Reading Lolita in Tehran by Azar Nafisi
in their shoes challenge, themed reading challenge
Isn't it interesting how, even if you don't plan it, the books you read go in themes? Reading Reading Lolita in Tehran so soon after Persepolis makes me feel I have just taken a course in Iranian women and the effect of the revolution on their lives. And it certainly makes me appreciate my freedoms and the rights we have to think and live and dream in North America. Added to the Iranian history are the books discussed in Reading: Lolita, The Great Gatsby, Jane Austen's, and Henry James, all of which I have read in just the past year or so (except James').
in 1995, Nafisi started a small discussion group with a few young women after she was fired from her University job as English Literature professor. In the safety of her home they discussed, argued, and dreamed. Nafisi's book is divided into four sections: Lolita, Gatsby, James and Austen, and each section uses those books and authors to parallel and support her discussion of life during the revolution.
There were parts of the books I really liked, most notably the direction comparisons in Austen's books to their lives, and her student's trials and tribulations. There were a lot of big themes and ideas: modern novel, revolution, reformers, democracy, imagination and some sections I am sure my eyes read over but my brain did not comprehend. Nafisi is into 'real literature' and her references and allusions went over my head on many occassions. Her passion and honesty and intelligence come through, and it was a good book, but it was a hard read in that the ideas take some thought and when my poor brain was getting tired, the book dragged. But when I would pick it up full of energy, I would enjoy it. Luckily it was broken into little chapters within the sections, making it easier to pick up and put down.
Here's an interesting post written by doppleganger at 50 books about the famous cover of Reading Lolita in Tehran. I think that post was where I first got the inkling to want to read this book. (I hope I credited that article and post alright)
ps: I need my spellcheck and soon.