Before mercury, my blood used to fill thermometers.

Thursday, July 7, 2011

Book Challenge 13.

Day 01 – The best book you read this year
Day 02 – A book that you’ve read more than 3 times
Day 03 – Your favorite series
Day 04 – Favorite book of your favorite series
Day 05 – A book that makes you happy
Day 06 – A book that makes you sad
Day 07 – Most underrated book
Day 08 – Most overrated book
Day 09 – A book you thought you wouldn’t like but ended up loving
Day 10 – Favorite classic book
Day 11 – A book you hated
Day 12 – A book you used to love but don’t anymore
Day 13 – Your favorite writer

Day 13.

YES.

There are several factors that contribute to Vladimir Nabokov's unshakable position as my favorite writer.

Despite what Anne Carson and Sylvia Plath do to me, Nabokov had the privilege of being a first-responder to that peculiar alienation that is having a massive vocabulary and being young and unable to use it. The fact that he communicated verbally like he was mentally challenged (by his own admission) and had to write down everything he spoke publicly makes me all the more devoted. I feel this. Ada, or Ardor dominated my reading life until two years ago. I read only it and the Brothers Karamazov again and again, back and forth, right after graduating high school (Dostoevsky ranks high with me, too). All other extant works aside, if I could claim responsibility for a single work of literature - if I could slap my copyright on the Tempest, the Making of Americans or Against Interpretation, I'd want to have written Ada, or Ardor. Even if it is inferior to Lolita - everything is - it is still what I measure every book by. I sound like an unparalleled idiot drawing any kind of comparisons between me and him - a lot of it's super esoteric - but it all makes me feel amazing. Above all else his writing makes me feel amazing. So he gets the top spot.

It's so slippery and subjective. There is nothing I want to defend less than why my favorite writer is my favorite writer. I want other people to read and know the greatness of Sweet Days of Discipline. But the importance of Nabokov's writing to me - divorced totally from my development as a writer - is a non-transferable phenomenon. So addressing it makes me feel like an awful writer, because I can't evoke it. It's the kind of thing that just makes me jump up and down, like I love the song but can't dance for shit, just hearing it makes me respond on the most elemental level.

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