Book bans have reached record levels in the United States. The effort to censor and suppress ideas and literature is something that writer and scholar AZAR NAFISI knows all too well. Nafisi watched books get banned and authors jailed, even killed, during the Islamic Revolution when she taught English literature in Iran. She wrote about her experience reading banned western books in the bestselling memoir, Reading Lolita in Tehran.
In her timely new book, Read Dangerously: The Subversive Power of Literature in Troubled Times, Nafisi reminds readers of the power of fiction to challenge tyranny, fight injustice and open minds. Through letters to her late father, she writes about the transformative effect of reading great books by Plato, Zora Neale Hurston, Salman Rushdie, Margaret Atwood, James Baldwin and many others.
Washington Post, Opinion: Book bans signal the dangerous direction society is moving – “But totalitarian tendencies are unquestionably on the rise within segments of this country. We see this in the attempts to curtail women’s rights, in the rise in racism and antisemitism, and in the assault on ideas and imagination best exemplified in the banning of books.”