Here is a list of the best Nabokov books, some I have read myself, some that I did research on, and all have great reviews!
1. Pale Fire (1989)
In Pale Fire Nabokov offers a cornucopia of deceptive pleasures: a 999-line poem by the reclusive genius John Shade; an adoring foreword and commentary by Shade’s self-styled Boswell, Dr. Charles Kinbote; a darkly comic novel of suspense, literary idolatry and one-upmanship, and political intrigue….
2. Lolita (1989)
Awe and exhiliration–along with heartbreak and mordant wit–abound in , Nabokov’s most famous and controversial novel, which tells the story of the aging Humbert Humbert’s obsessive, devouring, and doomed passion for the nymphet Dolores Haze. is also the story of a hypercivilized European colliding with the cheerful barbarism of postwar America. Most of all, it is a meditation on love–love as outrage and hallucination, madness and transformation….
Speak, Memory, first published in 1951 as and then assiduously revised in 1966, is an elegant and rich evocation of Nabokov’s life and times, even as it offers incisive insights into his major works, including , , , , t, and . …
4. Letters to Véra (Vintage International) (2017)
No marriage of a major twentieth-century writer is quite as beguiling as that of Vladimir Nabokov’s to Véra Slonim. She shared his delight at the enchantment of life’s trifles and literature’s treasures, and he rated her as having the best and quickest sense of humor of any woman he had met. From their first encounter in 1923, Vladimir’s letters to Véra chronicle a half-century-long love story, one that is playful, romantic, and memorable. At the same time, the letters reveal much about their author. We see the infectious fascination with which Vladimir…
5. Pnin (1989)
Pnin is a professor of Russian at an American college who takes the wrong train to deliver a lecture in a language he cannot master. Pnin is a tireless lover who writes to his treacherous Liza: "A genius needs to keep so much in store, and thus cannot offer you the whole of himself as I do." Pnin is the focal point of subtle academic conspiracies he cannot begin to comprehend, yet he stages a faculty party to end all faculty parties forever….
6. The Defense (1990)
Nabokov’s third novel, , is a chilling story of obsession and madness. As a young boy, Luzhin was unattractive, distracted, withdrawn, sullen–an enigma to his parents and an object of ridicule to his classmates. He takes up chess as a refuge from the anxiety of his everyday life. His talent is prodigious and he rises to the rank of grandmaster–but at a cost: in Luzhin’ s obsessive mind, the game of chess gradually supplants the world of reality. His own world falls apart during a crucial championship match,…
7. The Gift (1991)
is the last of the novels Nabokov wrote in his native Russian and the crowning achievement of that period in his literary career. It is also his ode to Russian literature, evoking the works of Pushkin, Gogol, and others in the course of its narrative: the story of Fyodor Godunov-Cherdyntsev, an impoverished émigré poet living in Berlin, who dreams of the book he will someday write–a book very much like itself….
8. Lectures on Russian Literature (2002)
The author’s observations on the great nineteenth-century Russian writers-Chekhov, Dostoevsky, Gogol, Gorky, Tolstoy, and Turgenev. “This volume… never once fails to instruct and stimulate. This is a great Russian talking of great Russians” (Anthony Burgess). Edited and with an Introduction by Fredson Bowers; illustrations….
9. Despair (1989)
Extensively revised by Nabokov in 1965–thirty years after its original publication– is the wickedly inventive and richly derisive story of Hermann, a man who undertakes the perfect crime–his own murder….
10. Laughter in the Dark (1989)
Albinus, a respectable, middle-aged man and aspiring filmmaker, abandons his wife for a lover half his age: Margot, who wants to become a movie star herself. When Albinus introduces her to Rex, an American movie producer, disaster ensues. What emerges is an elegantly sardonic and irresistibly ironic novel of desire, deceit, and deception, a curious romance set in the film world of Berlin in the 1930s….
