Reading "Lolita" in Tehran: A Memoir in Books

by Azar Nafisi | Literature & Fiction |
ISBN: 0007178484 Global Overview for this book
Registered by Jenatleisure of Chobham, Surrey United Kingdom on 3/22/2005
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This book is in the wild! This Book is Currently in the Wild!
8 journalers for this copy...
Journal Entry 1 by Jenatleisure from Chobham, Surrey United Kingdom on Tuesday, March 22, 2005
tbr
I struggled with this and in the end didnt finish it in time for my reading group meeting.
I just found the author's tone and attitude so annoying that it rather overshadowed the, more interesting, story about the women and their lives. Ill try to have another go if and when it comes home



Reading list for the UK

note this is a leisurely ring so if you need extra time no hassle just send me a note

Winterson
Flajol
Caro1
Ziggythecat here in Aug 05
Molyneux
Daemonwolf here December 2005
akg
Chelsea Girl

Journal Entry 2 by Winterson from Peacehaven, East Sussex United Kingdom on Wednesday, April 06, 2005
Just arrived, thanks :) Will get on to it asap :)

Journal Entry 3 by Winterson from Peacehaven, East Sussex United Kingdom on Sunday, May 22, 2005
Well, real life has really got in the way over the last month so I'm having to be sensible and pass on some of the rings that have accumulated here. Unfortunately, this is already overdue, and jenatleisure has said it can be a leisurely ring, but I'm swamped so this is moving on.
I started reading this and liked it so much that I'm going to go out and get a copy so that I can read it without stressing about the big pile of books infront of me.
Sorry, and thanks...

Journal Entry 4 by flajol from Carterton, Wairarapa New Zealand on Sunday, June 12, 2005
Just got back from a lovely sunny week in the Isle of Man to find this waiting for me. I do have a couple of others to get through first, but will try to be quick and get through this soon.

Thanks for sharing!

Journal Entry 5 by flajol from Carterton, Wairarapa New Zealand on Monday, July 11, 2005
A fascinating look at women's lives in Tehran over the past quarter century. I didn't really know anything about Iranian modern history before reading this book, so found it interesting from that point of view.

Literature is discussed passionately, and for the first time I've been tempted (but still not persuaded) to read Nabokov's "Lolita". I really enjoyed Nafisi's exploration of what makes us engage with good literature.

"A novel is not an allegory... It is the sensual experience of another world. If you don't enter that world, hold your breath with the characters and become involved in their destiny, you won't be able to empathise, and empathy is at the heart of the novel. This is how you read a novel: you inhale the experience. So start breathing."

"Reading Lolita in Tehran" is spoiled only by the authors sometimes patronising tone, but ignore that and persevere! You won't be sorry.

Journal Entry 6 by flajol at on Tuesday, July 12, 2005

Released 15 yrs ago (7/12/2005 UTC) at

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Posted this to caro1 this afternoon.

Journal Entry 7 by Caro1 from Newark On Trent, Nottinghamshire United Kingdom on Thursday, July 14, 2005
Azar Nafisi
Arrived safely today. Have another 2 and a quarter rings to go before I get to this one (I'm on page 400 of US/C's 600 page doorstopper), but with holidays approaching I can't wait for the opportunity to read all day if I so fancy!! Thanks for posting flajol.

Journal Entry 8 by Caro1 from Newark On Trent, Nottinghamshire United Kingdom on Friday, August 05, 2005
I really wanted to like this book. At first glance, a book about women's lives in revolutionary Iran, written by a female literature professor, sounds fascinating and right up my street. But I was disappointed to find that this book just isn't particularly well written.
The book is structured in a very peculiar, and to my mind, confusing way. Rather than presenting her story either chronologically or thematically, she divides her work into four sections named for the authors Austen, Henry James and the novels Lolita and The Great Gatsby. This wouldn't have been so bad if she had focused on these authors/novels or the way she taught classes on their work. But Nafisi jumps around within the sections in a rambling almost stream-of-consciousness manner.
Many of the students mentioned blend into obscurity, although this might have been the result of Nafisi obscuring the identities of the students she writes about. Interestingly the ones who stand out are mostly male.
I did enjoy the section on James, but that may have been because I have recently returned to his work as a result of reading Colm Toibin's The Master. There were lots of little gems throughout this book, but you had to search hard to uncover them.
I have finally come to the conclusion, that the novel was a brilliant idea, and in the hands of a less patronising and smug author, might have lived up to its promise. I'm pleased I had the opportunity to read this, despite the drawbacks. Thanks for sharing Jenatleisure.


Journal Entry 9 by ziggythecat from Melton Mowbray, Leicestershire United Kingdom on Saturday, August 13, 2005
Thanks Caro1 & thanks, mmmmmm, for the, yummmmmy chocolate which arrived just when needed (kids driving me distracted!. My favourite - v.dark choc with pistachios, yum.

