Books I Read Over the Holidays
Lolita by Vladimir Nabokov
This book is brilliant. I was a little nervous before I read it, to be perfectly honest. The word "lolita" has become part of our regular vernacular to describe a sexually (ahem) advanced young girl, so I knew the basis of what this book would be about: an older man and his (ahem) relationship with a child. And while, yes, that is the plot of this book in the fewest words possible, it is not simply a disturbing tale of a sick man. It is also humorous and heartbreaking and surprising and terrifying and frustrating and witty. Told from the point of view of Humbert Humbert, who falls deeply and madly in love with 12-year-old Lolita herself, the writing alone - its completely beautiful syntax and clever plays-on-words - is worth the read.
L.A. Candy by Lauren Conrad
This book, by great contrast with the previous one, has absolutely, atrociously, unbelievably horrible writing. I don't think I'm kidding when I say it is probably written on a 5th grade reading level. Ugh. However, as an unashamed fan of reality television in almost all of its forms, I did genuinely enjoy reading this (ahem) fictional account of a girl named Jane who moves to LA and is cast on a reality show. It is quite clearly a retelling, in large part, of Lauren's experiences on Laguna Beach and The Hills (our heroine even has a crush on a guy named Braden...uh, pretty dang similar to Brody...), and I found it really interesting to read about it from the angle of the person who actually starred on the show. This is obviously a super quick read that requires no extra thought - maybe save it for a plane, a beach, or a pool!
The Age of Innocence by Edith Wharton
I've wanted to read this book ever since the characters on Gossip Girl performed a play based on it. Yep, it isn't my English degree that leads me to read classic American literature, but a teenage TV show. In the end, though, I don't care what led me to read it because I adored this book! Set in New York high society at the end of the 19th century, it follows Newland Archer and his struggle between his duty to tradition and conventionality, and his desire to break out of his societal prison. There are two women in his life - one that represents each side of his struggle - and his decision between the two tortures him. I was truly surprised to find my heart aching for this character up until the very last word. A really beautiful (and occasionally very humorous!) classic American tale.
P.S. Books I read in October, August, July, June, May, April, last winter