Reading Lolita in Tehran: A Memoir in Books Published in 2003, it has been on the New York Times bestseller list for over one hundred weeks and has been translated into thirty-two languages Perhaps Azar Nafisi's greatest act of defiance was gathering seven women in her living room to talk about books. On its face, this may not sound so remarkable. But Nafisi held her book group in Tehran, during the post-revolutionary days of the Islamic Republic, when people caught reading the works on her list, novels by Henry James, Jane Austen, and Nabokov, could be tossed in jail. Nafisi has written her own book about the dark days in Iran that left her and many other intellectuals, feeling, as she writes, "irrelevant." Part memoir, part literary criticism, part social history, it is a celebration not just of survival, but of imagination, and the essential spirit of literature.