by Maziar Bahari,Aimee Molloy
About the book: An former prisoner in one of Iran's most notorious prisons offers a moving memoir of how thoughts of his family got him through the seemingly unending days of torture, in a book that also sheds light on Iran's tumultuous history.
by Marjane Satrapi
About the book: Collects a groundbreaking two-part graphic memoir, in which the great-granddaughter of Iran's last emperor and the daughter of ardent Marxists describes growing up in Tehran, a country plagued by political upheaval and vast contradictions between public and private life. Original. 50,000 first printing.
by Betty Mahmoody
About the book: "An Iranian doctor living in America with his American wife Betty and their child Mahtob wants to see his homeland again. He convinces his wife to take a short holiday there with him and Mahtob. Betty is reluctant, as Iran is not a pleasant place, especially if you are American and female. Upon arrival in Iran, it appears that her worst fears are realized: Moody declares that they will be living there from now on. Betty is determined to escape from Iran, but taking her daughter with her presents a larger problem."
by Heydar Radjavi
About the book: "All memoirs bring the past into the present, but only a few manage to illuminate both simultaneously. French Hats in Iran, a quietly insightful masterpiece of remembrance, belongs in that select group. Heydar Radjavi?s evocations of growing up in Tabriz in the 1930s and 1940s describe a traditionalist Iran grappling with modernity, a process as fraught with contradictions and stresses then as it is in Iran today. In a series of mini-tales, we meet a rich cast of characters: the elderly father who works in the Tabriz bazaar and runs his household according to unbending religious precepts; the resourceful mother who finds ways to enjoy such forbidden frivolities as music; the female playmate who marries at the age of nine; the teacher whose personal journey takes him from strictest piety to political radicalism; and many more. Finding a path through all the complexities is Radjavi himself?a wide-eyed little boy in some episodes, an adventurous teenager in others, and finally a young man preparing to enter a fast-changing world. The tone is always light, the memories wonderfully vivid, and the underlying theme of tension between old and new truly timeless. "
by Shirin Ebadi,Azadeh Moaveni
About the book: In this remarkable book, Shirin Ebadi, Iranian human rights lawyer and activist, and Nobel Peace Prize laureate, tells her extraordinary life story. Dr Ebadi is a tireless voice for reform in her native Iran, where she argues for a new interpretation of Sharia law in harmony with vital human rights such as democracy, equality before the law, religious freedom and freedom of speech. She is known for defending dissident figures, and for the establishment of a number of non-profit grassroots organisations dedicated to human rights. In 2003 she became the first Muslim woman, and the first Iranian, to be awarded the Nobel Peace Prize. She chronicles her childhood and upbringing before the Iranian Revolution, her education and student years at the University of Tehran, her marriage and its challenges, her religious faith, and her life as a mother and as an advocate for the oppressed. As a human rights campaigner, in particular for women, children and political prisoners in Iran, her autobiography is a must-read for anyone fascinated by the life story and beliefs of a courageous and unusual woman, as well as those interested in current events (especially those of the Middle East), and those who want to know the truth about the position of women in a Muslim society.
by Azar Nafisi
About the book: We all have dreams—things we fantasize about doing and generally never get around to. This is the story of Azar Nafisi’s dream and of the nightmare that made it come true. For two years before she left Iran in 1997, Nafisi gathered seven young women at her house every Thursday morning to read and discuss forbidden works of Western literature. They were all former students whom she had taught at university. Some came from conservative and religious families, others were progressive and secular; several had spent time in jail. They were shy and uncomfortable at first, unaccustomed to being asked to speak their minds, but soon they began to open up and to speak more freely, not only about the novels they were reading but also about themselves, their dreams and disappointments. Their stories intertwined with those they were reading—Pride and Prejudice, Washington Square, Daisy Miller and Lolita—their Lolita, as they imagined her in Tehran. Nafisi’s account flashes back to the early days of the revolution, when she first started teaching at the University of Tehran amid the swirl of protests and demonstrations. In those frenetic days, the students took control of the university, expelled faculty members and purged the curriculum. When a radical Islamist in Nafisi’s class questioned her decision to teach The Great Gatsby, which he saw as an immoral work that preached falsehoods of “the Great Satan,” she decided to let him put Gatsby on trial and stood as the sole witness for the defense. Azar Nafisi’s luminous tale offers a fascinating portrait of the Iran-Iraq war viewed from Tehran and gives us a rare glimpse, from the inside, of women’s lives in revolutionary Iran. It is a work of great passion and poetic beauty, written with a startlingly original voice. From the Hardcover edition.
by Azadeh Moaveni
About the book: As far back as she can remember, Azadeh Moaveni has felt at odds with her tangled identity as an Iranian-American. In suburban America, Azadeh lived in two worlds. At home, she was the daughter of the Iranian exile community, serving tea, clinging to tradition, and dreaming of Tehran. Outside, she was a California girl who practiced yoga and listened to Madonna. For years, she ignored the tense standoff between her two cultures. But college magnified the clash between Iran and America, and after graduating, she moved to Iran as a journalist. This is the story of her search for identity, between two cultures cleaved apart by a violent history. It is also the story of Iran, a restive land lost in the twilight of its revolution. Moaveni's homecoming falls in the heady days of the country's reform movement, when young people demonstrated in the streets and shouted for the Islamic regime to end. In these tumultuous times, she struggles to build a life in a dark country, wholly unlike the luminous, saffron and turquoise-tinted Iran of her imagination. As she leads us through the drug-soaked, underground parties of Tehran, into the hedonistic lives of young people desperate for change, Moaveni paints a rare portrait of Iran's rebellious next generation. The landscape of her Tehran -- ski slopes, fashion shows, malls and cafes -- is populated by a cast of young people whose exuberance and despair brings the modern reality of Iran to vivid life.
by Simin Daneshvar
About the book: Savushun chronicles the life of a Persian family during the Allied occupation of Iran during World War II. It is set in Shiraz, a town which evokes images of Persepolis and pre-Islamic monuments, the great poets, the shrines, Sufis, and nomadic tribes within a historical web of the interests, privilege and influence of foreign powers; corruption, incompetence and arrogance of persons in authority; the paternalistic landowner-peasant relationship; tribalism; and the fear of famine. The story is seen through the eyes of Zari, a young wife and mother, who copes with her idealistic and uncompromising husband while struggling with her desire for traditional family life and her need for individual identity. Daneshvar's style is both sensitive and imaginative, while following cultural themes and metaphors. Within basic Iranian paradigms, the characters play out the roles inherent in their personalities. While Savushun is a unique piece of literature that transcends the boundaries of the historical community in which it was written, it is also the best single work for understanding modern Iran. Although written prior to the Islamic Revolution, it brilliantly portrays the social and historical forces that gave pre-revolutionary Iran its characteristic hopelessness and emerging desperation so inadequately understood by outsiders. The original Persian edition of Savushun has sold over half a million copies.
by Hooman Majd
About the book: Hooman Majd, acclaimed journalist and New York-residing grandson of an Ayatollah, has a unique perspective on his Iranian homeland. In this vivid, warm and humorous insider's account, he opens our eyes to an Iran that few people see, meeting opium-smoking clerics, women cab drivers and sartorially challenged presidential officials, among others. Revealing a country where both t-shirt wearing teenagers and religious martyrs express pride in their Persian origins, that is deeply religious yet highly cosmopolitan, authoritarian yet reformist, this is the one book you should read to understand Iran and Iranians today.