Saturday, December 30, 2006

One Down, One to Go

So it looks like (barring the sudden onset of illiteracy) I will indeed hit 50 -- I've got one to go, nothing to do until tomorrow (even if it's New Year's Eve, it's still Football Sunday) -- and a Christmas present that should be a good quick read (no, it's not "Against the Day").

#49 -- "Speak, Memory" by Vladimir Nabokov

I love Nabokov, but somehow I've managed to avoid two of his acknowledged classics (this and "Lolita") up 'til now. Not sure why. I've tried "Lolita" several times, found it great, then put it aside (lingering discomfort with the subject matter?) -- this one, I'd never even cracked.

Yesterday, I chose it for the plane ride back, and I dunno why I found it so imposing. If there's an easier book to lose yourself in, I'm not sure what it is. These are Nabokov's reminiscings of his childhood in Russia, but the subject matter really isn't that important -- he could be writing about cricket and it would be engrossing. John Updike once said that Nabokov wrote "ecstatically" -- nowhere is it on better display than here.

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