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Reading Lolita in Tehran: A Memoir in Books

3.59  ·  Rating details ·  106,621 ratings  ·  7,123 reviews

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 stifled artistic expression, the

Paperback, 356 pages
Published December 30th 2003 by Random House Trade Paperbacks (first published March 25th 2003)
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Leah I didn't know much of anything and still understood it quite well. If anything, it will inspire you to learn more
Hannah Breckenridge I think it might be a good book to incorporate into a class which studies works that Nafisi addresses- but I do not necessarily buy that you need to…moreI think it might be a good book to incorporate into a class which studies works that Nafisi addresses- but I do not necessarily buy that you need to have read the books in order to enjoy the book. A lot of young students throughout jr and sr high today have a lot of difficulty connecting to classic works but really want to- so seeing Nafisi relate works like Lolita to real life circumstance in my eyes could heavily ignite a passion for literary analysis. That said, I was given the memoir for my 18th birthday and deeply enjoyed it- I think it would be appropriate for anyone 14+ and a few years older could probably glean more from it! :-)(less)

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3.59  · 
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 ·  106,621 ratings  ·  7,123 reviews

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This book failed for me on a number of levels. The premise of it sounded interesting to me--a glimpse at the lives of women and academics under the totalitarian regime in Iran, arranged around a series of bookclub meetings and analyses of various famous books. But for such a promising concept, and for a book which deals with so many serious and complex topics, it's facile and cliched. Almost alarmingly so, in fact.

The tone was the biggest failing for me. It's smug and self-important. For me, it
Aug 01, 2007 added it
Recommends it for: Sheep
I'm not sure I can finish this book. It's just so boring and self-important. And poorly written. My eyes keep crossing. It makes me angry because I think this COULD really be a good book. It has a good premise, a lot of potential, and it's about a topic I'm actually very interested in and would like to know more about. But instead it's dry as hell and doesn't follow any cohesive pattern--it just feels like a lot of random moments in the life of Azar Nafisi strung together by some run-of-the-mill ...more
Feb 12, 2008 rated it liked it
I feel like I showed up for class without reading the required assignment. This book should come with a prerequisite reading list: Lolita, Invitation to a Beheading, The Great Gatsby, Daisy Miller, and Pride and Prejudice or at least a warning for spoilers: (view spoiler). If I would have known Nafisi was going to delve into these literary pieces like she would one of ...more
بثينة العيسى
ثمة أمر غير مفهوم في منع هذه الرواية، ولكنني أعتقد بأن مزاج الرقيب غير منطقي مجملاً، وقد اعتدنا تلون الموقف الرسمي من الثقافة وممارسة مزيد من المنع والإقصاء لاسترضاء ورشوة ومغازلة أطراف أصولية. الحمد لله على نعمة الانترنت، وقد قرأت الكتاب بضمير مرتاح جدا، ومتأكدة بأن آذر نفيسي لن تمانع.

ما أريد قوله هو أن هذا كتاب عظيم، إنه كتاب عن الأدب وقابليته لإيواء الإنسان وتحصين إنسانيته المسحوقة تحت وطأة الحذاء الثقيل للديموقراطيات الدينية المزعومة، والتي نعرف كلنا بأنها مجرد ديكتاتوريات بمكياج مبتذل.

Ahmad Sharabiani
Reading Lolita in Tehran: A Memoir in Books, Azar Nafisi
تاریخ نخستین خوانش: روز سی و یکم ماه می سال 2005 میلادی
عنوان: لولیتا خوانی در تهران؛ در 347 ص، به زبان: انگلیسی؛ لندن، فورث استیت، 1383، شابک: 0007178484؛
کتاب لولیتاخوانی در تهران، چهار بخش است: نخست: لولیتا (پرسوناژ رمان لولیتا اثر ولادیمیر نابوکوف)؛ دوم: گتسبی (پرسوناژ رمان گتسبی بزرگ اثر اسکات فیتزجرالد)؛ سوم: جیمز (هنری جیمز، نویسنده مشهور آمریکایی)؛ چهارم: آستن (جین آستن، نویسنده مشهور انگلیسی).؛
موضوع اصلی کتاب شرح و توصیف خاطرات خانم
Mar 18, 2007 rated it it was amazing
Shelves: phenomenal, read-2007
In case you don't know about this book yet (though, honestly, how could you not know about this book yet?), it is an absolutely amazing memoir by an Iranian woman who was a professor of English & Persian literature at the University of Tehran before, during, and after the revolution and war with Iraq. Once wearing the veil became mandatory and she refused to wear one, she was forced to quit teaching, and one way she came up with to fill her time was to gather several of her most dedicated st ...more
أن تقرأ لوليتا في طهران
تخيل أيها القارئ ( عبارة ستصطدم بها كثيرا في هذا الكتاب تأتيك كصفعة أحيانا خصوصا حين تكون معارضا للنفيسي) تخيل أنك تجلس على مكتبك و أمامك كتب أدبية منتقاة بعناية فائقة و كتاب واحد سياسي يتحدث عن الثورة الاسلامية الايرانية و شذرات من أوراق حياة أستاذة جامعية ..تخيل نفسك تقرأ من هذا و ذاك مستمتعا بهذا و رافضا ذاك..فتتداخل الأفكار في عقلك ووجدانك مسببة فوضى و صداع و أحيانا صراعات قد تنتهي بقرارات قد ترضيك و قد لا ترضيك ..تخيل اذن لو جمعت كل تلك الفوضى أمامك في كتاب واحد هو أن
Nov 05, 2018 is currently reading it  ·  review of another edition
“What we search for in fiction is not so much reality but the epiphany of truth.”

