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