My Thoughts on Lolita by Vladimir Nabokov |IcthusBookCorner (my biggest review yet)

Hey everyone! Today I want to talk about a book that did nothing but worsen my mental state, Lolita by Nabokov.

I’ve talked about this book on my bookstagram (follow me there if you want to follow my readings more closely), and I had a lot of feeling while reading it. This book was published back in 1955, and it is now considered a classic by a lot of people. You probably know it is a book about and from the perspective of a paedophile, Humbert Humbert. It follows him during his middle age as he finds himself obsessed with the nymphet Delores Hayes.

I had been hearing about this book my whole life and knew people either loved it or hated it, so I decided to put it off for a while in fear. Once I finally decided to read it, I went into it with no preconceived judgements so it wouldn’t ruin the experience.

The first thing I need to say about this book is that I loved the writing style, really really loved it. Can we talk about the fact that Nabokov isn’t an English native speaker? I applaud Nabokov’s mastery of the English language. He uses English better than most writers whose first language is English. He is daring with his words; he is pure genius. It is the type of writing I love, you know? It’s poetic, and it’s not sparse, and he uses flowery language.

In the beginning, it was quite tolerable, but as it went on became progressively more upsetting. The first person narration was making me feel sick. Sometimes it physically hurt me to read this book, like someone was squeezing my heart. Never in my life had I read a book that made me this uncomfortable. I’m just glad I’m someone who can enjoy a book and dislike the main characters, otherwise I’m pretty sure this book would have killed me.
Because it’s first-person narration, we are inside Humbert’s head, and the problem is that this person’s head is a terrible place. We have to be beholders of grooming, gaslighting and abuse. Humbert has no redeeming quality, which is both terrible for the reader but the only correct choice. Nabokov created a character that no one could pity because he (Humber) is just a horrifying human being. However, the author was still able to create a multi-dimensional character, and that is not usual and something I appreciate. There is a lot of depth, there is a lot to dig into, I love it.

This book was notably hard to read, but for some reason, I couldn’t stop. One reason for this was, like I said, the writing. Even so, there was something else, something that made me want to know what was going to happen next, something that got me hooked.

The book is divided into two parts. The first one is before the abuse, and it follows Humbert from his pre-adolescent self to when he gets to be a disgusting human to Lolita. The second part accompanies him from the moment the first part left off to when the book is supposedly being written. The first half of the book was much easier to read than the second, most likely because there is a smaller amount of sexual assault.

The only negative aspect of this book, for me, is the last two chapters. The book could have an amazing ending, but, for some ulterior motive, Nabokov decided to go with underwhelming.

To end this, I feel the need to say a few things. First of all, I don’t believe this book romanticizes or glorifies paedophilia. From what I read from the author, and what I gathered from reading Lolita itself, I believe Nabokov wanted to create a reality which the average person wouldn’t have access to. He wrote one of the most brutal accounts of abuse there is. I think this is an important piece of literature, if not one of the best.

Finally, I gave this book 4.5 out of 5 stars. I recommend it to everyone who can get into a story without liking the main character and to whom abuse is not a severe trigger.

Bye, keep on reading.

Anna Karenina by Leo Tolstoy – Book Review

I have two words to describe this book: MEANINGFUL DRAMA.

I’ve always been afraid of picking up Anna Karenina, I have a problem with big books, I’m always afraid I won’t like them and afraid to end up forcing myself to read them, as I do with all the books I end up not liking (I just can’t dnf a book). When books over 800 pages came along, I became truly afraid. As you can easily understand, forcing myself to read 800+ pages of something that doesn’t bring me joy is quite more dreadful than 300 unfulfilling pages.IMG_20190711_223955_408

Anna Karenina by Tolstoy is a Russian classic written in the nineteenth century. To me, the book serves to show us how difficult life can be and that all families have their own problems. It’s, in essence, a story about life at its core.

The writing is magnificent, the author manages to talk about farming methods, political policies, or philosophical discussions without making you feel bored. He’s also able to betray every single character in a flawless manner, you truly get to know and understand everyone’s perspective on life and on what is going on in the story.

If there is one problem if the story it’s the amount of drama, which might as well be a “me” problem. From time to time I had to stop and read other things in order to reflect on everything that was going on. There are so many subplots I just couldn’t keep up without before taking a step back.

Tolstoy has this incredible power of being capable to show how one person can change their mind, how a person, can become so infatuated with something or someone and then with the blink of an eye, the feeling can change (this made me think a lot about relationships and so on).

Anna is the heroine and the villain, you love her and you hate her, you want her to be okay and then at times you just want to shout “don’t be so stupid and start accepting the consequences of your actions!” HOW DID TOLSTOY MANAGE TO DO THIS??????

This book portrays an impulsive affair, a man questioning his beliefs, an unpleasant divorce and a woman questioning her mental health. All these are still incredibly relevant nowadays, ergo its timeless appeal.

Instead of listening to me, I recommend that you read it for yourself.