This book isn’t a fast read. I’ve started reading this memoir 24 October, and I only finished part 1 so far -77 pages of 347- and that already took me a while! Maybe I’m in a reading slump, but I doubt that, because I’m eager enough to read. Some other reviewers complained that the book is tedious, disjointed and all over the place, and that the author’s tone is smug and self-important. Except from the fact that whe
فهد الفهد
أن تقرأ لوليتا في طهران

مرة أخرى، نحن في طهران، ولكننا لا نتتبع في هذه المرة قصة حب خفية، ولا تتقحم سردنا مشاهد مستعادة من (ألف ليلة وليلة)، بل نحن مع دكتورة متخصصة في الأدب الإنجليزي وطالباتها، اللواتي قررن إنشاء ما يشبه نادي كتاب، يؤين إليه في كل خميس، هناك حيث يمكن للنقاش أن يمتد بحرية، بعدما تقلصت مساحة الحرية في إيران الثورة الإسلامية.

عنوان الكتاب مغري جداً، وخاصة للقارئ الغربي، فلوليتا – رواية نابوكوف الشهيرة – رمز غربي لجرأة الأفكار، وقدرتها على مصادمة القارئ، فأن تقرأ هذه الرواية الإشكا
Mar 07, 2018 rated it it was amazing
The title itself is a rather catchy one, however, I must add that it is an important book. There are so many aspects of this memoir that I value a lot.

For me it is less about totalitarian Regimes and Iran, it is more about courage and integrity in times of crisis particularly when one is not allowed to do something as harmless as reading, and therefore one stands up against the bullies. When I read this book, I l felt like I were in a literature class with Ms. Nafisi her students. Reading forbid
Mar 19, 2017 rated it really liked it

هیچ انقلابی را نمی شود عظیم تلقی کرد مگر آن که زنان یک کشور و نحوه ی زندگیشان را دگرگون کند - گاندی

اگر این جمله گاندی رو معیار قرار بدیم، انقلاب ما بدون شک بویی از عظمت نبرده. لغو قوانین حمایت از خانواده، پایین آوردن سن ازدواج دختران، حجاب اجباری، مجاز نمودن چند همسری، پدیده ازدواج موقت و ... همه و همه زن ایرانی رو در حد یک کالا پایین آورد. کالایی که بزرگترین هدفش ارضای نیاز های جنس مخالف شده. و به اصطلاح این جهاد اکبرش هست.و اگر فکر می کنید مشکلات و گرفتاری های زنان ایرانی که در کتاب خانوم نفیس

Apr 23, 2008 rated it liked it
I am a lover of books. I am a lover of history. I am a lover of cultures. Consequently, I expected to love this book. Sadly, I found my dissappointment growing with each page I turned. The premise of the novel was certainly interesting- exploring times, the way that they were viewed, the oppression of women, religious fanaticism and political regimes that adopted Sharia, family, and the overall way that a country grew dissillusioned with iteself through novels was certainly an interesting one. Y ...more
إبراهيم   عادل
حسنًا إذًا .. انتهيت منه .. اخيرًا
تتزاحم الأفكار في رأسي فعلاً لكتابة "تقرير" عن هذا الكتاب غير العادي .. بالتأكيد:
ماذا أرادت منه المؤلفة؟!
ما الرسائل التي تبثها من خلاله بشكل ضمني أو واضح؟!
لمن توجه هذه الرسائل تحديدًا؟!
كيف يستفيد قارئ هذا الكتاب الاستفادة القصوى منه، إن كان ثمة استفادة قصوى؟!!
طالت مدة مكوث هذا الكتاب بين يديَّ لأسباب متباينة، بل وقاطعته بغيره، وتركته ثم عدت إليه، فما كان كل ذلك؟!
تضع آذار النفيسي في الجزء الرابع من الكتاب وفي بداية الفصل الثالث منه يدها على أكبر مشكلات الكت
Oct 14, 2007 rated it it was ok
This was a tough read. I suppose I would have appreciated it more if I had read all the books that were referenced in this one. And if I studied literature, studied the meaning of every scene, every characterization, every image from the books, I might have appreciated it.

