May 14, 2015

Moments with Books

This week I'm chatting about "Yes Please" by Amy Poehler and "Reading Lolita in Tehran" by Azar Nafisi.

VITALS: "Yes Please" by Amy Poehler
HOW WE MET: It was time
A MOMENT'S SUMMARY: Opening with a section called "Instructions For How To Use This Book", Poehler describes her book as an "open scrapbook" of memoirs, photos, advice and essays.  Beginning with a nod to her childhood acting debut, she writes her love of performing and improv grew aggressively from that moment.  The book adds details to her publicly known timeline: adventures in comedy and improv; joining the "Upright Citizen's Brigade"; her time at "Saturday Night Live", then Parks and Recreation"; friendships with Tina Fey, Seth Meyers and Rachel Dratch... even Poehler's grandious schemes when hosting the Golden Globes.  These sections of the book are spectacular; her keen balance of humor and truth felt on every single page.  I was smitten with the SNL gossip tidbits she mentions.  What makes this book more than the usual fine book to read though is that unflinching honesty, especially when directed at herself.  She writes of her drug use, journeying through divorce, beginning her career at SNL just as 9/11 impacted America, and her children Archie and Abel. All sprinkled in perfect doses throughout the timeline, leaving me wanting to know a little bit more as I turned each page. 
HEAD AND HEART: This is undoubtedly heart text.  In her section on "time travelling" she boils down clandestine moments to simply believing.  In God, or purpose, or destiny... whatever one's choice, but in always believing.  Knowing firmly that seemingly unrelated events happen for the good of our souls.  Always. 
FOR MY QUOTEBOARDS: "It's easier to be brave when you're not alone."

VITALS: "Reading Lolita in Tehran" by Azar Nafisi
HOW WE MET: I had just finished a reread of "Lolita"- this book seemed like a perfect follow up choice!
A MOMENT'S SUMMARY: The title refers to a secret book club founded by the author in the Islam Republic of Iran where she taught.  The club was composed of 7 handpicked, female students who met weekly to review the classic texts of "Lolita", "The Great Gatsby", "Daisy Miller" and "Washington Square".  Nafisi's intent was to allow the women room to discuss literature without the overriding censorship and fundamentalism that ruled the Republic just outside the book club's doorstep. Tentatively the group begins. As each week progresses, they draw strong, impactful connections between the characters in the books and the harsh day to day experiences of life as a woman in the Islam Republic 
of Iran.
HEAD AND HEART: it was a great follow up choice, but admittedly there was a time I might not have picked this type of book out so readily.  I can read about past national and world issues, but I don't tend to pick up novels that are still stinging and fresh with those same issues.  In the end, I'm glad I read this.  Parts were difficult to get through, but important for me to be reading.
KEEP AN EYE OUT FOR: the "magician"
FOR MY QUOTEBOARDS: "No I am not over dramatizing. Life in the Islamic Republic was always too explosive, too dramatic and chaotic to shape into the desired order required for a narrative effect."


AS FOR YOU: Have you decided these books are worth the read, or not?  Got an insider scoop on one of these selections?  Carry on the discussion in the comments- using the rating scale is optional ;)


smalltownme said...

Good picks. I've already read Reading Lolita.

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