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Old 08-06-2004, 06:29 PM   #1
LittleMissMickey
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Smile DIS BOOK CLUB: Book One - Reading Lolita in Tehran DISCUSSION THREAD

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Old 08-06-2004, 06:30 PM   #2
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Unlocking Chapters 1-15 for Discussion

Let's get the discussion rolling!
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Old 08-06-2004, 08:49 PM   #3
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Bumping.

I know people are reading the book. I saw it on the other thread!!!
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Old 08-06-2004, 08:55 PM   #4
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I ordered the book and am still waiting for it. Don't worry I will catch up!
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Old 08-06-2004, 08:58 PM   #5
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O.K. thanks Ashley. I'm too busy tonight to go into depth with any discussion, but will be back sometime this weekend.
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Old 08-07-2004, 05:37 PM   #6
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Old 08-07-2004, 09:28 PM   #7
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I'm all done with the reading so far, and I have made some notes...

Will post some of my thoughts this evening after I go pack a little bit (I am moving home in two weeks).

PLEASE share thoughts of your own and any questions you have! I look forward to sharing with you!

Ashley
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Old 08-08-2004, 09:48 PM   #8
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What happened to the book chat?

I went to chat but I didn't see anyone. Did we cancel the book chat? Any info would be greatly appreciated.

Thanks,
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Old 08-08-2004, 10:54 PM   #9
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Sorry about book chat this evening, I posted on the other thread that my internet has not been working for some reason... I was on the phone with the cable company and just FED UP!

Anyway, I'm up for rescheduling book chat, sorry to those who waited. Otherwise, we can chat about both books Friday with whoever is available.

Now, onto some comments on pages 1-55...

I really like the author's style of writing. She makes me feel like I'm right there, and even though I have never read Lolita or any of Nabokov's books, I understand what she is saying but am not bored by too much detail.

I wrote down some quotes that really interested me and made me want to keep reading...

p.3 - "...What we search for in fiction is not so much reality, but the epiphany of truth."

p.5 - "This is Tehran for me: its absences more real than its presences."

p.6 - "imagine" (longer quote)

p.8 - "We were, to borrow from Nabokov, to experience how the ordinary pebble of ordinary life could be tranfsormed into a jewel through the magic eye of fiction."

p.11 - "...when they decided not to teach Bronte bcause she appeared to condone adultery?" This reminds me of how people are pushing for more censorship and banned books in America. I don't mind certain levels of censorship, like keeping sex and swear words off of the radio and television, but I do not agree with banned books, which is a subject of debate now in the U.S., and it scares me to look at other countries that have already institued such high levels of censorship.

p. 23 - "poshlust." very relevant. Depicts today's society rather well.

p. 24 - I like how she keeps bringing the two pictures back to us. It reminds us of the duality of their lives and the risks women took to be themselves, but also how uncomfortable it was either way.

p. 31-32 - The contradiction Yassi faces with the veil: she hates it, and yet she is afraid to take it off or leave it. To me this seems like an abusive relationship, where women become addicted almost to the emotions.

p. 38 - I think her notes and quotes of teh different girls could pose some interesting questions. It is interesting to consider that the girls can only see themseves through the eyes of the people they despise.

p. 41 - the difference between life and life story.

p. 45 - "Curiosity is insubordination in its purest form." I LOVE THIS!

p. 47 - fairy tales

p. 51 - The difference between what is right and what we want to do or what feels good. This seems to be a trap that many people are caught in in this day in age.

These are all things that caught my interest for one reason or another. Did they pop out at you, too? What else did? Why? I gave reasons for some of mine, but kept the reasons out of some, also because I would like to hear your thoughts and responses if you have any.

Some other questions I pondered...

How does Lolita relate to Nafisi's class? (she reminds us that we need to keep them separate, but why owuld she choose to share this particular discussion with us?)

What is the victim - jailer relationship described on pages 36-37?

Why does fiction, even when we read the brutal stories, make us happy?

Can't wait to hear your thoughts!
Ashley
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Old 08-09-2004, 08:52 PM   #10
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OK - I'm just a touch behind the first deadline - on chapter 15.

I'm interested in the story, but I wish she did a little more character development about these women, and a little less reiterating, "Can you imagine us in this room?"

I am finding myself fascinated with Lolita - almost wishing I'm reading that! I've heard so many references to the story over the years, and never read it. I assumed it was a young girl who seduces an older man. I now see the truth of the story, and I find the differing opinions on that storyline fascinating!

I found poshlust - made me think of the political conventions since that is a current event that fits perfectly - making a huge deal out of something that really is meaningless.

The issue of reading about depressing and brutal stories bringing us happiness and joy - that's something I've thought about myself. Why do I feel like a story needs to make me cry in order to be excellent? Not always, I suppose, but often? I think seeing how deep some other people's pain is causes me to take myself out of the shell of a life I live in. Reading an emotional book or watching a great drama (movie) gives me the opportunity to experience a depth of emotion I rarely experience in real life, but in a safe way.

