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Lunch » Tags » Books » Reviews » Reading Lolita in Tehran: A Memoir in Books » User review

Author's passion an inspiration

  • Jul 6, 2010
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+5

When I first started Azar Nafisi's Reading Lolita in Tehran, I was excited to discover for myself what this #1 New York Times Bestseller was all about, and as a big fan of memiors, the "Memoir in Books" intrigued me.  However, never having read Nabokov's Lolitia, which is referred to in the first of four sections, I didn't immediately connect with the book.  I even wondered whether I should continue reading or search for something new, but I was incredibly glad I decided to keep reading.

During the time of the Islamic revolution in Iran, Nafisi describes the struggles of the nation, of the university at which she teaches, and of her own.  Various events and experiences are described to change the times and culture that Nafisi knows well, but it is evident that literature remains a passionate constant in her life, and one which she strives to instill in her students and others. 

Nafisi's passion is a true inspiration.  While it was hard for me to get into the book at first, I soon found myself curious and eager to read or re-read the books she intimately describes, including Lolita, The Great Gatsby, and Daisy Miller.  I was also intrigued to learn about the culture and impressed with the book's creative layout.

Reading Lolita in Tehran is about more than a mere admiration of books.  Whether describing her living room discussions on literature, classroom conflicts related to the revolution, or personal struggles of how to handle the changing times, Nafisi offers a passion that any reader can connect with and an intrigue that keeps readers connected and constantly inspired. 

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More Reading Lolita in Tehran: A Me... reviews
Quick Tip by . July 06, 2010
interesting look into a different culture
Quick Tip by . June 10, 2010
Interesting perspective from a different cultural standpoint.
Quick Tip by . December 02, 2009
Another book that deserved all the popularity and praise. A rare glimpse into the other side of Tehran -- the bohemians, feminists, etc.
review by . April 23, 2009
"Reading Lolita in Tehran" is an account of the education of a select group of women in Iran during the Islamic revolution. It is certainly interesting to see the changes in the culture as the extremist regime comes to power and forces the women to "lose themselves" to the dominant culture. These women start to wear the veil and give up the freedoms and the things that make them individuals.      This book is interesting with respect to women's rights, middle eastern culture, …
review by . April 12, 2009
Reading Lolita in Tehran" (RLT) is a Persian variation on "One Day in the Life of Ivan Denisovich." Both are about surviving cruel, arbitrary tyrants.     There was a brilliant essay on RLT in the July 19, 2004 "Washington Post" entitled "Sorry, Wrong Chador." At the time, Nafisi's book had not even been translated into Persian, but Iranians still had opinions about it:     "The problem, several Iranians said in interviews, is that Nafisi left Tehran seven …
review by . November 29, 2008
Nafisi's memoir is a mixed bag. Her device--using the great novels she has studied and taught throughout her career as pegs for a memoir about modern Iran--is effective, but her professorship constantly gets in the way. She is bent on forcing her students and readers to see novels her way and to see her world through her lens. That said, she also offers a great deal of insight on what it means to live under the Islamic dictatorship that is post-revolutionary Iran, and many of her quotes from literature …
review by . September 12, 2006
"Reading Lolita in Tehran" (RLT) is a Persian variation on "One Day in the Life of Ivan Denisovich." Both are about surviving cruel, arbitrary tyrants.    There was a brilliant essay on RLT in the July 19, 2004 "Washington Post" entitled "Sorry, Wrong Chador." At the time, Nafisi's book had not even been translated into Persian, but Iranians still had opinions about it:    "The problem, several Iranians said in interviews, is that Nafisi left Tehran seven …
review by . September 02, 2006
"Reading Lolita in Tehran" (RLT) is a Persian variation on "One Day in the Life of Ivan Denisovich." Both are about surviving cruel, arbitrary tyrants.    There was a brilliant essay on RLT in the July 19, 2004 "Washington Post" entitled "Sorry, Wrong Chador." At the time, Nafisi's book had not even been translated into Persian, but Iranians still had opinions about it:    "The problem, several Iranians said in interviews, is that Nafisi left Tehran seven …
review by . July 28, 2006
"Reading Lolita in Tehran" is an account of the education of a select group of women in Iran during the Islamic revolution. It is certainly interesting to see the changes in the culture as the extremist regime comes to power and forces the women to "lose themselves" to the dominant culture. These women start to wear the veil and give up the freedoms and the things that make them individuals.    This book is interesting with respect to women's rights, middle eastern culture, and …
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mikaela ()
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An inspired blend of memoir and literary criticism,Reading Lolita in Tehranis a moving testament to the power of art and its ability to change and improve people's lives. In 1995, after resigning from her job as a professor at a university in Tehran due to repressive policies, Azar Nafisi invited seven of her best female students to attend a weekly study of great Western literature in her home. Since the books they read were officially banned by the government, the women were forced to meet in secret, often sharing photocopied pages of the illegal novels. For two years they met to talk, share, and "shed their mandatory veils and robes and burst into color." Though most of the women were shy and intimidated at first, they soon became emboldened by the forum and used the meetings as a springboard for debating the social, cultural, and political realities of living under strict Islamic rule. They discussed their harassment at the hands of "morality guards," the daily indignities of living under the Ayatollah Khomeini's regime, the effects of the Iran-Iraq war in the 1980s, love, marriage, and life in general, giving readers a rare inside look at revolutionary Iran. The books were always the primary focus, however, and they became "essential to our lives: they were not a luxury but a necessity," she writes.

 

Threaded into the memoir are trenchant discussions of the work of Vladimir Nabokov, F. Scott Fitzgerald, Jane Austen, and other ...

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ISBN-10: 081297106X
ISBN-13: 978-0812971064
Author: Azar Nafisi
Genre: Religion & Spirituality
Publisher: Random House Trade Paperbacks
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