New Years Book #1: Reading Lolita in Tehran

As I've stated previously on this blog, I made a New Year's resolution to read one book for every two weeks of 2006. This won't include my school books (I have to read 75 pages of a book about Brown v. Board by next Tuesday). I'll read two books per month and fit in two more (to make 26; or I may read even more) during times when I have more time on my hands or am reading a smaller book. I'll write a small paragraph about each book I read on this blog. I rationalize writing about words on a music blog by insisting that just as music is breathing, so is literature. Words validate the tedious chore of day-to-day existence. The first book was Reading Lolita in Tehran by Azar Nafisi.

I'll put Reading Lolita in Tehran with books like On the Road, Writing Down the Bones, and 1984 on the list of books that have changed my life. Nafisi has inspired and nurtured a love for literature that was already blooming inside me. She taught literature in Iran during the Islamic revolution. It was a strange and turbulent time to read authors like Fitzgerald and James. Her students of opposing ideologies made these works a battlefield while she synthesized the tremendous upheavals of society through this literary lens. She later created, when the revolution was cemented and liberty lost, a secret class to study such authors as Nabokov and Austen. Nafisi's analysis of these works is always bold, surprising, and insightful. Her memories and contemplations on life in Iran are inspiring. Her genuine passion for literature is contagious. This memoir is worth reading even if one is unfamiliar with Iran or these works of fiction.

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