I gave this book 4.5 out of 5 stars.

Bye, keep on reading.

January Book Wrap Up|2019

Hello, people of the interweb!

It’s never too late for a wrap up if it is let me believe it since we are already in the middle of February! I managed to read six books in January which was a great start, two of them because of my internship, but I’m still counting them for this wrap-up.

Let’s get on with this wrap-up!

51qz8w2bwtnlFirst, we have Death by Black Hole and other cosmic quandaries by the one and only Neil deGrasse Tyson!

My rating: 4/5 stars
Recommend to: Shameless nerds like me with a bit more than the high school understanding of physics.
Genre: Science, Nonfiction
Sinopse: “Tyson compiles his favourite essays, which were first published in a monthly column in “Natural History.” One of the worlds best-known astrophysicists, he is at his best here, as a natural teacher who simplifies the complexities of science while sharing his infectious excitement for our universe.” (via wook)

37807180The second reading adventure I had last month was Sweethearts by Gemma Gilmore.

My rating: 2/5 stars
Recommend to: I don’t know…
Genre: LGBT, Young Adult
Sinopse: “When seventeen-year-old Ingrid Harper realizes she may not have the talent to pursue a scholarship for the most prestigious art school in Australia, she turns to pink hair dye as a distraction.” (via Goodreads)

 

After that, I read Introduction to High-Temperature Superconductivity by T. Sheahan and Introduction to Superconductivity by Michael Tinkham. Since they are both academic books, it doesn’t make sense to rate them, but they are amazing books on the topic of superconductivity if any of you need to do research on this specific area of study.  I read them because of the internship I’m currently doing and they made me feel much more knowledgeable on the topic.

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Then, I picked up Astrophysics for People in a Hurry, once again by Neil deGrasse Tyson.

My rating: 5/5 stars
Recommend to: Once again, shameless nerds like me. This one is a bit easier to follow than Death by Black Hole and other cosmic quandaries, so if you haven’t had a look at anything science since high school it is still quite an easy read.
Genre: Science, Nonfiction
Sinopse: “The essential universe, from our most celebrated and beloved astrophysicist.” (via wook)

 

88e990280989f2b9727818a94588cf26The last book I read this January was The Mother by Maximo Gorki, and if you read my review on this book you know how emotional it was for me.

My rating: 4/5 stars
Recommend to: Everybody
Genre: Classic
Sinopse: “This novel tells the story of the common proletariat who protested against the czar and the capitalists which eventually led to the October Revolution…Mother represents hundreds of workers who are concerned with living their lives.” (via Amazon)

What was your favourite read of the month?

I’ve been struggling for the last seven minutes, trying to figure out what else to say here, but there isn’t much else I can say really. So…I hope you enjoyed this post. If you read any of these books please let me know!

Bye, keep on reading!

Mother by Máximo Gorki – Book Review

There is a story behind this book and I feel like I need to tell it before I review it. If you want to go straight to the review go ahead, I’ll use a line to separate this from the review.

The first time I ever saw this book I was probably around 12. It was on a living room cabinet, which meant it wasn’t my mother’s since her books have always been kept at our home office bookshelf. I remember asking my father what book it was and remember him saying it belonged to my grandmother. For 12 year old me this was meaningless and I just went on with my life.

I came across this book again about a month and a half ago (on my twenties). I once again asked my father about the book. This time the story was more detailed. You might not know but Portugal had a dictatorship that lasted about 41 years, which ended in 1974. My grandmother only ever lived inside this dictatorship, but I’d say she was pretty different from the women of her time.

This book was basically forbidden due to its socialist message, which means that if she had been caught with it she would have ended up as a political prisoner and most likely tortured to death. According to my father, she always kept the book under her bedside table just in case there was a swoop.

Even though I never met my grandmother I can for sure say that all my rebellion comes from her. Not mention that from the stories my dad tells me, she was probably an extraordinary lady who valued both education and culture, which is something I look for in every person I ever encounter.


REVIEW:

Mother follows the life of Pelágia (Pelagueya for the English edition), Pavel’s mother as she enters her son’s world when he embraces socialism and starts bringing home forbidden books. The author describes a group of factory workers in the small Russian community at the beginning of the Russian revolution.img_20190124_164321_107

It’s mainly a story about a woman, from the beginning of the last century, overcoming her political ignorance to become involved in the revolution, and for me, she is the true protagonist of this novel.

It was slow at times but the reality brought out by the author was outstanding. The way the author described the struggle of the working class from the perspective of a mother, was honestly outstanding. I really liked his style of writing: having lines spoken anonymously by anyone in the scene, it’s like we are inside the characters minds. Given its revolutionary intentions nowhere does the book become preachy.

This book was an emotional rollercoaster but it is for sure not just another book to pass the time, you need to take time to connect with the characters. Overall, I really enjoyed this book and recommend it to anyone that likes history or is at all interested in this “revolutionary” type of book.

I give this book 4.5/5 stars.

Bye, keep on reading.