Charlotte May's Reviews > Lolita

Lolita by Vladimir Nabokov
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did not like it
bookshelves: dnf

I’m thinking of DNFing. I’ve been told this is an important book and it makes you think. But the subject matter is just vile and it’s making me feel ill. I’m not enjoying it and I don’t know if I can carry on with it. Maybe one day I’ll try again but today is not that day.
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Reading Progress

December 16, 2016 – Shelved
December 16, 2016 – Shelved as: to-read
December 16, 2018 – Shelved as: own-tbr
December 20, 2018 – Started Reading
December 20, 2018 –
page 1
0.33% "Lent to me by a friend - intrigued to start this book I've heard so much about!"
December 30, 2018 –
page 25
8.14% "Ugh - this book is making me feel slightly sick. This Humbert guy is vile and full of himself."
December 31, 2018 – Shelved as: dnf
December 31, 2018 – Finished Reading
January 19, 2019 – Shelved as: dnf

Comments Showing 1-50 of 62 (62 new)


MischaS_ Hope you'll like it! I read this book way too young for it. But I was a bit obsessed with PLL so I had to read this one. But it's definitely on my to-re-read list!


message 2: by Tom Swift (new)

Tom Swift I have had this on my TBR list forever, looking forward to your review.


Charlotte May Thank you both - it’s certainly different so far!


Reenah I hated this book, I don't care what people say.


Charlotte May @Reenah: Glad it isn’t just me! Just horrible!


message 6: by Kimber (new)

Kimber I'm kind of scared to read it myself.


Charlotte May @Kimber: I honestly didn’t expect it to be as descriptive. Especially from the POV of the paedophile. 🤢


Charlotte May @Jeff: I completely understand where you are coming from. I’ve read books on murder, torture, rape, violence, slavery, suicide, incest none of which are easy to read about by a long shot. But there was something about the nature of the content in this book that truly sickened me. I don’t know what it is that makes paedophillia worse than any other act but to me it really is, and I just couldn’t stomach it. I almost wish i could just so I could finish it, but right now I could think of nothing worse than continuing inside Humbert’s mind.


message 9: by Newly (new)

Newly Wardell I love you so hard because I thought I was defective for not being able to stomach it. I mean to accept this story you have to be able to place some of the responsibility of this child. I mean he took her every interaction with him as a turn on. Its like she wanted to sit next to him in the backseat with him so he took it as evidence of her attraction to him. I couldn't get past that. Even her most innocent actions were made lewd because that's what he wanted to see.


message 10: by Newly (new)

Newly Wardell Thanks for giving me courage to be honest with myself. I don't want to read so I'm not. And I am okay with that. nabokov is a phenomenonal writer and I cant wait to read something else he wrote.


message 11: by filming.pages (new)

filming.pages I'm so scared to start this for exactly the same reasons you mentioned. The subject just seems so... Weird (for lack of a better word 😥)


MischaS_ While I like this book (but it was still very hard to read!), I truly understand where you are coming from.


message 13: by Ann-Marie (new)

Ann-Marie I tried to read it about 20 years ago. I did not like it either, and ended up dropping it. It was not so much disapproval for Humbert's behavior, but rather the ambiance of the.novel as a whole that defeated me.


message 14: by Joe (new)

Joe Krakovsky I agree with your review, Charlotte. I don't care how warm and fuzzy the story is, or how funny, or beautiful the writing is, to me certain things are taboo, if for no other reason than it may give some sicko an excuse, or make them think that their sick desires maybe aren't so bad after all. Man, if I wrote a book about the wonderful life on a slave plantation or the joys of treating females like property I would have people threatening to burn my house down!


message 15: by Wanda (new)

Wanda Deep respect for an honest review.


message 16: by Meow (new) - rated it 3 stars

Meow I read this when I was younger and it wasn't anything like I'd expected - I had to put myself in the mind of the characters to really "get it" - So was great to read a recent review of a book that I remember so vividly -


message 17: by Oumaïma (new)

Oumaïma  (readwithmima) Honestly this is why i never picked up this book.


Charlotte May @Newly Wardell: absolutely! He warped her every act into something grotesque for himself. Pure vileness


Charlotte May @filming.pages: weird is definitely a lighter word for it!


Charlotte May @MischaS: thank you :)


Charlotte May @Ann-Marie: I can understand that. It was a very weird setting and atmosphere


Charlotte May @Joe: absolutely Joe! Couldn't have put it better myself - it surprises me how many people rave about this book, how they can enjoy spending any amount of time in the mind of a pedophile is beyond me!


Charlotte May @Wanda: thank you Wanda :)


Charlotte May @Meow: thanks Meow :)


Charlotte May @Oumaima: to be fair sometimes I wish I hadn't. But at least I know now and can explain my thoughts to others


message 26: by Bren (new) - rated it 2 stars

Bren OMG ! I couldn't stand it either! I thought it was me! Never read such an overated book..just do not get it..and never will!


