Murder on the Orient Express Review

Murder on the Orient Express by Agatha Christie was fabulous and fun. I must say it was a quick read but well written and thought out book. I am proud to say that I had a good idea of how the murder happened, but I wish I was more bold in my guessing. As always Christie's characters were full of secrets but were visible to the trained eye.

War of the Worlds Review

War of the Worlds by HG Wells was not as exciting as I had hoped. The whole story was written to show that aliens would die on our planet if not prepared for our bacteria and environment. It irritated me that HG Wells made the aliens so stupid. They only land in one tiny spot in England and are randomly killing humans. I wish that Wells placed the reader in the minds of the aliens so we would know their point of view. The main character was quite boring as well. Granted, I am sure I would end up doing the same things as he did, but it was irksome to follow a useless character. I simply did not enjoy this book at all.

Suggested Reading from Reading Lolita in Tehran

At the end of Reading Lolita in Tehran, there is a list (yea!) of suggested reading. As always, I read the italicized books.

    Baghdad Diaries by Nuha al-Radi
    The Blind Assassin by Margaret Atwood
    Emma, Mansfield Park, and Pride and Prejudice by Jane Austen
    The Dean's December and More Die of Heartbreak by Saul Bellow
    Wuthering Heights by Emily Brontë
    Alice's Adventures in Wonderland by Lewis Carroll
    Under Western Eyes by Joseph Conrad
    Shamela and Tom Jones by Henry Fielding
    The Great Gatsby by F. Scott Fitzgerald
    Madame Bovary by Gustave Flaubert
    The Diary of Anne Frank by Anne Frank
    The Ambassadors, Daisy Miller, and Washington Square by Henry James
    In the Penal Colony and The Trial by Franz Kafka
    The Confidence Man by Herman Melville
    Lolita, Invitation to a Beheading, and Pnin by Vladimir Nabokov
    The Country of the Pointed Firs by Sarah Orne Jewett
    My Uncle Napoleon by Iraj Pezeshkzad
    The Language Police by Diane Ravitch
    The Net of Dreams by Julie Salamon
    Persepolis by Marjane Satrapi
    A Thousand and One Nights by Scheherazade
    The Emigrants by W.G. Sebald
    The Stone Diaries by Carol Shields
    The Engineer of Human Souls by Josef Skvorecky
    Loitering with Intent and The Prime of Miss Jean Brodie by Muriel Spark
    Confessions of Zeno by Italo Svevo
    Address Unknown by Katherine Kressman Taylor
    A Summons to Memphis by Peter Taylor
    The Adventures of Huckleberry Finn by Mark Twain
    Back When We Were Grownups and St. Maybe by Anne Tyler
    Aunt Julia and the Scriptwriter by Mario Vargas Llosa


He is a hero because he refuses to become like all the rest.

Reading Lolita in Tehran: A Memoir in Books by Azar Nafsi


A novel is not an allegory, I said as the period was about to come to an end. It is the sensual experience of another world. If you don't enter the world, hold your breath with the characters and become involved in their destiny, you won't be able to empathize, and empathy is at the heart of the novel. This is how you read a novel: you inhale the experience. So start breathing.

Reading Lolita in Tehran: A Memoir in Books by Azar Nafsi


"Whoever fights monsters," Nietzsche had said, "should see to it that in the process he does not become a monster. And when you look long into an abyss, the abyss also looks into you."

Reading Lolita in Tehran: A Memoir in Books by Azar Nafsi


Upsilamba become part of our increasing repository of coded words and expressions, a repository that grew over time until gradually we had created a secret language of our own. That word became a symbol, a sign of that vague sense of joy, the tingle in the spine Nabokov expected his reader to feel in the art of reading fiction; it was a sensation that separated the good readers, as he called them, from the ordinary ones. It also became the code word that opened the secret cave of remembrance.

Reading Lolita in Tehran: A Memoir in Books by Azar Nafsi


I wrote on the board one of my favorite lines from the German thinker Theodor Adorno: "The highest form of morality is not to feel at home in one's own home." I explained that most great works of the imagination were meant to make you feel like a stranger in your own home. The best fiction always forced us to question what we took for granted. It questioned traditions and expectations when they seemed too immutable.

Reading Lolita in Tehran: A Memoir in Books by Azar Nafsi


A good novel is one that shows the complexity of individuals, and creates enough space for all these characters to have a voice; in this way a novel is called democratic -- not that it advocates democracy but that by nature it is so. Empathy lies at the heart of Gatsby, like so many other great novels -- the biggest sin is to be blind to others' problems and pains. Not seeing them means denying their existence.

Reading Lolita in Tehran: A Memoir in Books by Azar Nafsi


Reality has become so intolerable, she said, so bleak, that all I can paint now are the colors of my dreams.

Reading Lolita in Tehran: A Memoir in Books by Azar Nafisi

Fairy Tale

Every fairytale offers the potential to surpass present limits, so in a sense the fairytale offers you freedoms that reality denies. In all great works of fiction, regardless of the grim reality they present there is an affirmation of the life against the transience of that life, an essential defiance. This affirmation lies in the way the author takes control of reality by retelling it in his own way, thus creating a new world. Every great work of art, I would declare pompously, is a celebration, an act of insubordination against the betrayals, horrors and infidelities of life. The perfection and beauty of form rebels against the ugliness and shabbiness of the subject matter. This is why we love Madame Bovary and cry for Emma, why we greedily read Lolita as our heart breaks for its small, vulgar, poetic and defiant orphaned heroine.

Reading Lolita in Tehran: A Memoir in Books by Azar Nafsi

Reading Lolita in Tehran Review

I loved Reading Lolita in Tehran. It was beautifully written. I could really imagine the characters and land. I loved the way she mixed her history, Tehran's history, and literary analysis together. I felt I learned so much about Tehran and various authors all at the same time.

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