Unfortunately this was much too deep and a serious study of literature. I enjoyed her accounts of life in Tehran and the characters in her book. I enjoyed her personal accounts and her life stories. Unfortunately true life was
I read this book while I was down with the flu, which added a dimention to my reading as I was isolated in my room for a couple of days. I read some of the reviews for this book on Good Reads and I must say my experience of this book is quite different from what some other people have reported. Azar's opening two chapters were enough to suck me into her world and engross me. Her reading of Lolita was wonderful and I like the way she able to bring her reading of this book, her reflections on Humb ...more
Lorenzo Berardi
Jul 12, 2007 rated it really liked it
I hadn't read Nabokov's Lolita when I started this one.
What aroused my curiosity here was not the artfully chosen title of the novel, but its setting: the Islamic Republic of Iran, formerly known as Persia.

Truth be told, Iran has always interested me a lot, indeed.
Amir, my best friend during secondary school, had Iranian roots and he was (and still is) one of the most clever persons I know. I used to say that when Amir and I were 12 year old, we talked about topics I haven't found anyone to s
Mohamed Al
May 17, 2014 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
المستحيلات أربع لا ثلاث: الغول والعنقاء والخل الوفي .. وأن تقرأ لوليتا في طهران.

ففي إيران ما بعد الثورة أصبح كل شيء ممنوعًا ومصادرًا وغير مسموحٍ بتداوله فضلاً عن قراءته.

فرقيب السلطة هو وحده من يقرر ما على الشعب أن يقرأه أو لا يقرأه، وهو الوحيد المخوّل بتحديد الخيارات المتاحة أمام القراء (وهي خيارات تتراوح في طبيعتها بين السيء إلى الأكثر سوءًا).

أما القارئ/المواطن العادي فلا يمكنه أن يناقش الرقيب، أو يعترض عليه، أو حتى من باب أضعف الإيمان أن يبدي رأيه في الموضوع. وإلا كان مصيره الدخول في حربٍ خاسر
Oct 09, 2013 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: owned-books
While I was reading this book, I was taken back in my mind to my college days. I enjoyed the philosophy behind the books these women studied and was unmistakably reminded of why I have always loved reading so much. I have not read all of the books discussed in the story, but many of them are on my to-read list, and now I am even more eager to read them.
To read a book about women who read Lolita in Tehran is to open the window to a world of dismay, in which even an act so pure and simple as enjoying fiction is considered treason, punishable by the wrongly proclaimed authorities in your life. I am constantly on the lookout for books which challenge my view of the world, or who have the power to paint a picture of another way of life, that I have been fortunate enough to never experience. "Reading Lolita in Tehran" is one of those books.

By no mea
Oct 16, 2017 rated it it was amazing
More than a combination of literary criticism and memoirs of living through the totalitarian ruthlessness of Islamist-ruled Iran, this book essentially examines how the author and a group of friends took refuge in literature from the totalitarian nightmare.
And at the same time using that literature to make sense of life under Islamo-Nazi repression.
The women in the group are able to make analogies of the works of Vladimir Nabokov, Jane Austen, Henry James and F Scott Fitzgerald with the society
Ivana Books Are Magic
Dec 09, 2018 rated it it was amazing
I'm utterly and absolutely in love with this book. It is a contemporary masterpiece, the kind that deserves to be called a classic upon publication. Reading Lolita in Tehran is such a rare mix of extraordinary philosophical writing, academic literature essays, national history and personal memoir, that it deserves to be called 'one of a kind'. Truth be told, I can think of a similar novel by one Croatian professor of literature (you wouldn't have heard of him), who has been just as successful in ...more
Feb 01, 2014 rated it liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: poetry, iran
I wrote this review before I read Jasmine and Stars. I was too generous to Nafisi.

This book is very personal and my enjoyment of it is very much rooted in my experience of living with Iranian people in the UK and fascination with the country's history and culture. When I first read the book about ten years ago, I was astonished to read about how the 1979 revolution, which is seen by most Westerners as the triumph of Muslim extremists and had been described to me as the British/American led repla
I didn't enjoy this as much as I hoped I would.
The writing is very impersonal and detached for a memoir. The dispassionate monotone delivery of the narration made this more abundant. I was actually quite bored for the majority of this audio book, which is 18.5 hours long.
There was a large portion where dissections of the books they read at the gatherings were delivered in the book like a university lecture. This made me a little upset since some of the books she delves into detail about I have
K.D. Absolutely
Jul 05, 2009 rated it really liked it
This book is a must read for all those who love modern classic literature and who are interested on what happened in Iran during the reign of Ayatollah Khomeini and the Iran-Iraq war in the early 80s. I was in college that time and I have been hearing and reading bits of news about that war. This book completed that story particularly its impact on the ordinary people particularly on its main characters.

