Saturday, March 12, 2011

Reading Lolita in Tehran

Reading Lolita in Tehran
Azar Nafisi
343 pages
Publisher: Random House

The last memoir I read, Eat Pray Love, didn't go so well and I was really hoping Reading Lolita in Tehran wouldn't turn out the same way.  Thankfully, it turned out be to quite enjoyable.  One of the main reasons I wanted to read this book was because I read Lolita last month and the title really made me think, "What would happen if you were a young woman in Iran reading a banned book?  Lolita, at that."

The memoir takes a look at Azar Nafisi's former life in Iran, where not only did she teach at a college, but also had a book club for some girls from her class where they would read and discuss such "controversial" and banned books such as Lolita, The Great Gatsby, as well as books by Henry James and Jane Austen.  I (obviously) love reading so I was excited to read a book about reading books, but what's more I was eager to read a book describing what it was like to live in Iran.

We see things about Iran and the Middle East on the news all the time, but you have to take it with a grain of salt.  What's it like to live there?  I think that's what I enjoyed most about this memoir, reading what it was like to live in Iran, go to work/school every day, despite bombings from Iraq.  Nafisi is very good at describing the situations and putting you right in there - though it is still hard to imagine what it's like to live in Tehran.

Overall, I really enjoyed this book.  Halfway through I was sure I was going to give it five stars, but because I felt like it dragged on a bit at the end it only got four.  But four stars is great and I definitely recommend this memoir for anyone looking for a little serious reading.

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