Journal Entry 10 by ziggythecat from Melton Mowbray, Leicestershire United Kingdom on Monday, October 17, 2005
A really interesting insight into the lives of women in Iran during the 90's. I didn't find the writers style easy to get on with - it took me a long time to get through, so apologies for those waiting.

In its favour though it finally put paid, imho, to those who say that the majority of women in muslim countries like the anonymity/security/repect to be gained from wearing the veil. There were many different feelings amongst the women in the book, but even the strongly religious women resented being forced to wear it, rather than it being their choice to express their religion that way.

I admit also that I stopped reading after about 30 pages & borrowed a copy of 'Lolita' from the library. I'd never read anything by Nabakov (and now want to read more!)& how could I read a book with this title without having read its namesake? I've also resolved, once I've caught up with the pile of bookring books that have built up , to read some Henry James, another unexplored writer for me

Journal Entry 11 by ziggythecat from Melton Mowbray, Leicestershire United Kingdom on Friday, November 04, 2005
I can't seem to get in contact with Molyneux (next on the ring) so the book is now on its way to Daemonwolf.

Journal Entry 12 by rem_DYI-991976 on Thursday, November 24, 2005
This arrived in the post at my old address yesterday. I need to go and collect it at the weekend but am looking forward to starting it. :)

Journal Entry 13 by rem_DYI-991976 on Thursday, December 29, 2005
Read and reviewed on my book journal. Many thanks for a chance to read a book from my wishlist. I will post this onwards in the new year. :)

Released 14 yrs ago (1/7/2006 UTC) at book ring in Mailed to fellow bookcrosser, Postal Release -- Controlled Releases

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Posting on Saturday to akg. :)

Journal Entry 15 by akg from Didcot, Oxfordshire United Kingdom on Tuesday, January 10, 2006
Oh dear, the books are arriving quicker than I can read them. I have several (5) other rings I have to read first, but it has reminded me to spend more time reading and I have already spent over two hours today so hopefully it won't take me too long to get round to it.

Journal Entry 16 by akg from Didcot, Oxfordshire United Kingdom on Sunday, February 12, 2006
Although I found this book interesting this was despite the style of
writing. The book for some reason is split into four sections; Lolita, Gatsby, James and Austen, but the section titles are only vaguely connected to the content. The first section, Lolita describes the reading group Nafisi established after she stopped teaching at university and I found it very difficult to read, in fact so difficult I almost gave up on the book. However the next three sections are easier because they are mostly chronological from the start of the revolution. It is these sections that I found the most interesting because it describes how the lives of people, especially women, changed from the revolution to the current times.

To be honest I think I would have preferred this book if it hadn’t included the reference to literature, which at times felt forced and at times like an English literature lecture. However, it has opened my eyes to the possibility of reading Nabokov, maybe not Lolita (although I am now less prejudiced against that book than previously) but particularly ‘An invitation to a beheading’ which sounds like an intriguing book.

Picture of Nafisi teaching at the University of Tehran

Journal Entry 17 by akg from Didcot, Oxfordshire United Kingdom on Friday, April 21, 2006
Posting this on to Chelseagirl today.

I thought I would also add that I an email over Easter from someone saying they had read my review of this book on Amazon (same text as here) and bought the book book of it. I found this interesting because I didn't rate it that highly!

Journal Entry 18 by chelseagirl from Faringdon, Oxfordshire United Kingdom on Monday, April 24, 2006
Received over the weekend, many thanks. I studied Iranian film and, consequently, the role of women in Iran when I was at uni which is why I wanted to read this originally. It's had such a mixed bag of reviews but I'll try and approach it with an open mind! As usual I'm swamped with rings so will take you up on your "leisurely" offer, Jen!

Journal Entry 19 by chelseagirl from Faringdon, Oxfordshire United Kingdom on Friday, September 22, 2006
I'm afraid I'm really struggling with this, part of me really wants to give up (I've just got past page 50) and part of me wants to persevere - but I've got such a butterfly mind for books at the moment that I really want instant gratification, ad this just isn't doing it for me! The story of the women's lives is intriguing but as others have said, I find the author really patronising and she hasn't done a very good job of drawing each separate woman so I get really confused between them all. The literary references are going straight over my head as I'm not well read in the classics and haven't read anything by any of the authors she covers (though I'd like to read some Nabokov), and I find myself flicking through the literary sections to find out more about the women.

What are the plans for this book now? Jen, do you want it back? I'd like to hang on to it in the hope that at some point I'll be in the right frame of mind to stick with it, but equally I'm happy to send it back/on!!

Journal Entry 20 by chelseagirl from Faringdon, Oxfordshire United Kingdom on Wednesday, November 29, 2006
Jenatleisure doesn't want this back so I'll mark it available and will take it to a meet sometime in the future

Journal Entry 21 by chelseagirl at Coate Water in Swindon, Wiltshire United Kingdom on Sunday, August 26, 2007

Released 12 yrs ago (8/26/2007 UTC) at Coate Water in Swindon, Wiltshire United Kingdom

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To be released somewhere in the park during this afternoon's BCUK barbecue

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