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Reading Lolita in Tehran: A Memoir in Books by Azar Nafisi
by Azar Nafisi | Nonfiction
Registered by ladyoflight of Somerville, Massachusetts USA on 1/4/2005
Average 4 star rating by BookCrossing Members 

status (set by CdnBlueRose): to be read


9 journalers for this copy...

Journal Entry 1 by ladyoflight from Somerville, Massachusetts USA on Tuesday, January 04, 2005

This book has not been rated.

I bought this book because I had heard so much chatter about it being a book for women and for booklovers, and I thought, hey I'm a woman and a booklover, so why not? Why not? Well, because Nafisi makes this book almost completely about her. Since it was advertised differently, I was very disappointed. Moreover, I felt the author's tirades against the Islamic Revolution in Iran tended to become anti-Islamic, not anti-Revolution. Her belittling of women who chose to wear the veil as a political protest against the Westernized government before '79 exemplifies her failure to realize that the veil can be empowering in some instances. She doesn't see that declaring women's wearing the veil in protest as moot makes her not wearing it in protest just as moot. I'm going to pass this book along to someone who might enjoy it because I just could not get past the inconsistencies and thinly-veiled prejudices. 


Journal Entry 2 by ladyoflight from Somerville, Massachusetts USA on Wednesday, January 05, 2005

This book has not been rated.

I'm sending this to CdnBlueRose. I hope you enjoy the book. As always, there are no strings attached to this RABCK, but I will mention that both corry000 and Breeni have expressed interest in this book if anyone wants to start a ring/ray. I stress that I want no one to feel obligated in any way. Just trying to spread the joy and reading. 


Journal Entry 3 by CdnBlueRose from Lynden, Washington USA on Wednesday, January 19, 2005

This book has not been rated.

Received from ladyoflight as an RABCK, and is now reserved for Breeni..... will PM when I've read it..... Thanks ladyoflight! 


Journal Entry 4 by CdnBlueRose from Lynden, Washington USA on Sunday, December 18, 2005

This book has not been rated.

As noted, this book was reserved for Breeni, but I've been in touch with Breeni and she has now indicated that she obtained another copy which she tried to get into and simply couldn't so she gave up, passed that copy on, and no longer has any desire to make further attempt to read this book so doesn't want this copy either. My own desire to read this book has faded after hearing numerous poor reviews and recently when another BXing friend expressed interest in finding additional copies for bookrings, I offered this copy up for that purpose. Perhaps the book will find it's way back to me one day and I still may read it, but right now, it just isn't calling out to me! Right now, I'm awaiting the address for the first bookring member and I'll send it out on it's new journey! 


Journal Entry 5 by morsecode from Buffalo, New York USA on Thursday, December 22, 2005

This book has not been rated.

The lovely CdnBlueRose has graciously agreed to let me send her copy of Reading Lolita in Tehran on a little trip. Thanks so much, Rosie!

I had so much interest in a ring for Reading Lolita in Tehran that I'm playing travel agent for 3 copies of the book. This copy will be referred at as Ring C. Here are links to the journals for the other two copies: Ring A and Ring B


Journal Entry 6 by morsecode from Buffalo, New York USA on Thursday, December 22, 2005

This book has not been rated.

Ring Details
- Please journal the book when you receive it and again after you’ve read it and are sending it on to the next person.
- Please try to read the book within 3 weeks of receiving it.
(I don't care if you need to keep the book for longer than 3 weeks, just let me know so I won't worry)
- Feel free to use the most cost-effective shipping method.
- PM or email me (there is a link from my profile) if you have any problems or questions concerning the ring.
- Enjoy the book!
Shipping Order:
1. mamagoggle (US)
2. Starry-Starry (UK)
3. Fire-Dragon (UK)
4. skribble (UK)
5. Giz-angel (UK)
6. xanapeq (UK) (asked to be skipped)
7. Jaycee1972 (UK)
8. pam99 (UK) (no reply to PMs)
9. Breeze144 (Canada) (asked to be skipped)

& back to CdnBlueRose (US)
COMPLETE! 


Journal Entry 7 by CdnBlueRose from Lynden, Washington USA on Wednesday, December 28, 2005

This book has not been rated.

Book on it's way to mamagoggle this morning - ENJOY! 


