Reading "Lolita" in Tehran: A Memoir in Books

by Azar Nafisi | Literature & Fiction |
ISBN: 081297106x Global Overview for this book
Registered by loveamystery of Vancouver, British Columbia Canada on 1/16/2007
Buy from one of these Booksellers: | Amazon UK | Amazon CA | Amazon DE | Amazon FR | Amazon IT |
10 journalers for this copy...
Journal Entry 1 by loveamystery from Vancouver, British Columbia Canada on Tuesday, January 16, 2007
From the back cover: "Every Thursday morning for two years in the Islamic Republic of Iran, a bold and inspired teacher named Azar Nafisi secretly gathered seven of her most committed female students to read forbidden Western classics. An Islamic morality squad staged arbitrary raids in Tehran, fundamentalists seized hold of the universities, and a blind censor stifled artistic expression, the girls in Azar Nafisi's livingroom risked removing their veils and immersed themselves in the worlds of Jane Austin, F.scott Fitzgerald, Henry James, and Vladimir nabokov. In this extraordinary memoir, their stories become intertwined with the ones they sre reading. Reading Lolita in Tehran is a remarkable exploration of resilience in the face of tyranny and a celebration of the liberating power of literature."

This is an extremely well written book that gives the reader an inside look into Iran from the seventies to modern day. It describes once again how the political situation in a country affects people's lives in many many ways. The author has managed to use her knowledge and love of the novel, her great insight, and her life experiences in Iran, to bring us, the reader, an understanding of what life is like for women, for writers, for all who chose freedom of expression, and for those who are only carrying on their everyday life in this country. It also shows us the wonder and also the relevence of fiction. It gives us an imaginary world as well as helping us to view our own world. This book left me feeling sad and angry, but so so appreciative of the freedoms I enjoy and the choices open to me in my country. I am very happy that this author was able to leave and to write her book. I highly recommend this.

Journal Entry 2 by loveamystery from Vancouver, British Columbia Canada on Tuesday, January 16, 2007
This is the second copy going out as a bookring. Please receive, read and send the book on within a month.

The list is as follows:

kihli (Greece)
malagan (Netherlands)
rapturina (Netherlands)
moontree (UK)
mallary (France)
ecossaise (Germany)
max9(MrsJennings now) (UK)
conto (Portugal) <----IT'S HERE

Journal Entry 3 by loveamystery at Bookring in Bookring, A Bookring -- Controlled Releases on Wednesday, January 17, 2007

Released 13 yrs ago (1/17/2007 UTC) at Bookring in Bookring, A Bookring -- Controlled Releases



This book is now on its way to kihli by surface mail. It should take about a month to reach there. Enjoy!

Journal Entry 4 by kihli from Thessaloniki, Thessaloniki Greece on Monday, March 05, 2007
the book just arrived,thank you so much! Looking forward to reading it and continue the bookring!

Journal Entry 5 by kihli from Thessaloniki, Thessaloniki Greece on Wednesday, April 04, 2007
a well written book,although at times a bit tiring for me,maybe because I hadn't read all the works of literature mentioned get to know more things about Iran and the regime there,some already known,some others,not.
getting ready to travel to the next participant,thanks loveamystery!

Journal Entry 6 by kihli at on Monday, April 16, 2007

Released 12 yrs ago (4/16/2007 UTC) at



sending it to malagan together with the wonderful bookmark it had when it arrived to me...

Journal Entry 7 by malagan from Zutphen, Gelderland Netherlands on Wednesday, April 25, 2007
Received today, thanks for sending! I will read it and pass it on!

Journal Entry 8 by malagan from Zutphen, Gelderland Netherlands on Tuesday, August 14, 2007
The book is on it''s way to rapturina, hope she will enjoy the book!

Journal Entry 9 by rapturina from Rotterdam, Zuid-Holland Netherlands on Friday, August 17, 2007
It''s here! Just when I thought I had finally run out of ring books to read this one arrived. :D No matter though, it looks fascinating and I''m looking forward to reading this book.

Journal Entry 10 by rapturina from Rotterdam, Zuid-Holland Netherlands on Thursday, September 06, 2007
I really liked this book; I thought it was a fascinating insight into the lives of these Iranian women and how they coped with the challenges of daily life under the strict regime. I also thought it was very cleverly done, discussing the novels and drawing parallels between the world of fiction and the real world. I haven't actually read any of the novels mentioned in this book, but I definitely am even more interested in reading them now!

My favourite quote was "A great novel heightens your senses and sensitivity to the complexities of life and of individuals, and prevents you from the self-righteousness that sees morality in fixed formulas about good and evil"- I think this quote really nails down what I thought was an essential message in this novel: everyone is an individual, and no one is wholly good or wholly evil, even if they might seem to be so at first glance. I think this novel beautifully illustrated the complexity of life and how one's individual choices shape how people see you.

On its way to moontree in the UK as of today!

Journal Entry 11 by newcastlemarga from Newcastle upon Tyne, Tyne and Wear United Kingdom on Sunday, September 09, 2007
This arrived with me today. Thanks very much for the tea! (I will keep the beautiful bookmark with the book.) I have one book ring to get through before this, but will try to be as quick as I can.

Journal Entry 12 by newcastlemarga from Newcastle upon Tyne, Tyne and Wear United Kingdom on Tuesday, December 18, 2007
Sorry that I'm so late in journalling this. I started a master's in September and things have been a bit hectic!

A fascinating insight into life in Iran.

Jesmongirl has asked to be skipped, so this is going in the post to Mallary in the next few days.

Journal Entry 13 by Mallary from Ginestas, Languedoc-Roussillon France on Thursday, January 10, 2008
Received today with thanks! I'm looking forward to reading this!

