Why You Should Read (and also a quick review of Lolita)

During my latest interview in my job search, I was posed the question "tell us about the last book you read that wasn't assigned." Granted, I haven't been assigned a book in over a year since I graduated law school, but understandable as this position was geared toward recent grads.  Since graduating and since taking the bar, I have had so much time to leisure read and I have gotten through many many books that have reinvigorated a love for reading I haven't felt since I was in about 3rd grade. When I was in high school and college, I had the wrong attitude about books. If a book was assigned, I automatically didn't want to read it and would either put off reading it and try to cram at the end for a paper, or I wouldn't read it at all and just open the book up to do a little bit of skimming and to excerpt some quotes verbatim. However, with my new attitude, I was able to answer the question truthfully and with the passion I truly feel for reading.

The last book I finished was Lolita, which I felt was a great answer because it's a classic but also a conversation starter. I went off on my tangent as I usually do when talking to people about this book- I picked it up because I knew it was a classic but I had never read it. I knew there was a reason that people don't name their daughters "Lolita," but the back of the book essentially called it a controversial love story for the ages.  Truth be told, it did use the word "nymphet," but that really didn't register as anything out of the ordinary to me.  Upon getting a few pages in, it becomes clear that the main character and narrator of the story is a pedophile and is only attracted to girls around the age of 12.  That's enough to make a lot of people stop reading, or never start reading this book, so I can see why the back cover was intentionally vague. However, something kept me glued into the story. The way the narrator describes everything else besides his unfortunate attraction to little girls is both hilarious and acutely unique. It is written around the 1950s, and yet the humor is still relevant and pungent today.  Humbert Humbert writes to the audience from jail, and at times actually begs the reader to keep reading and to not skip over passages even though the subject matter of his pedophilia may be uncomfortable for many. It is truly a book unlike anything I've ever read before, and I would want to recommend it, but not without this tangent. 

Now I'm on to the Neapolitan novels by Elena Ferrante, which also have me hooked for different reasons. The text is translated from Italian, so the descriptions and language is unique and intriguing. It's not too different from a "regular" American novel, but somehow the choice observations and the introduction to a world so different from our own has really gotten me hooked. It's a book that I look forward to reading as often as I can, but I am able to put down (unlike the Crazy Rich Asians book series, of which I also just finished the second book).  As soon as I finish this post, I'm going to get back into My Brilliant Friend, because I can't wait to find out what else is happening to Elena. 

Anyway, in sum, my screen fatigue coupled with free time that used to be spent studying have gotten me into reading all the time. I want to take books with me wherever I go, in case I can get a chapter in. I like to think that it's helped me with my writing, but it's also helped me to become more observant of my surroundings and constantly inspires me to exercise my creativity.  It's a great conversation starter, and it doesn't hurt that it makes me seem more intelligent and knowledgeable. Now that we are out of college, everyone should be reading! After staring at computers all day at work, we shouldn't come home just to stare at the TV and our phones. Okay let's be real, I still do that, but I try to balance out my screen time with at least a little bit of paper time. Even the littlest bit! And it never fails to make me feel better about myself when I know I've taken the time to actually read.

Next on my list? I like to balance out my reading by always following books with something pretty different, so I may jump into A Little Life or try to get back into the Fountainhead. Clearly I'm in the mood to carry around a fat book. I also like keeping track of the books I've read with little reviews and also "want to read" books on Goodreads. You can follow me!

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