If you’re looking to strike up a relationship with Vladimir Nabokov, it’s probably best to start with Lolita, which has an opening chapter so beautiful it will make you pee your pants, or Pnin, a short ‘n sweet novel about a loopy professor. There’s also the author’s memoir Speak, Memory, which includes lovely descriptions of the writer’s boyhood in Saint Petersburg, and Pale Fire, a crafty novel/poem/exegesis explosion. Any of these books would constitute a fine starting point.
Here, on the other hand, is what NOT to begin with: the recently released The Original of Laura (Dying Is Fun), a volume comprised of the index cards upon which Nabokov wrote his last novel. Or, at least, the notes for his last novel. The Original of Laura is not a fully-fleshed work, but rather an unfinished experiment that will be baffling to all but the most steadfast Nabokov fans. If you fall into this category—or you just enjoy the odd literary puzzle—by all means, dive in.