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Old 08-18-2004, 07:34 PM   #31
KarenC
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I didn't respond to the original book club thread but I was interested when I saw you picked Reading Lolita in Tehran. I found it to be a very interesting book and I learned a lot from it. A group of women I work with and I have formed our own book club and this was one of the books we read. We had the same experience that some of you seem to be having--some people just couldn't get into it, others were fascinated, it was kind of a love it or hate it kind of thing.

For me it was a lesson in be careful what you wish for and I think it has tremendous application for some of the issues we're facing in our own country. She had so much hope for the Islamic revolution only to find herself marginalized by the government because she was a woman.

Happy reading everyone!
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Old 08-19-2004, 09:55 AM   #32
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Hi All

I'm around and reading the book, but got a bit behind as I've been working a lot. I'll pop in when i can and try and catch up. I may just comment on what I've read if i see an opening. You may find me around somewhat internittently. I've got quite a few work hours coming up and my sister's wedding over Labor Day weekend.

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Old 08-19-2004, 08:50 PM   #33
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Sorry about book chat!

My internet went kaput again. Thank goodness we are moving and will not have to deal with Charter Communications anymore!

Did anybody go?

How are we feeling about the book? I am doing some catch-up since I got kind of behind with the move.

I will post a whole lot of thoughts in the next couple days, though. Just gotta keep moving and packing and cleaning for now!

Happy reading!
Ashley
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Old 08-20-2004, 05:28 PM   #34
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Ashley -- I checked in on chat a few times, but no one else was there.
I have finally caught up to where I should be. I had a hard time with book III. I liked the very beginning of it, but the middle dragged alot for me. I kept getting the different revolutionary groups mixed up and I really didn't understand what most of them stood for. I kept hoping she'd get back to the book club/class. The background about the war was interesting, especially the information about Iraq. Crazy to think we were once on Saddam's side! By the end of the section, I was back into it though. The whole thing about the Western influence and how many thought that our culture was evil and would eventually die out was very enlightening. It helps explain why some feel the way they do about the US. Although I think most of it is nuts, but at least I understand where their ideas are coming from.
I know we aren't supposed to talk about Part IV yet, but I will say the pace picks back up and I'm liking it much better again!
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Old 08-21-2004, 02:43 AM   #35
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still waiting for the book but I read fast when I do get it
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Old 08-23-2004, 12:04 PM   #36
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Well... Only a few more days for this book...

Is everybody keeping up okay? Let me know. I am behind, but that is because I had to devote a lot of time to moving...

I am working on catching up, though, but let me know if you are struggling!

I'm liking it. I was confused, but I asked some questions and now I'm a bit better.

I'm home now, hopefully the internet is more consistent here.

Let's hope to chat soon!

Ashley
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Old 08-24-2004, 08:02 PM   #37
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I finishd the book yesterday, so I am ready to discuss it anytime!
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Old 08-24-2004, 11:19 PM   #38
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Who all is getting ready for chat and discussion?

You may begin discussing the ENTIRE book on this thread, but when would be a good time for chat? This week? Next week? Let me know... I know we strayed from the schedule perhaps, but flexibility is key sometimes, at least in my life. Let me know if you liked or disliked how we've been operating!

I would like to do better with the next book, and think that life will allow me to do better, also. I picked it (The Jane Austen Book Club) up today, along with some Jane Austen titles since I have never read anything by her (I haven't read hardly ANY classics).

I'm excited to discuss Reading Lolita soon! Now I'm off to bed to go finish it... She has written a very good story, in a very intriguing fashion, I'm glad that it caught my eye along with the eyes of a few of you.

Looking forward to sharing some thoughts!
Ashley
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Old 08-25-2004, 02:28 PM   #39
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I'm ready for chat whenever, just post the time!

Overall, I enjoyed the book. There were parts where it dragged for me, but not enough to make me want to quit reading it. It was interesting to me to learn about what life was like in Iran after the Ayatollah came to power. I'm really interested in history, but don't know much about Middle Eastern history.

I thought the last section was the best when she concentrated on her relationships with the women in her class. One thing that surprised me was how long it took them to decide to move to the States and I did think it was interesting that many of the girls in the class left Iran as well. It didn't seem like most of them would.

One thing that this book did make we want to do was read some more classics. Of the four main authors the sections were named for, I have only read "The Great Gatsby", read it in high school, mostly liked it and I still remembered most of it when she was talking about different scenes in the book, surprisingly! I would really like to read some Austen and Nobokov intrigues me too. James, not so much though for some reason.

