Lolita by Vladimir NabokovRead about the other books on the list.
I first read Lolita at 13, in the same way I listened to Nirvana’s Nevermind, or wore clip-on ear studs at that age: self-consciously. This meant I missed the humor in it, the sadness, and much else besides. I reread it more recently and this time laughed aloud at Humbert’s machinations, the elaborate dance he orchestrates in order to claim his prize. I didn’t skip the less sexy parts, in the epilogue Nabokov talks of the genesis of Lolita as a “throb.” A throb committed first to a short story, which he then destroyed, a throb which persisted until it grew into a novel, one which he also considered destroying many times, but “stopped by the thought that the ghost of the destroyed book would haunt my files for the rest of my life.” He could, of course, be describing Humbert’s infatuation. The book, and Nabokov’s nymphet, which scandalized so many on publication, is now a part of our culture, even if many have never read it.
Lolita appears on Jeff Somers's list of five best worst couples in literature, Brian Boyd's ten best list of Vladimir Nabokov books, Billy Collins' six favorite books list, Charlotte Runcie's list of the ten best bad mothers in literature, Kathryn Williams's list of fifteen notable works on lust, Boris Kachka's six favorite books list, Fiona Maazel's list of the ten worst fathers in books, Jennifer Gilmore's list of the ten worst mothers in books, Steven Amsterdam's list of five top books that have anxiety at their heart, John Banville's five best list of books on early love and infatuation, Kathryn Harrison's list of favorite books with parentless protagonists, Emily Temple's list of ten of the greatest kisses in literature, John Mullan's list of ten of the best lakes in literature, Dan Vyleta's top ten list of books in second languages, Rowan Somerville's top ten list of books of good sex in fiction, Henry Sutton's top ten list of unreliable narrators, Adam Leith Gollner's top ten list of fruit scenes in literature, Laura Hird's literary top ten list, Monica Ali's ten favorite books list, Laura Lippman's 5 most important books list, Mohsin Hamid's 10 favorite books list, and Dani Shapiro's 10 favorite books list. It is Lena Dunham's favorite book.