A quick preface because preface is a cool word that doesn't seem to get used enough: I sort of quit blogging. Obviously if you're reading this, that's nothing of a surprise for you, but I've been informed that people actually DO read my blog so I'll try to get back into it. For now though, I'll post out an entry that I wrote a last week and left in the drafts folder. Thanks for reading.
Last month I got another pre-realease book through Library Thing's Early Reviewers program. There's something ultimately fun about reading a book before it's even hit the bookstores and I figure since the whole purpose of publishers giving out these delicious freebies is to drum up publicity for their product I might as well at least mention the really good ones here as well as on LT. The book I just finished is a nonfiction work called Honeymoon in Tehran: Two Years of Love and Danger in Iran. Here's my review:
Honeymoon in Tehran is a memoir by Iranian-American journalist Azadeh Moaveni chronicling two years of her life living in Tehran and dealing with the complications of a government that restricts the freedoms of women and journalists (and especially women journalists). The book is a resource of world politics as Moaveni presents an insider's view of Mahmoud Ahmadinejad's rise to power. The story is even more compelling as Moaveni tells her own tale of falling in love. As she navigates Iranian wedding customs and the issues of pregnancy before marriage, the story becomes a personal one and her balance between factual and emotional writing is exceptional.
In many ways Moaveni's story is a wake-up call to be aware of things that Americans and other citizens of Western countries can take for granted - choice of dress, public playgrounds, sattelite TV, choice of children's names, uncensored internet access, freedom to associate with members of the opposite gender - and yet she paints a fair picture of Iranians in Tehran and refrains from playing the victim despite dire circumstances for her family and career. As a book that both educates and entertains, Honeymoon in Tehran is an excellent book club choice or a great read for anyone seeking a literary trip to Iran.
I got to thinking about this book a lot this week with the monumental inauguration on Tuesday. I won't deny that I'm an Obama supporter. Since meeting him in 2005, I've gained the impression that as a senator - an hopefully now as president - he sees himself as a public servant and I feel that is a role that comes across as more of a rarity in Washington these days. With that said though, I'm not one of the many celebrating January 19th as "Bush's last day in office". I don't think Bush was the villain that many have painted him as. I won't defend his decisions, but I won't criticize them either. Going back to the subject of Honeymoon in Tehran, I'm really grateful to be an American citizen. As I mentioned in my review there are so many freedoms we have in this country that people take for granted. Even those who hated Bush knew that they would have to deal with him for a maximum of eight years - and throughout those years they were able to enjoy the freedom of speaking their mind about him openly, loudly, vehemently with no penalties. Yes, I'm glad to see President Obama in office but I have a healthy salute to former President Bush for his service to our States. Republican or Democrat, Inauguration is bigger than the man in Oval Office - whether you support the current administration or not - this country is one that I'm exceptionally thankful to be part of.