Charlotte May @Bren: so glad I’m not the only one! 😊


message 28: by Lars (new) - rated it 4 stars

Lars Dradrach Maybe i should count myself lucky to have read this as a carefree teenager, looking back with my 54 years of experience and being a father to 2 girls, I'm not sure i would get though it today.


message 29: by Max (new) - rated it 5 stars

Max I don't understand how someone rates 4/5 stars some authors such as Harlan Coben and other fashion writers and trash writers; and the same one rates Nabokov or Marquez with no stars or one star. Even if I understand the subjectivity of the opinion there are some parameters that are objectives. We cant ignore them. If we judge a book just with our personal opinion and the value of the book is the opinion of the mass. Literarue will die and we all will study Nicholas Sparks or Suzanne Collins at school within two generations.


Charlotte May @Max: well I rate on enjoyment. If we feel obligated to rate something higher just because it has lasted a long time or is referred to as “literature” then the point of honest reviewing becomes void. Also your point doesn’t apply to all literature as I love Dickens and the Brontes. If I enjoy a book I will say so. And if I don’t enjoy it I will say so, regardless of whether it is classed as “literature”


Charlotte May @Lars: definitely! If I read it younger maybe most of it would have gone over my head


message 32: by Max (new) - rated it 5 stars

Max Ok. I understand your point. But my point applies to all the literature that is why it is called literature. Cause literature is not subjective. In literature enjoyment, interpreted as fun, cant be the only parameter. This is a social network bias that permit to compare two works that we shouldn't compare. Shall I compare Mozart to Backstreet Boys? Nowadays on Facebook Backstreet Boys would always win. And even if I know
when I notice it
I feel chills.


message 33: by AttWaq (new)

AttWaq Literature is all subjective.
I don't think that rating a book higher because it is literature is right. Let's be honest, everyone here has a different taste and everyone can't love one thing. And if it is thought that rating a book higher will help it get through the next decade, then this is wrong. Even if we do rate a classic that we didn't like 5 stars, we won't recommend it, inspire others to read it, gift it. Therefore, the book will still die if it can't keep up.
The answer is not to rate a book higher because you think that it's an important part of our culture.


Charlotte May @Max: you say this is a social network bias. You are on a social network. That is exactly what this platform is for. Literature is absolutely subjective. How on earth could you say otherwise. There is nothing wrong with people enjoying the Hunger Games or Nicholas Sparks. No one is claiming is it better or worse than some of the classics. They are just different. So they shouldn’t be compared in the first place. Each should be taken individually on its own merits.


Charlotte May AttWaq: exactly! The classics survived for many reasons, often because there wasn’t such a wide amount of books to read as we have now. We are lucky we can read so widely and diversely and that we can voice our views on sites like Goodreads. Thank you for your view. All literature is subjective - couldn’t agree more!


message 36: by Alexandra (last edited Jul 08, 2019 09:24AM) (new)

Alexandra Max wrote: "Even if I understand the subjectivity of the opinion there are some parameters that are objectives. We cant ignore them. If we judge a book just with our personal opinion and the value of the book is the opinion of the mass. "

Clearly you are confused about what consumer reviews *are* and what they are *not*.

Consumer reviews are *not* literary criticism. They are *not* professional reviews. They are *not* objective. What they *are* are the personal opinion of that reader. They *should* be honest opinions of what that particular reader thought. That is where their value lies, and why it's important to have them *in addition* to other forms of critique.

Consumer reviews *are* the *one* place individual readers get to have their say - regardless of what anyone else thinks, or anyone else's criteria.

IF what you are wanting is something that *doesn't ignore* "parameters that are objectives" you should look elsewhere, cuz consumer reviews aren't what you're wanting.

" But my point applies to all the literature that is why it is called literature. Cause literature is not subjective. In literature enjoyment, interpreted as fun, cant be the only parameter."

"Literature" absolutely is subjective. Who exactly decides what is "literature" and what is not? When did these people decide it? What was their criteria? Why are some books excluded, others included?

Pffft. One person's "literature" is another person's piece of garbage. We don't need people in lofty ivory towers to tell us what is, and what is not, "literature".

Let me be more direct - THIS space is for Charlotte to express HER view of this particular book. Based on whatever criteria she likes. Period.

If you don't like how she reviews, move along and find others more to your liking.


Charlotte May Yes Alexandra! 🙌🙌


message 38: by Alexandra (last edited Jul 08, 2019 09:53AM) (new)

Alexandra Charlotte wrote: "Yes Alexandra! 🙌🙌"

I don't know about you, but I don't need any crusty academics from 100 years ago telling me what is, and what is not, of literary value.

Additionally, any list that doesn't include The Lord of the Rings as a literary masterpiece pretty obviously is not unbiased and objective :D

With rare exception in the category of "Children's Literature", what is deemed "literature" by some mucky mucks somewhere, sometime, is nearly exclusively Realistic Fiction. That pretty much screams bias to me ;)

In fact, "Literature" and "Realistic Fiction" are pretty much synonymous.

