Can you read well and for fun? Nabokov

After reading Vladimir Nabokov’s “Good readers and good writers” I found the passage that explains how you cannot read well if you identify with a character or event in the writing very interesting. When I read for fun I usually relate to a character or event to sort of put myself in the position of the character to understand their thoughts and feelings. But after reading Nabokov I understand his point of view. He argues that when you relate to a character you may become biased or immersed in their story so much that you may miss important details about the rest of the plot. I understand this if you are trying to fully understand the book or if its for an assignment but I wonder if this apply’s to when you read for fun. After I reread the passage I don’t think that it does because if you read for fun you usually read for the story, you read to get that tingle down your spine and maybe, when reading for fun, to get that tingle you need to relate to a character to get inside their head and feel what they are feeling. Also when you read for fun you don’t necessarily read to understand all of the content of that book unlike you would do for school. When I read a book I try to imagine the plot like its somewhere i’ve been to, as Nabokov said, “get clear the specific world the author places at his disposal”. This helps me imagine the characters as if I am in the world the author has created.

6 thoughts on “Can you read well and for fun? Nabokov

  1. Cimya L.

    I really enjoyed reading this blog. I never really thought of what Nabokov was explaining until I read your perspective on it. It really makes me think about how Nabokov was explaining that we can’t really understand the content of a story if we can relate to the person that were reading about. So I totally understand where you’re coming from.

    Liked by 1 person

  2. Grace H.

    I think the distinction you made between reading for fun and assigned reading is really important and well said. I feel there should be no rules when it comes to independent reading as you are reading for you. With that in mind, I think Nabokav’s theory should not be applied to that scenario, as just like you said, relating to a character gives the rush most people desire when reading.

    Liked by 1 person

  3. Khylie A.

    The distinction made between reading for fun and assigned reading is really important. When reading for fun I personally get this rush and when I have to read for an assignment it more often than not feels forced. I think you made a good point when questioning whether or not Nabokov’s theory should be applied when reading for fun; as for some to get that “tingle down their spine” they need to be able to relate to a character and do things that make one “a bad reader”

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Annika C

      I agree with everything you said in this blog. I also had the same thought process when it came to his argument that you cannot be a good reader if you identify with one of the characters. I usually find myself trying to relate to a character when I am reading, but his argument allowed me to rethink that choice. His point that if you relate to a character so much you may come biased and miss other key details also struck me because I had never thought of it that way.


  4. Daniel K

    I agree with the point that seeing yourself in the character is not always a good thing. There are lots of stories where the interesting nuance comes from the protagonist’s flaws, and overly sympathizing with them can get in the way of that nuance.


  5. RHEA R.

    It took me a while to understand what Nabokov meant but the way you explained it makes sense. There is definitely a difference between using your imagination to relate to a book and using it to envision what the author is saying.


Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in: Logo

You are commenting using your account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s