What I’m Reading

Even though I’ve been home for a week, I haven’t read very much. I think this is mostly due to the fact that I spend the previous eight weeks reading A LOT of books. Plus, I’ve been in that strange frame of mind when all I want to do is write and write and write, so I have been indulging that desire.

But I have been reading a bit–two books, to be exact. They’re very different but both very enjoyable.

I started reading Strong Opinions, a collection of interviews with Vladimir Nabokov, before last term started. Due to my schoolwork, I had to put it on hold. I have picked it up again and it is just delightful. My feelings towards Nabokov are rather complex: on one level, I adore him as a writer, but on another level, I’m quite jealous of him because of his sheer facility with three languages. But even though Nabokov sometimes comes across as arrogant and pretentious, the book is still a joy to read.

I’ve already read this book before, but it was so good I had to read it again. It’s not just good writing; it’s good translation as well. (Admittedly, I have not read it in the original Norwegian, so the original could theoretically be very bad. But I’d rather believe that’s not true, as it’s the cardinal sin of a translator to improve upon the original work.) In fact, the writing is so good that I find myself reading certain passages again–that’s not something I usually do. Plus, I really love the title, which comes from a poem by Mao Tse-tung. (Seriously, what’s with dictators and poetry? Stalin wrote also wrote poetry in his youth. I don’t think Hitler did, though, or at least I’ve never seen reference to that fact.)