Azar Nafisi, a lady author, effectively related her favorite modern fiction works (Lolita of
An outstanding account by a literature professor of keeping the life of imagination alive through shared experience of fiction during the repressive decades of fundamentalist Muslim rule in Iran. The rise of Khomeini after the downfall of the corrupt regime of the Shah in the late 70's ushered in a cultural revolution that purged the universities of anyone who seemed to support decadent Western values and made the wearing of the veil (or chador) mandatory for women in public settings. Nafisi sur ...more
Feb 26, 2012 rated it it was ok

Apart from the simplicity of the narrative, (self-centered narrator preaches empathy and a nuanced understanding of humanity via fiction while exulting herself over her nasty, brainwashed students who's arguments she takes great pride in trampling over and and telling us about later), the book is just...bad. The attempted literary connections are so, so forced, and it's definitely more frothy memoir than anything else. The sort of book where the author starts every other sentence with
La bellezza e l'inferno

[commento a fine lettura]

Se Azar Nafisi, nel 1997, non avesse lasciato definitivamente l'Iran alla volte degli Stati Uniti, probabilmente avremmo sentito parlare anche di lei da Roberto Saviano in quella bellissima puntata speciale di Che Tempo fa andata in onda a novembre; ed è per questo che gli rubo il titolo di un suo libro per quello del mio commento, perché la sua denuncia merita comunque di iscriverla in quella categoria di autori nonostante, e fortunatamente, non a
ريم الصالح
كم أشعرُ بالامتلاء في هذهِ اللحظات، والخفة كذلك..!
هذا الكتابُ توحدَ بي بشدة..
توحد بي عميقاً..
أخذتُ أعيشهُ كما لو أنني إحدى طالباتُ آذر قرب نافذة الغيوم على طاولة الطعام والقهوة التركية المجيدة.!
كيف يمكن لكتابٍ أن يؤلمكَ إلى هذا الحد، ثم يربت على جرحكَ الصغير.!
أن يقسو عليك حتى تستشيظ غضباً، ثم يخلق لكَ أكثر اللحظات حميميةً وتخيلاً.!!

آذر نفيسي،
لقد باتت هذه المرأة أماً روحيةً لا تنفك تهمسُ لي (ألا تخافي).!
تأخذكَ إلى أروقة جامعة طهران (والتي اطلعت عليها حقيقةً عبر برنامج ال قوقل ايرث)، والجماعات ا
Oct 28, 2007 rated it really liked it
Shelves: memoir
In the shadows of all the bluster coming out of Iran these days, I try to remember those stories I've heard about Iranians who do not share the religious fervor of their political leaders and long for a more open society than the one that they currently have. Azar Nafisi's memoir about her life as a literature professor in Tehran the years following the revolution gave me a moving and painful glimpse into the lives of those who chafe under a kind of repression that I can only imagine.

Nafisi was
Mar 29, 2012 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: بحبهم
سألت إحدى قارئات تلك السيرة لم اعطيتيه نجمة واحدة قالت بسبب الملل

لم أجد مللاً قط فيه بل روح نقية تسري داخل الكتاب
و وصف مستفيض أحبه بلغة جميلة

في وصف جلسات البنات و حكاياهن عن الروايات
و في نقد آذر لبعض الروايات كلوليتا و دعوة لقطع العنق لنابوكوف و غاتشبي العظيم لفيتزجيرالد و ديزي ميللر و ميدان واشنطن لهنري جيمس و روايات اوستن

لم تقتصر السيرة على الأدب فقط بل على الحياة في ايران
استطاعت آذر أن تمزج بين الأدب و الجمهورية الاسلامية

قلقت بعض الشئ من آذر كونها متحررة كثيرًا
و أنها من الممكن أن تكون
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Azar Nafisi, Ph.D. (Persian: آذر نفیسی) (born December 1955) is an Iranian professor and writer who currently resides in the United States.

Nafisi's bestselling book Reading Lolita in Tehran: A Memoir in Books has gained a great deal of public attention and been translated into 32 languages.

“You get a strange feeling when you're about to leave a place, I told him, like you'll not only miss the people you love but you'll miss the person you are now at this time and this place, because you'll never be this way ever again.” 997 likes
“Do not, under any circumstances, belittle a work of fiction by trying to turn it into a carbon copy of real life; what we search for in fiction is not so much reality but the epiphany of truth.” 253 likes
More quotes…