13 March 2010

reading lolita in tehran

i found the following entry in my journal, which i opened to write in after a long two years! this might have been my first time to write of books. i thought i would post it here, not just to add to my book posts, but also to remind myself of 'living' literature.

march 2006

"this is how you read a novel: you inhale the experience"

"...has learned that every individual has different dimensions to his personality... Those who judge must take all aspects of an individual's personality into account. It is only through literature that one can put oneself in someone else's shoes and understand the other's different and contradictory sides and refrain from becoming too ruthless... If we had learned this one lesson from Dr A our society would have been in a better shape today."

"...words literally rose up in the air and descended upon us like a fine mist, touching all five senses."

Nietzsche: "whoever fights monsters should see to it that in the process he does not become a monster. And when you look long into an abyss, the abyss also looks into you."

Flaubert: "You should have a heart in order to feel other people's hearts."
"This respect for others, empathy, lies at the heart of the novel... Lack of empathy was to my mind the central sin of the regime, from which all others flowed."

"You get a strange feeling when you're about to leave a place, I told him, like you'll not only miss the people you love but you'll miss the person you are now at this time and this place, because you'll never be this way again." [this is EXACTLY how i felt when i left cairo!]

this was a beautiful book. in many ways. to live like that, to LIVE literature, that is something i am unable to do. most of the time, when i read, it is to escape. so there must be a distinction, separation between fiction and reality. i do not 'inhale the experience' i guess. or perhaps, i inhale and then exhale! whatever, it was beautiful and it taught me stuff, showed me stuff, provoked reactions and made me want to read some books. what more could i ask of a book?

i'm glad i came across this entry, it was nice to be reminded of my enjoyment of azar nafisi's book and prose. i remember that while reading it, i thought it was far better than 'the child that books built' by francis someone, which was also a kind of book-led autobiography. it had none of the charm or engagement of 'reading lolita' however. it has an awesome title though, which i will use someday.. :)

1 comment:

Pajama Girl said...

Nice entry. When I saw title, I remembered you'd read book before and mentioned it to me :)

Glad to see why you enjoyed it. I actually bought a book recently, Kiran Desai's "Inheritance of Loss" - I remember you read it too :) She's in Cairo at the moment. I'm going to attend her lecture.