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Reading Lolita in Tehran

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LeeAnn is reading, and I started a few months ago, Reading Lolita in Tehran. Here’s a quick summary from Amazon if anyone else is interested in reading it:

In 1995, after resigning from her job as a professor at a university in Tehran due to repressive policies, Azar Nafisi invited seven of her best female students to attend a weekly study of great Western literature in her home. Since the books they read were officially banned by the government, the women were forced to meet in secret, often sharing photocopied pages of the illegal novels. For two years they met to talk, share, and “shed their mandatory veils and robes and burst into color.” Though most of the women were shy and intimidated at first, they soon became emboldened by the forum and used the meetings as a springboard for debating the social, cultural, and political realities of living under strict Islamic rule. They discussed their harassment at the hands of “morality guards,” the daily indignities of living under the Ayatollah Khomeini’s regime, the effects of the Iran-Iraq war in the 1980s, love, marriage, and life in general, giving readers a rare inside look at revolutionary Iran. The books were always the primary focus, however, and they became “essential to our lives: they were not a luxury but a necessity,” she writes.

Threaded into the memoir are trenchant discussions of the work of Vladimir Nabokov, F. Scott Fitzgerald, Jane Austen, and other authors who provided the women with examples of those who successfully asserted their autonomy despite great odds. The great works encouraged them to strike out against authoritarianism and repression in their own ways, both large and small: “There, in that living room, we rediscovered that we were also living, breathing human beings; and no matter how repressive the state became, no matter how intimidated and frightened we were, like Lolita we tried to escape and to create our own little pockets of freedom,” she writes. In short, the art helped them to survive.

Last Book Read?

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I have to admit, with a newborn I have not been reading much lately. I think that I am about three months behind on magazines, alone, and do not get me started on my Ensign reading — I think that I have a few still in plastic.

The last book that I read was “Austenland” — a book about a woman obsessed with Pride and Prejudice who gets a two week stay in an “experience” based entirely on the book. Easy read. Clean.

What was the last book that you read?

January’s Book

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January’s Pick: Anna and the King

I finally got Anny and the King from the library yesterday.  I wonder if I got the wrong edition — it looks a little short.  Has anyone else started reading?