I sometimes feel like I was born in the wrong time. My fondness for the past overwhelms me.
Reading books about love affairs set amidst The Great War.
- The Great War and Modern Memory by Paul Fussell
- The Girl at the Lion d’Or by Sebastian Faulks
- St. Lucy’s Home for Girls Raised By Wolves: Stories by Karen Russell
- The Laundromat Essay by Kyle Buckley
What a year. A Bacchanalian book buffet, and Van and I made right swine of ourselves.
We read Nabokov and other Russians (Gogol, Pushkin, Turgenev). We read about their wives and brothers. We read Anne Carson, Emma Bull, Colm Toibin, and Banana Yoshimoto. We read trash and treasure, pulp and Pulitzers.
My darling Van, your Ada looks back on our tumblr adventure with indescribable fondness. All my love to you, dear. The prospect of our future bookworming puts the dopiest smile on my face, and in my heart, you don’t even know.
As for our followers, Van and I are chuffed to have shared this journey of words with fellow Nabokov enthusiasts and folks who simply dig rocking out to weird stuff on the internet. Magnificent little freaks, the all of you.
Stay with us, for the journey is long and we do so enjoy your company.
Here we are in December and I find myself wondering what happened to this year. Where did it go?
Let us review some of the many books and assorted Nabokolia that my sister and I consumed:
- The Real Life of Sebastian Knight.
- Transparent Things.
- Best Russian Short Stories.
- Collected Short Stories of Vladimir Nabokov.
- Annotated Lolita. (FAIL)
- The Unreal Life of Sergey Nabokov (FAIL)
- Laughter in the Dark.
The noted (FAIL) belongs to me. My dear sister managed to read all of the books that we picked up this year. I sadly was not. My reading habits are far more dissociative.
What was read: three novels, a handful of short-stories, and a fictitious biography about Vladimir Nabokov’s brother.
What was blogged: bad Nabokov book covers, Letters from the Larvarium, Ornithographical Studies. A successful year if I do say so myself.
When we first started this project, I had this idea that we would be reading Nabokov books in a quick succession. That did not happen. But I am glad that we are pacing ourselves.
Looking ahead, there is still quite a bit of Nabokov to read. We have only read a few of his shorter works. There are many more short-stories to read. I would like to focus a bit more on that in 2014. His short stories are wonderful and provide quite a bit of discussion. I would also enjoy reading a bit more of ‘The Boyd’. Now that we have read a few more of Nabokov’s novels I think we will be able to enjoy more of Boyd’s criticism and scholarly work. Some of those references will no longer be lost on us. Let us make this a resolution.
How does a year fill up so quickly? Sister and I are both busy with our “other” lives. There are friends, family, work, school, and other books to read as well. We are bibliophilic-omnivores and we consume whatever we find suitable to our palate. Life is a feast and we gorge ourselves upon its plenitude. What a horrid line. I’m leaving it in.
I want to thank our dear readers for following along with us. This project is primarily about having a place for my sister and I to nerd out, but we are happy to let others join us as well.
My sister, what can I say? I love you. And I am happy that we have this thing in our life that we can share. Thank you for this adventure. 2013 has been a great year for Nabokov and other Nabokov-related nonsense.
Your darling brother Van.
PS. Let us pick up in the new year with The Eye by Vladimir Nabokov. Also, we will still be posting throughout the holiday season. We are just taking a seasonal break before we start another major reading of Nabokov. Happy Holidays!
Things you should expect while reading Laughter in the Dark:
- Horrible old men.
- Horrible women.
- Horrible children.
- People named Albinus.
- Children who show up for 5 pages and then die.
- References to Tolstoy.
- Car crashes.
- Blindness: both literal and figurative.
The entire time I was reading this particular work I felt like Vladimir Nabokov was simply testing out ideas. My darling sister Ada and I have discussed how every book by Nabokov is a practice book for the next one. Laughter in the Dark is Lolita, Pnin, Ada or Ardor: A Family Chronicle, though not as interesting or well written.
Laughter in the Dark has some wonderful scenes and moments but the entire novel feels like a series of comedic sketches. Vladimir is practising his writing techniques.
I think much of my displeasure with the work has to do with the fact that the novel is filled with characters that I despise. Albinus, Margot, & Rex are loathsome and empty vehicles for a story that seems to go nowhere.
I am not one of those individuals who insists on liking the characters I am reading about. I relish the opportunity to read a good villain. But these characters are shallow and puerile. I am not left with much feeling after having read 180 pages.
Maybe with some time this novel will grow on me. I often find that Nabokov hits you when you least suspect it. As it stands though, not one of my favourite of his works.
Resident Evil’s Ada Wong.
Coincidentally, I look exactly like this with guns strapped to my thighs.
I’ve ignored the second half of Laughter in the Dark. I suspect that I shall ignore it for the remainder of the first half of this week as I am preparing for “real life” teaching related adult-stuffs.
Apologies to my darling sister. Life is busy.
PS - I suspect that playing games on my Xbox has also contributing to this failure. Apologies.