Posted in Literature


I just returned from my adventure to the public library, where I spent some time reading.  I am back at college now, where  my current task is to welcome the incoming freshmen.  The problem (or not so much of a problem) is that they don’t come until tomorrow.  That means I had all afternoon free after our meeting this morning.  Since most of my friends have not arrived yet, I decided to venture to the library.  I had not planned to check anything out since I am currently trying to conquer Lord of the Flies but I inevitably found a book to read..

In high school, my AP English teacher recommended me to read Reading Lolita in Tehran, and while browsing the shelves of the library I found it!

I am impressed by the fluidity of this memoir that not only relates the life a woman in Tehran but also the ongoings of a literature class.  I admit to not having read many of the novels mentioned in this book, but I am intrigued by the interpretation.

I have only made it to page 37 of this 350 page book, but I have already found bits I wish I could highlight.  If only it were my book.  At one point (on page 32 to be exact) I was thinking YES!  Yassi, one of the women in the class, declared that she did not want to get married and that “she would spend the rest of her life with Mr. Darcy.”  While I do plan to marry someday, assuming that’s in God’s will for my life, I can agree that men in books are always more appealing than men in real life.  And I have always had a particular liking for Mr. Darcy 🙂

Mainly this novel is about being who you are even when the world tells you that you cannot be.  These women meet together in a house to discuss books, but it’s about more than discussing books.  That time is sacred, because there they can remove their veils and discuss freely.

The title of this post needs to be explained I guess.  It is a word created by author, Nabokov, in his book Invitation to a Beheading (which sounds intriguing).  He uses it to talk about how children understand language.  His character appreciates language while others “understood each other at the first word, since they had no words that would end in an unexpected way, perhaps in some archaic letter, an upsilamba, becoming a bird or a catapult with wondrous consequences.”  The women in Tehran came up with their own meanings, but I think it is a representation of the unexpected of life.  It can be used as an explanation or exclamation when something goes unexpectedly.

For example:  If I was planning to eat lunch alone with a good book but then I see a friend in the cafeteria, I would call that event an upsilamba.  Or if I unexpectedly trip over my own feet and am helped up by a stranger, that could be an upsilamba.  I think upsilambas always have positive outcomes.  It was an upsilamba that I came across this memoir because it allowed me to think and get back into blogging.



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