I am so excited to have questions to answer! I got quite a few comments on my Weekly Geeks #12 post from earlier this week. All of the questions related to Stardust are in a separate post from yesterday, found here. It’s a longer review of the book, more like a normal review, since Stardust was a book I read after starting this blog and just been too lazy to review. The rest of the questions were related to old favorites, which are divided up in this post per each book.
Reading Lolita in Tehran
Christine from She Reads Books asked: Did reading this book change your perspective on Iran and/or make you want to learn more about it? What was the most surprising or shocking passage in the book? Have you read all or any of the books that were read in the Tehran book club (Lolita, Daisy Millar, etc)? Did knowing those texts inform upon your reading of Nafisi’s text?
Reading Lolita in Tehran is a memoir by Azar Nafisi about her experiences as a college professor during the mid-1990s. The book is organized in four sections — Lolita, Gatsby, James, and Austen — that each focus around a book the covert book club read. When I first read Reading Lolita two years ago during a class on totalitarianism, I had only read The Great Gatsby and Lolita. I think reading those books previously did enhance my experience because I was able to compare my reading of the text to a completely different interpretation. One of my favorite things about Reading Lolita is learning about the the way a non-Western audience reinterpreted a classic I’d grown to know and love. Nafisi’s writing style is wonderful, and her descriptions of the books the club read are eloquent and interesting, especially for anyone who loves books. However, even having not read much Austen or James, I was still able to appreciate the commentary on those books.
This book certainly made me want to read more about Iran and other Islamic regimes. All I really knew about the Middle East, and Islamic regimes in particular, was what came up on the news about the Taliban in Afghanistan. Reading this book was probably the first thing that opened my eyes to some of the brutality and unfairness happening to women in that country. The most shocking incident from the book that I can remember off-hand was seeing the way the regime slowly rook over, gradually taking away rights in a way that at first seemed just restrictive but soon grew to be overwhelming. While I haven’t read much more about Iran specifically, fiction like The Swallows of Kabul and other nonfiction books have helped me learn more about how Islamic regimes and the status codes they enforce are detrimental to both men and women that live with them.
Andi from AndiLit asked: What is the book like? I hear good things about it and liked the movie – but I hear the movie pales in comparison to the book.
Tiny Librarian at Tiny Little Reading Room asked: Did you enjoy Eragon and Eldest enough to be excited about the forthcoming Paolini book, Brisinger?
Eragon and Eldest are the first two books by teenage author Christopher Paolini. They are set in the world of Alagaësia, and follow Eragon’s coming-of-age adventure as he grows from orphaned farm boy into a dragon-riding hero set to save the kingdom from an oppressive dictator. The story is good, the world is well-conceived, and the books each end in such a way that you really want to read the next one. However, you can tell Paolini is a young author by his prose and slight lack of imagination. Sometimes, his writing is a bit choppy, and in many ways this is the same sort of coming-of-age story we’ve read a million times, just set in a slightly different environment (although the world he creates is pretty cool).
I also enjoyed the movie Ergaon. Obviously, the movie has to leave some things out, but I think it does a pretty good job of creating a world and story and will stand up on its own. If you enjoyed the movie, I think you would enjoy the book too.
Yes, I did enjoy both books enough to be excited about the third book in the series, Brisinger, which comes out on September 20, 2008, but not excited enough to go out and buy a hardcover edition on the first evening like I did with a few of the Harry Potter books. Instead, I’ll probably wait and borrow my brother’s copy, find it at a library, or wait until it comes out in paperback.