11. The Eye (1990)
Nabokov’s fourth novel, is as much a farcical detective story as it is a profoundly refractive tale about the vicissitudes of identities and appearances. Nabokov’s protagonist, Smurov, is a lovelorn, excruciatingly self-conscious Russian émigré living in prewar Berlin, who commits suicide after being humiliated by a jealous husband, only to suffer even greater indignities in the afterlife….
12. Invitation to a Beheading (1989)
Like Kafka’s The Castle, Invitation to a Beheading embodies a vision of a bizarre and irrational world. In an unnamed dream country, the young man Cincinnatus C. is condemned to death by beheading for “gnostical turpitude,” an imaginary crime that defies definition. Cincinnatus spends his last days in an absurd jail, where he is visited by chimerical jailers, an executioner who masquerades as a fellow prisoner, and by his in-laws, who lug their furniture with them into his cell. When Cincinnatus is led out to be executed, he simply wills his executioners out of existence: they disappear,…
13. Ada, or Ardor: A Family Chronicle (1990)
Published two weeks after his seventieth birthday, is one of Nabokov’s greatest masterpieces, the glorious culmination of his career as a novelist. It tells a love story troubled by incest. But more: it is also at once a fairy tale, epic, philosophical treatise on the nature of time, parody of the history of the novel, and erotic catalogue. is no less than the supreme work of an imagination at white heat.This is the first American edition to include the extensive and ingeniously sardonic appendix by the author, written under the…
14. Lectures on Literature (2002)
For two decades, first at Wellesley and then at Cornell, Nabokov introduced undergraduates to the delights of great fiction. Here, collected for the first time, are his famous lectures, which include Mansfield Park, Bleak House, and Ulysses. Edited and with a Foreword by Fredson Bowers; Introduction by John Updike; illustrations….
Best Nabokov Books: The Ultimate List
We highly recommend you to buy all paper or e-books in a legal way, for example, on Amazon. But sometimes it might be a need to dig deeper beyond the shiny book cover. Before making a purchase, you can visit resources like Genesis and download some nabokov books mentioned below at your own risk. Once again, we do not host any illegal or copyrighted files, but simply give our visitors a choice and hope they will make a wise decision.
Between Rhyme and Reason: Vladimir Nabokov, Translation, and Dialogue
Author(s): Stanislav Shvabrin
Publisher: University of Toronto Press, Year: 2019, Size: 3 Mb, Download: pdf
Nabokov and Nietzsche: Problems and Perspectives
Author(s): Michael Rodgers
Publisher: Bloomsbury Academic, Year: 2018, Size: 12 Mb, Download: pdf
Vladimir Nabokov in Context
Author(s): David M. Bethea, Siggy Frank
Publisher: Cambridge University Press, Year: 2018, Size: 12 Mb, Download: pdf
Nabokov and Indeterminacy: The Case of The Real Life of Sebastian Knight
Author(s): Priscilla Meyer
Publisher: Northwestern University Press, Year: 2018, Size: 847 Kb, Download: pdf
Nabokov and his Books: Between Late Modernism and the Literary Marketplace
Author(s): Duncan White
Publisher: Oxford University Press, Year: 2017, Size: 1 Mb, Download: pdf
Nabokov’s Favorite Word Is Mauve: What the Numbers Reveal About the Classics, Bestsellers, and Our Own Writing
Author(s): Ben Blatt
Publisher: Simon & Schuster, Year: 2017, Size: 11 Mb, Download: epub
Insomniac Dreams: Experiments with Time
Author(s): Vladimir Nabokov, Gennady Barabtarlo (ed.)
Publisher: Princeton University Press, Year: 2017, Size: 6 Mb, Download: pdf
Insomniac Dreams: Experiments with Time by Vladimir Nabokov
Author(s): Vladimir Nabokov, Gennady Barabtarlo
Publisher: Princeton University Press, Year: 2017, Size: 4 Mb, Download: epub
Please note that this booklist is not errorless. Some books are really best-sellers according to The Wall Street Journal, others are written by unknown writers. On top of that, you can always find additional tutorials and courses on Coursera, Udemy or edX, for example. Are there any other relevant resources you could recommend? Leave a comment if you have any feedback on the list.