Hi everyone! I thought that since you all have heard so much about my own personal goals and favorite reads of 2012, it was about time that you heard from the rest of the staff. I’ve asked them to send me their top reads of 2012, and I’ve posted them below. I think it’s interesting to see what different readers choose as their favorites, and it’s always a great springboard for opening a discussion too! So, without further adieu, here’s the Reflections of a Book Addict staff favorites of 2012!
Hour seven is here! Todd, Adam, Jess, and myself all decided to switch what books we were reading to “freshen up”. I’m now reading a graphic novel version of The Canterbury Tales, Todd’s moved on to A Million Suns by Beth Revis, Adam’s reading Embroideries by Marjane Satrapi, and Jess is reading Carole King’s memoir A Natural Woman.
My adorable kitten Sebastian has also picked out a novel to begin reading – When You Are Engulfed in Flames by David Sedaris. Isn’t that picture adorable?!?
The mini challenge this hour is being hosted by The Hungry Readers. They ask that you take words and phrases from the book you’re currently reading and compose a poem with them. The four of us (and Sebastian!) have tried to come up with a poem based on what we’re reading but have utterly failed. Instead Adam wrote a poem that he would like me to share with the rest of you. Without further ado:
Challenge six and this group don’t really mix We have our noses stuck in our books So well wait for challenge seven and load up our nooks
My senior year in college I was introduced to a graphic novel memoir by Art Spiegelman entitled Maus. Spiegelman re-told his father’s Holocaust experience in a way that a) indebted me to graphic novels forever and b) made me search out other memoirs told in this unusual format. That search produced another graphic novel entitled Persepolis by Marjane Satrapi. Satrapi told of her experiences growing up in Iran during the Islamic Revolution. I was enamored by her stories and the way her drawings helped illustrate the feelings she had about herself and those around her. Since reading Persepolis I’ve been introduced to some of her illustrated novellas, Embroideries being one of them.
When one first thinks of the conservative Islamic regime one does not associate it with any type of sexual openness. Therefore, Satrapi’s Embroideries becomes that much more eye-opening when one discovers that it covers just that: the sex lives of a few Iranian women. Told from the point of view of an informal get together that includes Satrapi’s grandmother, mother, aunt, and a few neighbors and friends, Embroideries touches on major problems and observations that are common to all of these women. Ranging from how to seduce a man to how to escape an arranged marriage, Satrapi’s relatives and friends share their stories and insights from a unique and deeply personal point of view.
Persepolis was my first literary introduction to Iranian culture. In Persepolis we see a culture where women were treated in a vastly different manner than men. We’re not introduced to a liberal culture where women go to bars on Friday nights and pick up men in the vein of Sex and the City. Knowing all this, the synopsis for Embroideries intrigued me greatly in the basis that it afforded me an opportunity to see the female Iranian culture behind closed doors. I was not expecting to read such liberal discussions of their sex lives. I was absolutely fascinated with their gossipy personalities and how comfortable they felt at poking fun at the men in their lives. I have to say that it actually made me happy in part to know that women the world over (no matter how repressive of a country they live in) still found time to be normal women. I sometimes feel guilty about being an American woman. I have the freedom to be what I want to be, say what I want to say, and love who I want to love. After reading this graphic novel it gives me hope for those that don’t enjoy the public freedoms that I do. Knowing that they can be who they want to be behind closed doors with like-minded women increases my hope for a world where women are respected as equally as men are. In all, Satrapi’s work is a refreshing and intriguing read that will leave you thinking about your own views on the female side of Iranian culture. I highly recommend it!