Friday, January 15, 2010

Reading Lolita in Tehran

Title: Reading Lolita in Tehran
Author: Azar Nafisi
Pages: 347
Genre: Memoir
Rating: 2.5/5

From the Back Cover:
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 girls in Azar Nafisi's living room risked removing their veils and immersed themselves in the worlds of Jane Austen, F. Scott Fitzgerald, Henry James, and Vladimir Nabokov. In this extraordinary memoir, their stories become intertwined with the ones they are reading."

While I did not HATE this book, I found myself struggling to immerse myself into it. It did not flow easily for me. The first section talks about the secret meetings in the authors home, but then not again until the very end. The middle seemed to be a whole different story all together and I found myself forgetting the characters by the final section.

That being said, I found the words very informative, and really got to capture the novels discussed in a new way that I have never thought of before. I have never read anything by Henry James or Vladimir Nabokov, but maybe someday. Lolita sounds very intriguing to me. I also learned a lot about the Islamic Republic that I never knew before. (I understand that what is in the novel is the perception of the author and nothing else.)

I am glad that I read this novel because of the things I learned and the thoughts and feelings it inspired in me. Maybe I should rethink the rating to a little higher, but as of right now, I still feel glad to be done reading it. I don't like feeling like that at the end of a book.... Maybe that is just me.

Wednesday, January 13, 2010

The Book Thief

Title: The Book Thief
Author: Markus Zusak
Pages: 550
Genre: Historical Fiction
Rating: 5/5

****Some facts about The Book Thief****
Historical Fiction
-Death as a Narrator
-Set in Nazi Germany during the 1930's-1940's
-Liesel Meminger steals her first novel at the Graveside of her brother

The Book Thief is a novel that will stay with you for a while. Once you are done reading, you will find yourself thinking about the words for a while. The story is a great one, and is a little different that most I have read. Yes, it is told by Death, and Deaths perception of war, but it also follows the life of a girl. No, she is not Jewish, she is German. You become more aware of how children lived during the Nazi regime, and the things they liked, disliked, the struggles, and the way of life for them during that time.

The story also focuses on the power of words. How they can affect each individual, and ultimately how they can influence a nation.

The book is beautifully written, with ease, and intrigue. You find yourself indulged in a rich story, and definitely love the characters involved. I finished the book with a lot to think about, and I know this story will stick with me for some time.

After some soul searching, I found my purpose...

I have been on some sort of hiatus. Not sure where all my motivation went, but I am glad I have found it again. I believe that I became a little overwhelmed with some reading challenges, and found myself reading some things that I just had no interest in.

I find that for myself, to keep me motivated, I need to be reading what piques my interest, and what fits my fancy. I learned that I am not a huge fan on memoirs, while I find them to be very informative, it feels like I am reading text books. I will try to minimize the number of them that I read. I am not a HUGE fan of *gasp* classics. While I find the stories good for the most part, I struggle with the language. Tess of the D'Urbervilles to name one. It takes me a long time to read, and I like to be able to sail through a book. It feels like I take more away from the novel if I don't have to read and re-read.

What I really love to read is Fiction. I love a good, rich, story. Historical Fiction I would say is my favorite. I love to read about WWII. If there are any of you that have some great ideas for me to read, please share!!