Azar Nafisi

The author of Reading Lolita in Tehran shares some uncommonly good reading.

Azar NafisiThe lights of Lolita, The Great Gatsby, and Pride and Prejudice shone more brightly than ever in the pages of Reading Lolita in Tehran, Nafisi’s bestselling 2003 memoir of teaching literature in the Islamic Republic of Iran. Her book Things I’ve Been Silent About, explores her relationship with her parents. Here she shares a trio of treasured volumes.

Books by Azar Nafisi


By Jane Austen

Persuasion is about choice, and the moral and social dilemmas it brings in its tow. It is quietly magical, much like its heroine Anne Elliott. I love the undercurrent of sensuality created by the tension in the air every time Anne Elliott is in the same room with Captain Wentworth: a hint of unspoken longings and passionate urges, regret for the lost opportunities and hope for the future prospects.”

The Age of Innocence

By Edith Wharton

“So refreshing to read and re-read a novel that proves the truth of Ezra Pound’s claim about literature being news that stays news. We can read this book and not be ashamed of using words such as ambiguity, complexity, morality and beauty.”

Uncommon Reader

By Alan Bennett

“In this politicized and polarized world, it is good to read the story of a queen who takes to reading books and abdicates her throne in order to write. What possibly more can we expect from such a wise queen?”