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Reading Lolita in Tehran: A Memoir in Books
Reading Lolita in Tehran A Memoir in Books
Author: Azar Nafisi
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. As Islamic morality squads staged arbitrary raids in Tehran, fundamentalists seized hold of the universities, and a blind censor stif...  more »
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ISBN-13: 9780812971064
ISBN-10: 081297106X
Publication Date: 12/30/2003
Pages: 384
  • Currently 3.2/5 Stars.

3.2 stars, based on 1396 ratings
Publisher: Random House Trade Paperbacks
Book Type: Paperback
Other Versions: Hardcover, Audio Cassette, Audio CD
Reviews: Member | Amazon | Write a Review

Top Member Book Reviews

scrapbooklady avatar reviewed Reading Lolita in Tehran: A Memoir in Books on + 472 more book reviews
Helpful Score: 48
It took me a few chapters to get into "Reading Lolita". I thought it was going to be a strict memoir, and when she digressed into these elaborate dissertations on (especially Lolita), I found myself getting bored. Now, I'm not one to ever eschew an intellectual conversation or debate on anything, but I really wanted to hear about the girls and their lives and Azar Nafisi's life in this horrible theocratic regime. I also wanted to know how they managed to get away with reading such blasphemous stuff. When Azar Nafisi talked of these things, I couldn't put the book down, but when she started on her diatribes and nuanced descriptions of "Lolita", Nabokov, Fitzgerald and Austen, I found my mind wandering. I suppose if I had picked up a book entitled, "The In-Depth Analysis of Vladimir Nabokov and Lolita", I wouldn't have felt that way, but as you know, this isn't that book. As the book progressed, I really did have affection for some of the characters, and I truly felt scared for them and hoped that this book didn't have a horrible ending like all the women getting executed. Luckily, we didn't have to deal with that, but I wish Azar Nafisi would write a book just talking about the lives and feelings and situations of young women in Iran, so that people in the United States can really figure out what's going on over there. Unfortunately, I believe that would be hard for Nafisi to do. She is definitely an intellectual, and I think her interest lies in absolutely dissecting fiction in a way that no one else is really interested in.

Finally, I do believe this book is worth reading. I learned some things about what was going on when the Ayatollah was in power, things I didn't realize and I did find myself sort of missing "the girls" after reading the last page and closing the book.
reviewed Reading Lolita in Tehran: A Memoir in Books on + 16 more book reviews
Helpful Score: 28
This is not a badly written book. I kept losing interest in it - Anyone over the age of 30 is aware of the oppression that women in Iran suffered upon the Revolution. The problem I had with it is that in order to fully comprehend this story, the literature discussed in this memoir should be fresh in the reader's head. Unfortunately, I haven't read stories such as The Great Gatsby or Lolita in years, and didn't want to reread these stories solely for the sake of Nafisi's book.
bananapancakes avatar reviewed Reading Lolita in Tehran: A Memoir in Books on + 95 more book reviews
Helpful Score: 19
I was really looking forward to reading this book, but when I started I found it somewhat boring. I have never read Lolita, so I guess this started me off on the wrong foot. I wanted to read more about the women and their lives in Iran than the discussions in their bookclub. I am posting this book but will try to finish before it goes.
reviewed Reading Lolita in Tehran: A Memoir in Books on + 49 more book reviews
Helpful Score: 12
I tried very hard to read this book. I usually read a minimum of 50 pages before deciding I don't like a book. I gave this book about 100 pages and still couldn't find it worth my time. It was a big disappointment to me as I was anxious to learn more about the women and the challenges they faced. Instead, for my tastes, too much of the book was being devoted to a critique of the books the women in the group read. I wanted to read more about the women and less about the books.
reviewed Reading Lolita in Tehran: A Memoir in Books on + 101 more book reviews
Helpful Score: 12
I left this book with a renewed sense of strength and an amplified connection to the collective of women on our planet. How these goddesses of Iran deal with such oppression is something every woman and man should appreciate. Though it may not be fraught with "action" as some may want, I found this book to be an impossible to put down read...stick with it if you are having trouble beeing pulled in. The empathy will pour out of you as you read, especially for those with open hearts & minds.
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reviewed Reading Lolita in Tehran: A Memoir in Books on
Very insightful.
Readnmachine avatar reviewed Reading Lolita in Tehran: A Memoir in Books on + 1288 more book reviews
This book is nominally about a group of women who gather in Tehran after the fall of the Shah and the imposition of restrictions on women's movements and activities, to read and discuss Western literature. While that provides a framework, the book is mostly the memoir of their instructor, an Iranian-born, American-educated woman who watches in sorrow and horror as her country descends into chaos, violence, and represseion. Readers who are not familiar with the literary works they discuss may be hampered, and the members of the reading group never achieved full identity for me.
Smellen avatar reviewed Reading Lolita in Tehran: A Memoir in Books on
This was a beautiful book which gave me insight and appreciation for the freedome we have in the US. Azar Nafisi is also an excellent speaker and global citizen. I recommend this book and would read another one of her books in the future. I read this with a book club and that also helped in understanding it. I would recommend for book club reading.


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