Journal Entry 8 by mamagoggle from Middlesex, New Jersey USA on Sunday, January 08, 2006

This book has not been rated.

I received the book this week and hope to start it tonight. Thanks! 


Journal Entry 9 by mamagoggle from Middlesex, New Jersey USA on Sunday, February 12, 2006

2 out of 10

I really tried to make my way through this book, but after forcing myself up to page 130 or so, I just couldn't make myself go any further. There just wasn't anything that drew me into the book...I wasn't fond of the writer, it was more about the revolution in Iran than I cared to read about, I had no real interest in the other characters and I haven't read any Nabokov myself so her constant references to his works meant nothing to me.
I guess it just wasn't the book for me. I hope the others in the bookring get more enjoyment from it. I will send it on to Starry-Starry as soon as she sends her address. 


Journal Entry 10 by mamagoggle from Middlesex, New Jersey USA on Thursday, February 16, 2006

2 out of 10

This book left today for its trip "across the pond" to Starry-starry in the U. K. 


Journal Entry 11 by Starry-Starry from Llandrindod Wells, Wales United Kingdom on Monday, February 20, 2006

This book has not been rated.

Arrived this morning, thanks Mamagoggle. This has been on my wishlist forever, so looking foward to reading it. I have one other bookray in the hosue, but will get to this as soon as I can. 


Journal Entry 12 by Starry-Starry from Llandrindod Wells, Wales United Kingdom on Tuesday, February 28, 2006

This book has not been rated.

Like others have mentioned here I found this book difficult to get into. I found the information about her life and that of her students in Iran fascinating but there was too much discussion about Nabakov. I've not read any of Nabakov's works, though Lolita is on my TBR, so the discussions were meaningless to me. Eventually I skipped to the section on Austen which I enjoyed more. I liked the way she compared the society in which Austen lived with Iranian society. The lack of freedoms for women and the way in which marriage is a must, and I'd not heard Pride and Prejudice compared to a dance before and liked that analogy.

However, she admits that "I am too much of an academic: I have written too many papers and articles to be able to turn my experiences and ideas into narrative without pontificating " and this is what I find difficult about this book. It was neither one thing or another. Mixing literary critique with life story didn't work for me essentially, though there were parts that I really enjoyed. As a whole there were too many irritations - lack of consistent speech marks was particularly annoying - for me to keep plodding on and I kept skipping to more interesting sections.

Maybe I would have enjoyed it more if I had read all the books under discussion, but as it is I have had to leave most of the book unread.

Thanks for organising the ring Morsecode and to CdnBlueRose for donating the book. I'll send this on as soon as I have Firedragon's address 


Journal Entry 13 by Fire-Dragon from Sydney, New South Wales Australia on Monday, March 06, 2006

This book has not been rated.

This arrived today. I will try to read it soon. I am reading Lolita by Vladimir Nabokov first as I imagined it would make a good companion read. I now see that the book discusses other literary works and authors as well, namely Jane Austen, F. Scott Fitzgerald and Henry James. I've read most of Austen and I've read The Great Gatsby and James' The Bostonians and Portrait of a Lady so I should have at least a nodding acquaintance with the discussions in the book. I'm interested in Iran and the revolution too so hopefully I'll enjoy this book. 


Journal Entry 14 by Fire-Dragon from Sydney, New South Wales Australia on Wednesday, March 29, 2006

8 out of 10

I'd only heard good things about this book so when it arrived I was surprised to read so many negative journal entries. Unlike virtually everyone else who has read this copy so far, I really enjoyed this book. I liked it both as a memoir about Iran - a fascinating country at a fascinating point in its history - and as a piece of literary criticism. It was quite dense but I didn't mind that.

It helped that I was fresh from reading Lolita, which is the focus of the first chapter, so I was able to get into it straight away. I hadn't read all the books but enough that I could get by. I would have liked more on the books but I liked how she wove it into the the story.

I took this as one woman's perspective on both her experience and her interpretation of the experience of those around her. I don't agree with everything she says and I don't need to. But I do also disagree with ladyoflight's contention that her tirades against the Islamic Revolution are anti-Islamic rather than anti-Revolution. She was herself a revolutionary but she thought they were fighting for more rights, not less. All of her criticisms are about the regime itself and the way they use religion, not about religion itself.

