What Are Some Good Books to Read Out Loud?


Quick Answer

Some good books to read out loud include Vladimir Nabokov’s “Lolita,” Virginia Woolf’s “Mrs. Dalloway” and James Joyce’s “Ulysses.” All three books feature intricate, ornate prose, making them popular choices to read aloud.

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Vladimir Nabokov’s controversial 1955 novel “Lolita” tells the story of literature professor Humbert Humbert and his obsession with a 12-year-old girl. Although Nabokov spoke Russian as a first language, “Lolita” was written in English, and the book’s elaborate, stylized prose is some of the most praised in English-language literature. Nabokov’s twisting, acrobatic writing makes “Lolita” a common choice to read out loud.

One of the most acclaimed modernist writers of the 20th century, Virginia Woolf’s writing explored the interior mental states of her characters, blurring the line between narration, dialogue and internal monologue. “Mrs. Dalloway,” one of Woolf’s most celebrated works, hones in on two separate but related characters: Clarissa Dalloway, the novel’s high society namesake, and Septimus Smith, a mentally distressed World War I veteran. The book’s constantly shifting prose makes it a unique choice for reading aloud.

James Joyce’s monolithic “Ulysses” is one of the landmarks of literature, featuring some of the most formidable writing in the English language. Based on Homer’s “The Odyssey,” the lengthy novel takes place over a single day in Dublin, detailing the jumbled wanderings of protagonists Leopold Bloom and Stephen Dedalus. Joyce’s enormous vocabulary and twisting syntax make the book both challenging and rewarding to read out loud.

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