Well we FINALLY had our meeting for Reading Lolita in Tehran, by Azar Nafisi. Due to crises in their families, three members could not attend ... our thoughts and prayers are with them. The meeting was moved to my house at the last minute and 5 of us attended. Welcome to our newest members, Jessica and Kelli!
Our discussion of the book wasn't bad, considering that we had the three missing members on our minds. I loved the book, Annette loved it (she was home with the flu), Amber thought it was pretty good, Nicole HATED it, and I think Kelli didn't like it much either. Jess only read a chapter or so and it put her to sleep. :) I'll post the official ratings once I receive them.
To recap, here are some of the main points we discussed:
- the theme of each of the books/authors Nafisi mentioned, and how she related them to her life in Iran
- censorship in general, with discussion of modern day examples including The Satanic Verses, Harry Potter, and The Da Vinci Code
- the concept of home - is it portable or connected to a specific piece of land?
I spoke to mom (Annette) on the phone later. She listened to the audio version of the book and really enjoyed it. She said:
Listening to her describe how the women came into her house and took off their veils ... I could see it right in front of my eyes. I could see the girls coming into my kitchen and sitting down around the table ... it was amazing!
Now THAT is what makes audio books so great! I know there is great controversy in the book world about the use of audio books but this, for me, is why I love them. For more opinions on this, check out this blog.
There were lots of things that we did NOT discuss, including the criticism Nafisi received for writing this book. I had an Washington Post article to hand out, but forgot to give it to everyone at the meeting. Read it here when you get a chance. It talks about how some Iranian-Americans feel she portrayed their country incorrectly and tried to please her Western audience by saying what they wanted to hear. It's a very interesting article.
I heard an interview with Nafisi in which she talked about modern day Iran. Here's a brief excerpt:
Nafisi: Of course, now Iran, because of the young people’s rebellion, is much more open than when I left it in `97. But, I have to cover my hair. Nowadays, they’re much more relaxed because they couldn’t control it. But the way these girls are on the cover of my book, that even is not really proper. You should cover the hair properly. But nobody does that in Iran today.
Question: Do they still have morality patrols running around the city?
Nafisi: I don’t think they have anymore. When I was in Iran in `97 they still had them. But I’m talking with my friends and students and they said that there is so much unrest that they don’t want to add to people’s dissatisfaction by having the morality police around. But they still have raid parties and raid houses, and every once in a while they raid the streets.
Oh, here are the ratings for this book. There were 7 who read it and they gave it: 6x3, 6.5, 7, 8, and 10, with an average of 7.1.
Ok, that's about all I have for now. Please post any comments you may have as I'd love to hear them! We're still planning the date of our next meeting, and I'll post that as soon as I can. Happy reading to all!