The novel tells the story of Humbert Humbert, Lolita, the girl he travels the country with, and the mysterious Quilty, a man who is on their trail. Or is he? The piece reads in three parts. One part paean to language, two parts mystery, and three parts obsession. I suggest reading the novel with The Annotated Lolita: Revised and Updated at your side. You’ll need it to look up odd flower names, arcane historical references, linguistic puzzles, and Lepidoptera. Good luck.
When I read it I was a junior in college on a pilgrimage to Jerusalem. What can I say? I love to mix the sacred with the profane. Lolita is the best book to read to help one overcome adolescence, so you may want to save it for last, but it is the best book of the lot. So, I place it first.