Fat Books & Thin Women

30 Day Book Meme, Day 14
August 15, 2011, 5:54 pm
Filed under: 30 Day Book Meme | Tags: , , , , ,

Favorite book of your favorite writer:

A few months ago I was talking books with some people when someone mentioned he’d read Nabokov’s Ada, or Ardor. He thought Nabokov was out of his prime and that the novel was little more than an overblown love story.

Nothing gets my hackles up like someone dissing Ada. I am not known for being the kindest or most understanding person, and hearing someone bash my favorite book had me aiming for a smackdown. If nothing else, this is a sign that I do indeed like Nabokov too much. Any other author and I would’ve been thrilled the guy had read this book; I know that Ada isn’t topping many people’s to-read lists, because it’s longer than any of Nabokov’s other books and on about a Pale Fire difficulty level. But this is Nabokov, so I had to tell him he didn’t understand the book, and I’m only now realizing I should never talk about Nabokov in public again.

So, my defense of the book: yes, Ada is a love story (of Ada and Van Veen). Yes, the characters are unlikeable. But the book is also an exploration of time and memory and suggests a non-linear nature to time that makes exploring the book almost a puzzle. What I like about it so much, I think, is that Ada and Van’s time never ends for the reader. The book is left unfinished, and on rereading you can locate the disjointed or incomplete sections of the book, the idea of the primacy of memory (even when it fails [but then, what does it mean to say “memory has failed”? Simply that it is not fact?]). It’s the idea of “the logical impossibility to relate the dubious reality of the present to the unquestionable one of remembrance” (251) that I like, that memory is more permanent and more real than the present moment.

30 Day Book Meme:
Day 01 – The best book you read last year
Day 02 – A book that you’ve read more than three times
Day 03 – Your favorite series
Day 04 – Favorite book of your favorite series
Day 05 – A book that makes you happy
Day 06 – A book that makes you sad
Day 07 – Most underrated book
Day 08 – Most overrated book
Day 09 – A book you thought you wouldn’t like but ended up loving
Day 10 – Favorite classic book
Day 11 – A book you hated
Day 12 – A book you used to love but don’t anymore
Day 13 – Your favorite writer
Day 14 – Favorite book of your favorite writer
Day 15 – Favorite male character
Day 16 – Favorite female character
Day 17 – Favorite quote from your favorite book
Day 18 – A book that disappointed you
Day 19 – Favorite book turned into a movie
Day 20 – Favorite romance book
Day 21 – Favorite book from your childhood
Day 22 – Favorite book you own
Day 23 – A book you wanted to read for a long time but still haven’t
Day 24 – A book that you wish more people would’ve read
Day 25 – A character who you can relate to the most
Day 26 – A book that changed your opinion about something
Day 27 – The most surprising plot twist or ending
Day 28 – Favorite title
Day 29 – A book everyone hated but you liked
Day 30 – Your favorite book of all time

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Lovely description, but I have to say that the chances are low I’ll ever read it. I’ve failed at Pale Fire, which you liken it to, and at Lolita (twice). I do plan to give Nabokov at least one more go though. And I love the idea of exploring the book itself.

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