As booksellers, we often overhear customers lamenting that they've always meant to read “that other Jane Austen novel,” or Graham Greene, or Bram Stoker’s Dracula, but just never found the time. We've tried to remedy that with our Classics I Forgot to Read Book Club by providing motivation and a welcoming space to share your thoughts.

In choosing our ‘classics’ over the past few years, we've tried to select titles that had some visibility among readers, but were not necessarily included in the standard high school English class. We've also sampled a range of genres, from mystery (The Long Goodbye) to comedy (Cold Comfort Farm) to stream-of-consciousness (To the Lighthouse). So, whether our picks are already gathering dust on your bookshelves or this is your first encounter with the literary canon, we encourage you to join us on the last Wednesday evening of every month for conversation about the classics.

Tuesday, July 24, 2007

June 2006--Lolita

by Vladimir Nabokov

This is the classic that we chose to kick off our book club last year, with the hope it would provoke heated discussion--which it certainly did. Is Humbert Humbert a monster in his pursuit of the twelve-year-old “nymphet” Lolita? Or is he a victim of his own obsessions? How much of Lolita do we really know, since the story is told entirely from Humbert’s point of view? This is probably the most unusual and incendiary love story of the 20th century; Nabokov’s unsurpassed wit and style leave the reader dazzled. But underneath the beauty of the writing and his sardonic take on 1950s America lies a devastating tragedy. This tale of the theft of innocence and identity is as unsettling now as it was when it was first published fifty years ago.


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