Mostly we do this for fun, but also for both my partner and I to get an opportunity to have experienced many books we both may never have read.
THE LISTENER & READER REVIEW:
- Lolita (Vladimir Nabakov)
My Partner (the listener):
Even though this book did feel like Humbert's ramblings would go on for an eternity, when my partner had finished reading a chapter, it did leave me wanting to find out more - where was all this going, and where will it end up? The book had moments of great entertainment where it felt like Vladimir Nabokov was showing off his prowess over the English language by using every descriptive word imaginable, and with some French thrown in for good measure. You certainly got a feel for Humbert's extremely complex character through his obsession for Lolita, Lolita, Lo! 4/5
Me (the readerer):
Chapter 25: "This book is about Lolita..." NO Humbert Humbert - this book is all about YOU! Lolita, your object of desire, is just a 'sexy lamp' for your twisted mind and obsessive disorder, and the words you write detail every aspect of your own admitted sickness and obsession until that obsession becomes all consuming.
I tried three times over the years to read this book but couldn't stand Humbert's excessiveness and tone, but the opportunity to read out loud meant I could slow down and invest each line with much more characteristics of tonal inflections. This is what makes the novel so great - Nabakov has exploited every aspect of the English language (remember Russian is his mother tongue) to convey to the reader the psychological insights to such a tormented mind. Now whether you agree or disagree with the character, like or dislike the book, mostly is irrelevant; I found the storyline not particularly engaging, but then I don't think it's supposed to be. If, for example, the book were to be edited down for bookclub or reader digest type purposes, it's so easy to be an editor and cut swathes of rambling and sidetracking away to thin the book, but then the reader doesn't get the true insight of character, the ridiculous philosophising and inane digressions. The whole point is to see this as a character study, and in that sense every single dreary word counts! 5/5