Journal Entry 14 by Mallary from Ginestas, Languedoc-Roussillon France on Monday, February 25, 2008
I didn't enjoy this book and I didn't finish it.
Sorry, maybe I was in the wrong frame of mind!
Thanks for sharing it though.
Soon be on it's way to ecossaise in Germany.

Journal Entry 15 by Mallary from Ginestas, Languedoc-Roussillon France on Monday, March 31, 2008
I posted this last week. Sorry it took me so long.
Hopefully it will reach ecossaise very soon.

Journal Entry 16 by ecossaise on Sunday, April 06, 2008
Thanks! The book arrived this week and I'm zooming through it as I'm really enjoying it, so should be ready to send on soon

Journal Entry 17 by MrsJennings from Plymouth, Devon United Kingdom on Wednesday, April 23, 2008
The book arrived back in the UK yesterday after its sojourn on the continent; thanks ecossaise. Looking forward to reading it.

Journal Entry 18 by MrsJennings from Plymouth, Devon United Kingdom on Thursday, May 01, 2008
Enjoyed the book, thanks for sending it out loveamystery. I particularly liked the Gatsby trial. Interesting to read about women in Iran. I have conto's address so will be sending it on its way to the last reader on the list tomorrow.

Sent 2/05/08

Journal Entry 19 by conto from Lisboa (city), Lisboa (distrito) Portugal on Monday, May 05, 2008
It has just arrived. Thanks a lot MrsJennings, for sending it along.

It seems I'm the last one on this ring (am I right?) therefore I won't rush, as I'm going through a piece of difficult literature at the moment and I would prefer to not put it down just yet or I'm afraid I won't find the courage to get to it again soon and it's a book I really wanted to read. Anyway, I think I won't take much more than the one month length to send it home again.

Journal Entry 20 by conto from Lisboa (city), Lisboa (distrito) Portugal on Sunday, June 01, 2008
Finished it and absolutely loved reading it!
I must say I was a bit afraid of this being just another “poor veiled women in an Islamic country” kind of thing, which is a genre I don’t appreciate. As a matter of fact, it is not: it’s more about the author's experience of teaching literature and interacting with the students, while placing those experiences within the context of the times in Iran and it is beautifully written, educational, both literarily and historically and I found it to be not a very easy or light read but very inspiring.

Before this book I didn't know anything or close to that, about Iran and I still don't know how much of it is faithful to historical events as they took place as well as how much one can generalize about the Iranians and their lives based on this book. Still, I was captivated by Dr. Nafisi's memories and those “small” things like the description of people starved for cultural experiences willing to endure hours of silence and immobility simply to listen to an amateur band playing music or willing to queue for hours for a ticket to watch a film both extensively censored and in a language they didn’t understand, of people who being unable to express their emotions, find their only safe outlet to be in political rallies and wild expressions of their faith, of the non-muslim establishments required to display "religious minority" in order to protect the faithful from contamination.

I think I must try and find this book so that I can buy it for myself, as I wish to review some of it while reading or re-reading some of the works it talks about, from James, Nabokov, Bellow or Austen (though I don’t thing I’ll go back to Fitzgerald). I also wish I had copied some parts while reading, as some made so much sense to me, but it’s always a hard work to do while reading in transports or in bed at night.

Finally, thank you so very much loveamistery, for the opportunity to read such a terrific book. I’ll be sending you a PM asking for your address, so that this one can return home after it’s travels!

PS - Afterwards, loveamystery told me not to send the book back. I'll have another opportunity to go back to it. Thank you so much!

Journal Entry 21 by conto at Lisboa (city), Lisboa (distrito) Portugal on Tuesday, February 07, 2017
After visiting Iran two years ago, and planning to go back this year, I decided it was finally time to get to read this book once more. And it was like meeting an old friend after a long time apart. Loved it as much as that first time, when I knew nothing of Iran, now that I recognized so many little details of daily life.
But once more, it was also the love of literature and the way the fiction is presented in parallel with real life, giving a very interesting vision of those classics, one I would never have grabbed by myself.

Journal Entry 22 by conto at Lisboa (city), Lisboa (distrito) Portugal on Tuesday, February 07, 2017
Travelling to a fellow BCer, one I guess will love to read this book :)

Journal Entry 23 by irus at Bragança, Bragança Portugal on Thursday, February 09, 2017
What a well traveled book that arrived to my mail box yesterday.
Many thanks, conto, for allowing me to discover yet another country through books.

Will read it as soon as I finish the one I'm reading.

Journal Entry 24 by irus at Bragança, Bragança Portugal on Wednesday, April 19, 2017
I loved the book at first, the secret classes that was both a chance to learn about literature as an escape to the daily routine, a place where this women could talk and act freely. I loved the opportunity to now more about the recent history of Iran, the terrible things people (specially women) had to endure, from prison to being inspect from head to toe, looking for the simplest thing as the colour of the nails.

Strangely, given the title, what sometimes bored me more was the constant reference to literature. I think that I prefered a straightforward book about Iran rather than trying to catch the readers attention to the similarities about fiction and reality. But that’s my fault, since what the author is a literature teacher and writes about her experience.

That’s why I read the that last pages with the enthusiasm of the beginning. Its again more about Mrs Nafisi students, their lives, their future. About real life.

I now, conto, shall I send the book back to you, so you can pass to any of your travel companions or shall I pass it to another bookcrosser of your choice? Wait for you comments – and your arrival ☺

Journal Entry 25 by conto at Lisboa (city), Lisboa (distrito) Portugal on Monday, July 03, 2017
Got it back quite a while ago. So sorry for not journaling it, irus.
It's with S right now...

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