I think everyone should read Lolita before watching a movie of it. It is because of my belief that Lolita is a masterpiece- it's a tale of self deception, it's a tale of tragedy and loss, and even a bit of beauty. It's really hard to portray something that is very subtle in a movie, I worry. I love the movies, but there's just not enough space to put everything in- two hours just isn't enough.
The novel Lolita is pretty dependent on wordplay too. You get lulled by this murderer's fancy prose style and then he throws a hook in to throw you. You'll be reading pleasantly along and then Humbert will talk about guardians with orphans on their hands and knees. There'll be fits of self delusion and spaces of clarity.
I talked with a guy who had seen only the movie, and he was like "Oh, that was the one with the freaky little girl?" and I'm like no, asshat. And yes, you have time. If you have time to watch shitty reality show after shitty reality show, you have time to read a book, and maybe even think.
But here is a part of an amazon review blurb for Reading Lolita in Tehran that so beautifully summed up Lolita, I am reprinting it here:
'"Lolita," we discover, becomes a story of a girl who finally escapes from the clutches of a man who wants to erase who she is and turn her into a figment of his imagination. '