Like I said, I'm finding it interesting, but not gripping...yet. Hopefully that will come. My main driving force is finding out what happens with Nassrin. We know she "doesn't make it to the end." I'm anxious to find out why.
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Old 08-09-2004, 09:17 PM   #11
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Honestly, I'm having a hard time getting into this one. But I shall plug away and hopefully be able to discuss soon.

Is anyone else getting confused by their names? I can't seem to keep the characters straight. I think I may start taking notes.
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Old 08-09-2004, 10:17 PM   #12
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Been working quite a bit recently, but i have read the fiorst section. I'll be back tomorrow to post some thoughts and/or questions.

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Old 08-10-2004, 04:53 AM   #13
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Quote:
Originally posted by kasar
Honestly, I'm having a hard time getting into this one. But I shall plug away and hopefully be able to discuss soon.

Is anyone else getting confused by their names? I can't seem to keep the characters straight. I think I may start taking notes.
I agree with all of this. This book started out promising, but I have a hard time continuing beyond the first section. I am confusd by their names and have to keep referencing the beginning, and I also wish she spent more time on chracter development and less time on discussing the classics that are referenced in each chapter,none of which I have read. Perhaps if I had read them it would be easier reading.

I had a very busy weekend and a busy week ahead and wasn't able to devote time to this discussion or taking notes, but I will this weekend for sure. I want to get through this book and like it -- or at least get through it..... so I will be back for more discussion.
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Old 08-10-2004, 09:44 AM   #14
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Okay, time for some thoughts from me this morning. I haven't taken any notes on the book, just prefering to read it and see how i do that way. I'm not sure that I'd know where to start taking notes anyhow.

On reading the book: I can honestly say that i like the book, yet i can put it down for a day or 2 and not miss it much. I could read it straight through i think, but i don't want to get too far ahead of the discussion and unlocked sections.

On the characters: At first it was hard for me too. But I kept thinking of the first question she asked the girls "How do you see yourself?"(or think of yourself). And they couldn't answer. They only saw themselves as the Revolution allowed them to be seen. Differences were not allowed, no makeup, no emotions, no thinking.

cheyita: You're wishing for more character development, and I think if you can shut off that thought you might like the book better. If we stop thinking of them as characters and start thinking of them as ppl or just girls we all might like the book better.

Important points worth remembering:

* This is NOT a work of fiction. The book merely discusses OTHER works of fiction and discussions based on those works.

* The class of girls are REAL. The names have been changed to protect identities, but the actions, thoughts and words were actually said.

*The book is more or less a collection of the author's memories of these girls. Character development is hard when you write about real ppl. A good author doesn't turn a real person into something they're not. And you can only develop a real person as much as that person has developed themselves.

It actually took me a little while after starting to read to remeber what i just wrote above. And when i find things i don't understand or find hard to grasp involving someone in the book, then i make remind myself how real it all was at the time. It doesn't make the events easier to understand, since I haven't experienced anything close to them, but it does make continuing a bit easier.

Anyhow, I have a proposal for this discussion. I know its not easy to separate the girls yet. I stopped doing that and am trying to focus on events for right now instead. But in order to remember that the girls are real I propose that we stop calling them characters, and identify them by their names if we know them, or just as "the girls" if we don't.

That's all for now. Be back tomorrow when i finally have a day off work.

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Old 08-10-2004, 06:51 PM   #15
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Unlocking Chapters 16-8 (in book II) for Discussion

Alright, new chapters are unlocked... Sorry it's a day late. Nobody asked, so I am assuming it's okay?

I really agree with Maureen on this one...

Thanks for pointing out that these are people, not characters, and we must treat them as people. I have a notebook for our club readings and meetings in which I keep a character list to help me remember. I also write down quotes that I liked or things that made me think. It just helps me to do it that way, especially for non-fiction pieces such as this one.

I do wonder if it would be different had we started with a piece of engaging fiction, but I really enjoy reading these books also that make me think about people. Discussing them helps me understand things that I may not have before and see different viewpoints. All in all, I like the selection, but do not miss it if I set it down. While I am reading it, though, I get really into it and am quite interested in what happens to the group.

For those who do not want to keep referencing the start of the book, here is what my character list from the first few chapters says:

Azar "Azi" Nafisi - Married to Bijan, teacher, won't crack or break down.

Nima - male student, Manna's husband, essayist (although incomplete)

Nassrin - didn't make it to the end, cannot be defined simply

Manna - withdrawn, private, poet

Mahshid - "lady," sensitive, easy to crack-like porcelein (sp?)

Yassi - youngest, comedian, shy, mocking, and questioning

Azin - clashed with Mahshid and Manna, always "beaming," outrageous, outspoken, and wild

Mitra - calm, painter, dimples

Sanaz - always seeking both independence and approval

I hope that helps! The Magician sometimes confuses me, but I believe it is just a friend of Azi's? Please correct me if I am wrong, I think I read that part in the beginning too quickly. Sometimes while I am babysitting I miss entire sections because I am worried about whether I can trust the kids doing whatever they are doing... Sometimes I wish they were still in diapers and not ten and twelve years old! Oh well...

So, what are your thoughts?

Also, what are your thoughts on chat? Should we have one on Friday? What time? Anything works for me as far as I know!

Ashley
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