With Lolita, as with many classics, I’m definitely glad I read this just for the experience of reading it. Nabokov has a very unique writing style and Lolita is certainly a unique book. It’s also a book I’m happy to be able to discuss from experience. It was well written and I’m not at all surprised at it’s continued popularity. That said, I don’t know that I enjoyed reading it. The main sensation I experienced while reading this book was a desire to go take a bath, it was just that disturbing. I think it’s worth giving it a try to see if you love Nabokov’s one-of-kind writing style, but it’s (obviously) not a book to pick up if you’re just looking for something fun.
Although Emma isn’t going to displace Sense & Sensibility and Pride & Prejudice as my favorite Austen, it was definitely a fun read. The introduction mentions that Emma was Austen’s favorite character she created and I can see why. She’s sometimes naive or snobby, but she’s also cheerful, happy, and concerned with the happiness of others. I thought her father and sister were pretty funny, unique characters as well. The way relationships develop between characters is generally slow, subtle, and believable. The end is a bit abrupt and everything wraps up a bit too neatly, but I was in the mood for a light read and actually liked that the resolution wasn’t drawn out too much. Overall, this was a very fun, light read.
I’m sure you don’t need me to tell you that Charles Dickens knows how to write. I read this as part of a read-along and several participants commented on his effective use of repetition in his writing. I also thought he captured the atmosphere of each location clearly. However, the characters all felt very flat to me. I was certainly concerned for the fate of the characters at times, but I didn’t feel like I had a good grasp of their personalities or motivations. This made it hard to empathize with them and hard to get into the story. It didn’t help that the plot was predictable and relied on the characters making some bad decisions. I might be willing to read more by Dickens exclusively for his writing style, but the plot and characters nearly made me give up before finishing this particular book.