Why I Won’t Finish Nabokov’s Lolita

You’ll notice I didn’t put book review in the title of this post. The reason for this is simple, this post is not a review, it’s a confession. If you’re my friend on Goodreads, or you’ve been popping on and off my blog for the past few weeks, you may have noticed the ever fixed mark of Lolita in my currently reading. I think I started reading this book on the 25th November, meaning it’s been well over 2 weeks since I started, but sadly, yesterday, I finally called it quits. This post is a mere explanation of why I decided to finally let this book go.

First of all, I think it’s important to say that I appreciate a lot fo people love this book, and I understand why. The psychology of the story was so interesting, and the writing is lovely. I did get over 2/3 of the way through the novel before I found myself dreading reading it, that’s never a good sign for me.

Originally, I picked up this book because of the sheer number of recommendations I’ve received from friends, teachers and Booktubers. I was aware of the topic of the book, and I knew it was a controversial text, but i wanted to be in on the action, so I picked it up.

I think I read over half of the book in the first week, but after that I gradually noticed I was reading less and less frequently. I tracked this pattern for about a week. Most days I read maybe 10 pages, and I found my mind wandering, not focussing on the words meaning I had to keep rereading things because I missed them. After a week of this, I decided to take a break from Lolita and read other things. In the 3 days since I made that decision I have read 4 other books – I think that’s an indication of how long it was taking me to get through this novel. Every so often, I’d consider going back to it, but I just never felt up to it.

Ultimately, I told myself that I read a lot of books I don’t like for school, and so when I’m reading for pleasure I should be enjoying it – and I called it a day.

My low rating on Goodreads may require some explanation as I don’t think I’ve mentioned this before. Pretty much the only time I will give 1/5 stars is to a book I did not finish. I also stipulate that if I didn’t finish a book, it can’t get anything other than 1/5 stars – books are meant to be finished. Even though much of what I read I appreciated, I just feel it would be wrong of me to give a better rating to a book I couldn’t endure for 331 pages.

Lolita now lives on my DNF shelf with all the other books where I didn’t make it to the last page. To clarify, DNF is did not finish, not will not finish. There’s always a possibility that at a different time when I’m in a different place I’ll try again, and then it might be my favourite novel ever. But for now, there it rests – we’ll see what happens.

What books have you abandoned? I always hate doing, but there’s always a feeling of relief when you can fly through a book and soak up every word!

10 thoughts on “Why I Won’t Finish Nabokov’s Lolita

  1. Perhaps you might enjoy the film adaptations better? It is an unusual story indeed, and not for everyone. I have failed to finish many books in the last fifty-odd years. No need to worry about that. Sometimes what one reader finds enthralling fails to capture the imagination of someone else.
    Thanks for following my blog, which is much appreciated.
    I wish you a Happy New Year from Beetley.

    Liked by 1 person

  2. Hi. Thanks for the follow. Please don’t ever feel guilty about a DNF or about not liking a book. Not all books work for all readers. Some books evoke the polar opposite of reactions from readers. Sometimes, it’s just not the right time for the book. At the end of the day, if you read for pleasure (rather than because you have to for school), you should feel like you want to read the book. It should not be a chore.

    Loved your explanation, tho.

    Liked by 1 person

  3. Lolita is one of the few classics I’ve never even attempted to read. I know too many children who have been victimized to want to read about it when I don’t have to. Usually I’m pretty stick-to-it with books, so there aren’t any I regret abandoning, but there is a book I regret reading: Villette by Charlotte Bronte. It would be a huge spoiler to explain, but suffice it to say I threw the book across the room.


    1. I just felt like it went on for too long, at the beginning I it was really interesting and then I just got to a point where I couldn’t do it anymore – maybe if I read it at a less joyous time of year!
      I can’t say I’ve read Villette yet, despite my immense love of the Brontes, you’ve scared me and intrigued me in equal measure!

      Liked by 1 person

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