Tuesday, August 17, 2010

Jane Eyre

By: Charlotte Bronte           

I read this right after I finished her sister’s epic tragedy novel, Wuthering Heights, which happens to be one of my all time favorite books. I can not believe I didn’t read this easy going love novel.  I of course loved the story of the sad poor girl that achieves greatness.  Jane Eyre is your likely heroine, is in all purposes the good girl that you cheer for!

Like typical of stories from that time, there is a lot of death and sadness and a series of unlikely events. It would have been a great book to read when I was younger in the tweens! Fantastic!

Wuthering Heights

By: Emily Bronte 5/5

About the 10th time I have read this book and I still like it, even though it has changed for me. I still love Heathcliff and his crazy self, loving Catherine. I love that this book still astounds me, of course when I was younger I was so taken by the love that Heathcliff had that I was willing to forgive his meanness, now I feel more guilty for liking him as a character and feeling his pains.

It was great to read the book with people and learn about the background of the Bronte sisters and their horribly tragic lives. No wonder their books were tragic. I also think the society then saw such tragedy as part of their lives and willing to live with those kinds of issues.

I still recommend this book as it inspires great discussions.

Wednesday, August 4, 2010

Reading Lolita in Tehran

By Azar Nafisi 

Wow what a terrific book! I don’t even know where to begin on the many facets that this book has .

First, as the book takes you through the four sections of Nabokov, Fitzgerald, James and of course Jane Austen… you can not take your own trip back to the memories you had when reading each of those books that Nafisi discusses. It brings you back to the emotions and the feelings you had while reading those books. If you hadn’t studied these books, it also takes you back to rethink those books and see if you can see them in a different light. This also makes me think that maybe I should re-read Lolita, or The Great Gatsby or even some Henry James books that I have never opened.

The books also takes you into the memories of a group of women between the 1970s and today. Unlike, my nice memories of sitting in bed, or hiding in the closet at night to read for fear of staying up to late, these women dealt with the fear of death resulting from the BANNED books they were reading.  After the 1970s, Iran went through much political turmoil with changing from the “un Islamic” shah to the very religious Ayatollahs that changed Iran to the “Republic of Islam”. This book is a biography with many other biographies laced with a population of people that have been beaten and defeated not only physically but mentally and emotionally as well.  During this new regime, women were made to wear the chador and the veil, to show their innocence, to make men not want them, and not be held responsible for their rapes. People were not allowed to drink, listen to music, smile, watch movies, or in any way have a human life. Much of this “de westernization” had to do with readings and books. Most books were either banned and or re-written to fit the Islamic standard.

In a private class, Nafisi takes her life in her hands and decides that her love of books needs continue and be shared.  At any moment her house can be searched, without a warrant, and these women be sent to jail for reading banned book, where their bodies will never be recovered.

This book is lesson in Iran history, in women’s view of the world from the religious and the liberal side, it is an emotional roller coaster as you suffer through their emotional pains and embarrassments they are made to deal with daily.

I highly recommend this read to all that live in today’s world, as better understanding of a population of people in the middle east.  I salute those women who stood up, to show their daughters that someone has to stand up. I bow to Nafisi for her courageous words and tears she must have shed while writing such a personal history of her life and the country she loved!