Saturday, January 19, 2008

Old-Timey Book Report

Hey, remember when McNeil thought Phil should have a regular column on the "blog," in which he recommends "old-timey books"? Well, here comes McNeil himself with his own recommendation: Chapter 8 (sic) of LOLITA by Vladimir Nabokov. He's rereading the whole book for the third time, but it's Chapter 8 (sic) that gave him a surprise he wishes to share: "There's this strange page-and-a-half," McNeil reports, "where Humbert goes to the Arctic Circle!! [The exclamation points are McNeil's - ed.] I don't remember that from the first two times I read it," McNeil continues, "and it's hilarious. It's really a forerunner to Charles Portis and everything we hold dear." Our copy is packed away in storage, but - at McNeil's cheap and sensible suggestion - we're going to thumb through it next time we're over at Square Books. The idea of Nabokov influencing Portis makes us kind of woozy in a good way.