I picked up Jane Austen book club last weekend, so I'm ready for that one as well!
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Old 08-25-2004, 02:31 PM   #40
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I'm sorry I started out so gung ho about our book club and have just completely dropped out of sight. The book wasn't for me, but hopefully next time around I can jump back into the mix.
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Old 08-27-2004, 11:44 PM   #41
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Alright, everybody...

I'm having a hard time getting to the computer during the daytime hours, and can't seem to even sit down here until almost midnight anymore!

I will post the questions from the book, and as our discussion we can select a few that we like to focus on. Just answer or consider whichever ones appeal to you. Feel free to take separate tangents, let's just hear what you thought!

Also, make sure that you pick up THE JANE AUSTEN BOOK CLUB. That will be our September read. I will post the schedule before the month begins, but I think we will keep on the every third day plan. I will PM Karen, cheyita, and let her know that she can start considering her three choices for the next book so we can have that decided on within the first week of the next month.

Don't worry to those who didn't care as much for this book. It will happen to all of us somewhere down the line, for sure. Maybe you can post what it was about the book that turned you off or what you liked about it. I like to hear what others say so I have something to go off of when recommending books to others.

So, hopefully we will eventually find our niche in here. It's a little bit of a rusty start, but none of us really knew what to do, right?! We'll figure it out.

ALSO, don't be afraid to post a little bit about yourselves or relate the book back to yourself. I can't wait to learn more about all of you!

Ashley
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Old 08-27-2004, 11:49 PM   #42
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Questions to ponder and respond to...

1. On her first day teaching at the University of Tehran, Azar Nafisi began class with the questions, “What should fiction accomplish? Why should anyone read at all?” What are your own answers? How does fiction force us to question what we often take for granted?

2. Yassi adores playing with words, particularly with Nabokov’s fanciful linguistic creation upsilamba (18). What does the word upsilamba mean to you?

3. In what ways had Ayatollah Khomeini “turned himself into a myth” for the people of Iran (246)? Also, discuss the recurrent theme of complicity in the book: that the Ayatollah, the stern philosopher-king, “did to us what we allowed him to do” (28).

4. Compare attitudes toward the veil held by men, women and the government in the Islamic Republic of Iran. How was Nafisi’s grandmother’s choice to wear the chador marred by the political significance it had gained? (192) Also, describe Mahshid’s conflicted feelings as a Muslim who already observed the veil but who nevertheless objected to its political enforcement.

5. In discussing the frame story of A Thousand and One Nights, Nafisi mentions three types of women who fell victim to the king’s “unreasonable rule” (19). How relevant are the actions and decisions of these fictional women to the lives of the women in Nafisi’s private class?

6. Explain what Nafisi means when she calls herself and her beliefs increasingly “irrelevant” in the Islamic Republic of Iran. Compare her way of dealing with her irrelevance to her magician’s self-imposed exile. What do people who “lose their place in the world” do to survive, both physically and creatively?

7. During the Gatsby trial Zarrin charges Mr. Nyazi with the inability to “distinguish fiction from reality” (128). How does Mr. Nyazi’s conflation of the fictional and the real relate to theme of the blind censor? Describe similar instances within a democracy like the United States when art was censored for its “dangerous” impact upon society.

8. Nafisi writes: “It was not until I had reached home that I realized the true meaning of exile” (145). How do her conceptions of home conflict with those of her husband, Bijan, who is reluctant to leave Tehran? Also, compare Mahshid’s feeling that she “owes” something to Tehran and belongs there to Mitra and Nassrin’s desires for freedom and escape. Discuss how the changing and often discordant influences of memory, family, safety, freedom, opportunity and duty define our sense of home and belonging.

9. Fanatics like Mr. Ghomi, Mr. Nyazi and Mr. Bahri consistently surprised Azar by displaying absolute hatred for Western literature — a reaction she describes as a “venom uncalled for in relation to works of fiction.” (195) What are their motivations? Do you, like Nafisi, think that people like Mr. Ghomi attack because they are afraid of what they don’t understand? Why is ambiguity such a dangerous weapon to them?

10. The confiscation of one’s life by another is the root of Humbert’s sin against Lolita. How did Khomeini become Iran’s solipsizer? Discuss how Sanaz, Nassrin, Azin and the rest of the girls are part of a “generation with no past.” (76)

11. Nafisi teaches that the novel is a sensual experience of another world which appeals to the reader’s capacity for compassion. Do you agree that “empathy is at the heart of the novel”? How has this book affected your understanding of the impact of the novel?

These can all be found in the back of your books, also. Let's here what you think!

Ashley
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