Tuesday, July 4, 2017

100 Best Novels Roundup, Vol. 5

Another small installation into my series of 100 Best Novels reviews. After this, I just have two more left to cover. I'm so excited to be almost finished! 
Pale Fire

Title: Pale Fire
Author: Vladimir Nabokov
Publication Date: 1962
Pages: 246
Genre: Classic / Historical / Fiction
How I Found It: 100 Best Novels
Date Completed: 6/9/17

What I Thought: I read this classic out of a collection of Nabokov's work. Pale Fire joined Lolita and a few other works. So, knowing nothing about the book, I found myself confused. The novel has a really unique structure which definitely caught me off guard. It's setup as a 900+ line poem and subsequent literary commentary. You see where I'm going here. I thought the poem was the whole thing and the commentary was...a commentary. I was baffled and ever so thankful for Wikipedia helping me sort it out.

While I've grown in my admiration for Nabakov because of Azar Nafisi's high praise, I still struggle to find his work personally captivating. I think there's a lot of depth here, but it's not light summer reading by any stretch. I struggle. But, I thought the structure was fun once I figured it out and it was a nice change of pace from other books on the list. I definitely see why Nabokov has transcended time as a skilled writer. It certainly takes skill to put something like this together. 

Rating: ★★★☆☆
Will I Re-Read: Doubtful

Title: Loving
Author: Henry Green
Publication Date: 1945
Pages: 206
Genre: Classic / Historical / Fiction
How I Found It: 100 Best Novels
Date Completed: 6/17/17

What I Thought: Since I felt such antipathy toward the novels of Henry James, I was nervous about this one. I realize that's 100% irrational, but still. The generic Anglo-Saxon Henrys felt inextricably linked in my mind. I'm so glad to be wrong. Where I found James tedious, Green proved charming and witty. This book reminded me a lot of Downton Abbey. It has a very Upstairs/Downstairs vibe despite its focus on the staff of the country estate. It was just fun to read and a nice break from some of the more stiff books from this list. 

Rating: ★★★★☆
Will I Re-Read: Doubtful

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