I also don't agree that she "belittles women who chose to wear the veil as political protest" before the revolution. She does NOT declare that wearing the veil in protest is moot - the point for her is freedom of choice and just as her grandmother wore the veil in defiance, she chooses to honour that memory by defying attempts to impose it upon her.

I think at one point she does say that pre-revolution wearing the veil made a statement, whereas once the veil was mandatory it was impossible to tell whether someone was making a statement about faith or politics or just complying with the law and trying not to get thrown in jail. Once the veil is compulsory, there is still validity in wearing it for personal or religious reasons, but the political or social reason for wearing has disappeared because everyone else is to. I'm not entirely sure whether I agree or disagree with this but it's a far cry from belittling the women who chose to wear it pre-revolution (as her own grandmother did).

I think you need to read the whole book to appreciate its many layers and complexities. She goes back and forwards in time so you get a complete picture of not only Iran's revolutionary history but also her own development as a person and a writer. Any inconsistencies are more as a result of the fact that she is a person and people change and grow.

I do agree that the book might have been objectively better if it were less rambling and the prose less academic, but then that was part of its charm and I didn't find it it offputting.

PM-ing Skribble. 


Journal Entry 15 by skribble from London, Greater London United Kingdom on Saturday, April 08, 2006

This book has not been rated.

I have been away and found this book waiting for me at home yesterday.

I'm interested to start reading it as it's been one of those titles I've heard a lot about. 


Journal Entry 16 by skribble from London, Greater London United Kingdom on Sunday, June 11, 2006

This book has not been rated.

Well it's taken me two months to get through it but I got there in the end.
It's a very dense book with a great deal that I found very interesting, but it was too hard-going to be enjoyable.

I enjoyed the chapters on Lolita and Austen which felt to be more closely connected to the book's marketing centering on reading group set up by Nafisi. The central chapters on James and Gatsby had me both lost and bogged down. I suspect this is as much to with my ignorance about Iran as it does the quality of the book.

Will move the book on as soon as I have the address! 


Journal Entry 17 by Giz-angel from Greenwich, Greater London United Kingdom on Wednesday, June 21, 2006

This book has not been rated.

This arrived today - thank you! I will get to it in the next 2 weeks and then I'll be back :-) 


Journal Entry 18 by Giz-angel from Greenwich, Greater London United Kingdom on Tuesday, July 04, 2006

This book has not been rated.

I'm falling into the cannot get into the book category - the thing is, I have so many TBR books that I am becoming far more ruthless these days so if I'm not enjoying a book I just stop! I think I may get another copy and come back to this at a later date because for me, unless I am really loving a book the pressure of bookrings is hard.

PMing xanapeq for addy now. Thanks very much Morsie for ringing this book :-) 


Journal Entry 19 by Jaycee1972 from Belper, Derbyshire United Kingdom on Saturday, July 15, 2006

This book has not been rated.

Received today. I am looking forward to this and am suprised to read so many negative comments. I will let you know what I think soon as I only have 1 other ring at the moment. Thanks for sharing. 


Journal Entry 20 by Jaycee1972 from Belper, Derbyshire United Kingdom on Sunday, August 27, 2006

This book has not been rated.

Sorry to have had this so long. I have had a couple of goes at it but have not managed to get into it. I am pming Pam99 for her address. 


Journal Entry 21 by Jaycee1972 from Belper, Derbyshire United Kingdom on Friday, September 22, 2006

This book has not been rated.

2nd pm to Pam99 for address. 


Journal Entry 22 by Jaycee1972 from Belper, Derbyshire United Kingdom on Sunday, November 12, 2006

This book has not been rated.

3rd pm sent - if no reply in a week will pm next person on list. 


Journal Entry 23 by Jaycee1972 from Belper, Derbyshire United Kingdom on Wednesday, November 29, 2006

This book has not been rated.

Still nothing from pam99 so will pm breeze144, 


Journal Entry 24 by Jaycee1972 from Belper, Derbyshire United Kingdom on Thursday, November 30, 2006

This book has not been rated.

Breeze has also asked to be skipped so this will be going home to cdnbluerose as soon as I get an address. Pm sent.

Edit 1/12/06 - Posting this week. 


Journal Entry 25 by CdnBlueRose from Lynden, Washington USA on Monday, February 12, 2007

This book has not been rated.

Book has arrived home! 


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