Tag: Jane Austin

Reading Lolita in Tehran by Azar Nafisi

Posted February 10, 2013 by Michael @ Knowledge Lost in Non-Fiction / 0 Comments

Reading Lolita in Tehran by Azar NafisiTitle: Reading Lolita in Tehran (Goodreads)
Author: Azar Nafisi
Published: Hodder, 2003
Pages: 347
Genres: Non-Fiction
My Copy: Library Book

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Reading Lolita in Tehran is a memoir of books read by Literature professor Azar Nafisi’s literature class during the revolution (1978-1981) up until her departure in 1997. Divided into four sections “Lolita”, “Gatsby”, “James”, and “Austen”, this memoir explores the lives of the students in a private literature class and the books that brought them all together. This is an inspired blend of memoir and literary criticism, and a moving look at the power of art and its ability to change and improve people’s lives.

I really enjoyed this book; the blend of literary criticism and memoir was really what hooked me. I especially loved the first part that focused on Lolita and the themes of oppression, authority figures trying to assert their dominance through events and a runaway convict. It was just an interesting insight from these Iranian students. It really made me want to read Lolita again and try to see what more I can get out of the book; luckily for me I might get that chance soon with the Literary Exploration book club.

I didn’t feel as strong of a connection with the other parts of this book, but I think I was just blown away by the insights into Lolita that the others didn’t have the same impact. The Great Gatsby looked at dreams and adultery all from the Iranian prospective. While Gatsby is about the American dream it was interesting to see it from a totalitarian mindset. James looks at some works of Henry James during the time of the Iran-Iraq war and the government who wants to control the liberal-minded. Lastly Austin looks at Jane Austin novels as well as the idea of abusive husbands, blindness and empathy.

This book comes together really well; you get to know these Iranian students and as well as explore some interesting ideas about the books from a perspective completely different to your own. While I would have preferred more literary criticism, I really got a lot of joy from reading this. There is a strong feminist theme throughout this book (since most of the students were women) that I suspect was the main draw card for many of the female readers of this book, and rightly so, this was an interesting look at these women. But for me, it was all about the books

Soulless by Gail Carriger

Posted November 22, 2012 by Michael @ Knowledge Lost in Romance, Science Fiction / 0 Comments

Soulless by Gail CarrigerTitle: Soulless (Goodreads)
Author: Gail Carriger
Series: Parasol Protectorate #1
Published: Orbit, 2009
Pages: 365
Genres: Romance, Science Fiction
My Copy: Personal Copy

Buy: AmazonBook Depository (or visit your local Indie bookstore)

Alexia Tarabotti may only be a spinster with no soul but when a she is so rudely attacked by a pack of vampires she discovers just how useful being soulless is. With the ability to negate supernatural powers, she is asked by Lord Maccon, who has been sent by Queen Victoria to investigate what is actually happening with London’s high society. Soulless is a book on social etiquette with a mixture of steampunk, werewolves, vampires, and tea-drinking.

Admittedly, this is not something I would normally read but the mixture of steampunk and Victorian high society did seem to appeal to me. However I was reluctant to try something that sounded very much like paranormal romance. Being a literary explorer, sometimes you just have to suck it up and read something way out of your comfort zone. I know I haven’t read many chick lit/romance novels so I thought maybe it was time to give Soulless ago.

One thing I did enjoy about this book was the Victorian elements; Gail Carriger is an archaeologist and it feels like she has taken all the elements from Victorian literature and society, mixed it with her love of science fiction and formed what she likes to call Urbane Fantasy. The Victorian and steampunk elements really help drive this book for me; although I’m sure Jane Austin would be shocked to read this book.

Then you have the werewolves, vampires and the soulless which I really did hate, I would have much rather read a book like this without paranormal elements and maybe replacing it with a mystery element. That way everything plot wise could still work barring some minor changes. But I have to accept paranormal novels are big sellers and they won’t be going anywhere anytime soon. It just doesn’t work for me; I don’t think I can continue the series.

Overall this book felt too predictable with the romance and the rest was just too cutesy. I like that this novel had a strong heroine like Alexia but there was too much of a struggle between what I liked and hated to really enjoy this book in any form. I know there is a lot of love for this series out there and I’m sorry to say I wasn’t able to love this book. I was glad it was a quick read. There is a lot of wit and humour in this novel but it wasn’t enough. I’m not going to continue this series but I might give one of Gail Carriger’s Etiquette and Espionage a go, even if it is set in the same universe, it does look interesting.