer to twist a tale of pedophilia into something poignant and heart-wrenchingly beautiful. I sometimes even find myself, dare I say it, SYMPATHIZING with the sick mind of the protagonist in all his wretched, obsessive, lovelorn tragedy. It’s just further testament to the power of a novel- its ability to completely skew the societal perceptions of morality and create a world in which you are appropriately repulsed yet utterly, helplessly intrigued. I think the key is that Humbert Humbert (the narrator whom I am convinced is the precursor for Woody Allen’s suspicious keenness towards a similar demographic) never tries to justify his insatiable lust for the “nymphets” he so fondly euphemizes. He knows it’s deplorable. He knows that nothing legitimate could ever arise out of the situations he puts himself in. But this is his sustenance, what brings him to life; this is what feeds the frenzy and passion in his heart and though he builds a respectable reputation and image for himself, his inner turmoil is constant. It’s like that Latin phrase (my girlcrush) Angelina has tattooed somewhere on her body: Quod Me Nutrit Me Destruit – What nourishes me also destroys me. Suitable for Humbert’s misfortunes, I think.
(Sidenote: For the closet pervies, looking up Lolita on Google Images procures an interesting array of Myspace-worthy jailbait. And I really do love these dashes. You combine two seemingly unrelated words with a teensy little line and voila! A whole new pseudo-creative lexicon is formed. Ah! I did it again! I can’t stop and I don’t want to!)
One of the tamer results.
Okay, I didn’t mean for this to turn into some kind of crazed Amazon book review but too late. And my opinion of the book could change entirely once I get past page.. 75. But for now, Lolita is keeping me thoroughly enthralled and I highly recommend it!
Will possibly write about real life later. Until then, don’t smother your pizza with crushed red peppers and oregano flakes right before an interview with a town official, during which you will be smiling excessively and be without access to any form of remote reflection. Just a thought.