Friday, 1 February 2008

Talking about unread books...

Woolworths have had to remove a range of bedroom furniture for six-year-old girls. A member of staff had had the bright idea of calling it ‘Lolita’. No one at Woolworths knew what the name referred to or meant. Parents did, though, and complained.

The fact that Books etc., the only bookshop not a million miles away from where I live, is due to close in three weeks’ time won’t help with the pervading ignorance. Although, I can’t really be too outraged because I haven’t patronized it as much as I should have (I buy my books on the Net, like a lot of people these days). But the café attached to it was cheerful and the store itself – on two floors – brought much-needed brightness to an otherwise fairly dreary shopping mall (you should have seen it a few years ago, before it was renovated: it used to make me feel suicidal... and it might again if all the fun stores abandon it).



  1. Cracking up that somebody named a furniture set for little girls "Lolita". HA HA! Best laugh I've had all day.

  2. Oh. MY. GOD! How could anyone in the English-speaking world not know about Lolita?

    I love a bookstore. Any book store. But we buy books on line too. Try

    Sort by price and condition. I've bought used paperback books for a penny, plus shipping of course. If they truly were used I couldn't tell it. Never read is more like it.

  3. This is another sign of the "Britney-Amy-Hilton airhead culture" pervading any bastion: kids' furniture named after the Nabokov's heroine!!! You'd think at least they had seen the films, but noooooo......these are too intellectual as well, and intellectual is a dirty word these days, it seems.
    How they have arrived at the thought that naming it like would be a good idea is beyond me: were they aiming at playful? mischievous? good-sounding, merely? Only the latter achieves its purpose, I'm afraid. The rest is just too loaded with connotations of an inappropriate nature.

    On a general note, I wonder why being bookish is seen as "dull". Some of the naughtiest things are kept between bound pages: one of which is the eponymous heroine above(LOL)

    BTW, think about it: if Nabokov hadn't written it in English in the first place, it wouldn't have achieved such notoriety.

    Keeping bookstores in malls: give me the petition to sign up!


  4. I'll sign the petition too! Maybe we should start one.

  5. Thanks for all your comments: you definitely don't need to have read the book (I read it on the sly, when I was 17, in English, in Israel - found it very boring) to know about Lolita. The staff of Woolworths had no excuse.

    Of course, as India Knight writes in her latest Sunday Times column, parents are partly to blame for the sexualisation of children.

    H and L, petitions are usually a waste of time. We had a petition against the closure of Shepherds Bush tube station for eight months (for commercial reasons that have nothing to do with the running of the underground). Did it work? Er, nope.


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