So this "unbiased" and "objective" argument simply doesn't hold water.


message 39: by Alexandra (new)

Alexandra Max wrote: "If we judge a book just with our personal opinion and the value of the book is the opinion of the mass. Literarue will die and we all will study Nicholas Sparks or Suzanne Collins at school within two generations."

HAHAHA no.

But I think even that would be preferable to propping up some trash like "Lolita".


message 40: by Bren (new) - rated it 2 stars

Bren Alexandra wrote: "Charlotte wrote: "Yes Alexandra! 🙌🙌"

I don't know about you, but I don't need any crusty academics from 100 years ago telling me what is, and what is not, of literary value.

Additionally, any lis..."

Agreed. I have never understood book snobs. I have seen books like 1984 given one star. The point is not to judge. Reading is great no matter what someone chooses to read.


Caroline I say abandon it. I know it's a classic, but I found it mostly boring and think it's overrated. Honestly, if you find the subject vile, stop reading and move on to something that you'll truly enjoy. You'll feel happier.


message 42: by Jodi (new)

Jodi Go ahead. I had to read it for a college course, but I'd have DNF'd it if I hadn't needed the grade. Remember who determines what is a "classic". I suspect most women wouldn't think Lolita is one of them.


Caroline Jodi wrote: "Remember who determines what is a "classic"."

Yes.

A reviewer here (forget who) recently said that a classic usually becomes a classic because it was the first example of its kind, not necessarily because it's the best of its kind. I like that.


message 44: by Max (new) - rated it 5 stars

Max If, in your view, the only criteria to judge a book is the consumer personal taste, we are basically talking about nothing.


message 45: by Jodi (new)

Jodi Relax, Max. As adults, our time is finite and our tastes are formed. Why don’t you go read something you think you might enjoy or learn from and let everyone else do the same?


message 46: by Alexandra (new)

Alexandra Max wrote: "If, in your view, the only criteria to judge a book is the consumer personal taste, we are basically talking about nothing."

Literally no one here has said “the only criteria to judge a book is the consumer personal taste,”

For one touting about Literature you have poor reading comprehension.


message 47: by DeA (new)

DeA Max wrote: "I don't understand how someone rates 4/5 stars some authors such as Harlan Coben and other fashion writers and trash writers; and the same one rates Nabokov or Marquez with no stars or one star. Ev..."

Students are already reading books the Hunger Games and Harry Potter in school instead of only reading "classic literature". There is a place for books from the past but there is merit in the new generation of books.

If we push that students, or people in general, must read and love books written over 50 years ago reading as a medium will continue to slowly die. Reading and reading comprehension are dropping across the world and unless we allow ourselves to enjoy what we read and not be forced to appreciate works that are no longer aligned with our current era then we can say goodbye to this medium of knowledge, tradition and learning.

Also, your later comment that people don't appreciate classic musicians like Mozart is BS. Sorry but if it is worth keeping, it will survive. I know plenty of people who prefer classical music over the current styles. There is reason for this and it is because their works are masterful and still connect with people intellectually and emotionally. There is a skill level that is demonstrated through those books. Even our current generation of music is influenced by the works of the past. If it is masterful enough, any work will likely continue to last the test of time. Not everything must stay forever. Opinions change and our connections to a work shift.

Now on another note, I agree that works like Lolita should be preserved. Not because they reflect elements that align with our tastes or morals but rather to reflect opinions and concerns of a generation. Some authors are very masterful with the craft of writing, their prose something that should be kept for future study. There is merit in that but that doesn't mean that the rating and opinion of the work should stay the same forever.

Harry Potter will one day be a classic and people might reach a point where they look back on it and wonder why it was loved as much as it is today. I don't think that is going to happen anytime soon but give it another 50 to 100 years, who knows.


David I don't think any subject is off-limits but it does depend on how it is treated. I recognize that Nabokov is a serious and important writer. Having said that, I have never enjoyed this novel and have no intention of returning to it!!


message 49: by Bren (new) - rated it 2 stars

Bren Max. You cannot think that everyone loves every classic just BECAUSE it is a classic.

Would you rate every classic a five just because it is critically acclaimed as a classic?

I have read everything from classics to Jackie Collins novels. I read anything and everything I can get my hands on.

That does not mean I LIKE everything..even if other people do.

If I rate a mystery a five I judge it against other mysteries. If I rate A piece of literary Fiction, I rate it against other Literary works.

Everyone has their own tastes but judging someone for what they read gets old fast. What is the purpose? I don't care if someone has never read a classic in their life..it's their own choice.

Life would be so dull if we only read old classics and labeled anything else not being worthy. Books have changed my life but not just the classics..all books.


Karen Nelson Life is short. Shelve it.


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