Tag Archives: Azadeh Moaveni

Book Review: Lipstick Jihad by Azadeh Moaveni (3/5)

22 Oct

This book was part of a major book haul I did years ago at a used book sale. It lingered on my shelf so long that I wondered when I’d ever read it. Yay for quarantine providing the time to get to long-neglected books.

Cover image via Amazon

Lipstick Jihad: A Memoir of Growing Up Iranian in America and American in Iran by Azadeh Moaveni

Summary from Amazon: 

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.

While I think this book would have hit home harder closer to its publication date, I still found it insightful and moving fifteen years after its publication date. Moaveni was in Iran during a very volatile time in its history and she was in a difficult position because of her childhood. She felt Iranian. Her whole childhood was living in America, pining for Iran and the motherland she was taught to miss. But when she arrived, she was ostracized for her Western ideology and ways of living. There was no happy median, no middle country she could find peace in. Her job as a journalist put her in even more of a precarious position as she reported for the Western media from inside the Middle East.

Moaveni tells us about a wide variety of people in her story. There are those who believe in the regime, those who openly subvert it, and the majority who secretly enjoy elements of Western culture, but put on a face of piety to avoid trouble in society. I think Moaveni gives us a fair account of these people and I felt like I had a good understanding of how people ‘got around’ the restrictions of the culture and how they embraced it at the same time.

There wasn’t a character that I attached to more than the others. The people surrounding Moaveni seemed to come and go, as people do from our lives. Her family was a big part of her life in Iran early on. But once she moved out, they weren’t as prominent. There were times her coworkers seemed to be a bigger part of her story and then they’d fade away. Besides Moaveni herself, there didn’t seem to be a lot of consistency in the characters.

When I was in college, I was an International Orientation Leader (IOL). We would pick up international students from the airport and lead them through a week of ‘American Orientation’ before they’d go through the University’s Orientation. I remember students from the Middle East who were surprised I wore shorts, could drive them around, and had a boyfriend (who is, funny enough, now my husband). They both expected me to be like the stereotypical blond bimbo in movies and to act with the same modesty expected of a woman in their country. When Moaveni experienced this same resistance and expectation, I remembered that time well and I understood the uneasiness that she felt at not wanting to shock and surprise but also wanting to fit in. However, I had it in a bit of reverse than Moaveni did.

Azadeh Moaveni
Image via the International Crisis Group

The end of the book hit me. Moaveni’s perspective of her safety changed after 9/11 and I think any American can say the same to some degree. The knowledge that there were people who hated us just because of where we lived and would go to such violent extremes because it was profoundly shaking. Her fear and unease seemed much more grounded than mine in the Midwest.

This book dragged for me a bit and I’m having a lot of trouble putting my finger on why. It was a bit too much of a history lesson at times, but that seems necessary given the region Moaveni was covering and the impact of history on what was happening around her. I think I was hoping for a faster read at the time and just didn’t get what I was hoping for. It wasn’t bad by any means and there was no single part that I didn’t enjoy, but there’s a reason I picked up a thriller after this.

Moaveni drives at national pride throughout her book and this seemed very relevant to me today in a divided America. She was proud of being Iranian when she was in America. But when she got to Iran and wasn’t accepted, it was harder to be proud because she was told time and time again that she wasn’t Iranian. How can she be proud of a country that’s rejecting her? How much should she fight for a country that doesn’t want her? I feel a lot of these feelings right now with a leader I don’t feel respects women and seeing neighbors get into fighting matches masks and teachers.

Writer’s Takeaway: Writing is a great way to speak out when no one around you will listen. Your words carry further than your voice. Moaveni’s audience wasn’t the people surrounding her in Iran. And it probably took her time to find the words to express the myriad of emotions she was feeling. I think stories like this, from people who don’t fit in the world they’re living in, are the most impactful. They can see holes in something that no one else can.

An impactful book, but not what I was looking for at the time. Three out of Five Stars.

Until next time, write on.

You can follow me on GoodreadsFacebookTwitterPinterest, and Instagram. I’m available via email at SamAStevensWriter@gmail.com. And as always, feel free to leave a comment!

Related Posts: 
Review of “Lipstick Jihad” by Azadeh Moavei | Rhapsody in Books Weblog 
Lipstick Jihad | Fizzy Thoughts 
Lipstick Jihad | Ruined by Reading 
Toe to Toe: Funny in Farsi versus Lipstick Jihad | Welcome to Pedagogy and American Literary Studies 

Some of the links on this post may be affiliate links. Taking on a World of Words is a participant in affiliate programs designed to provide a means for sites to earn advertising fees by linking to products. If you purchase a product or service through an affiliate link, your cost will be the same but Sam will automatically receive a small commission. Your support is greatly appreciated.

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WWW Wednesday, 14-October-2020

14 Oct

Welcome to WWW Wednesday! This meme was formerly hosted by MizB at A Daily Rhythm and revived here on Taking on a World of Words. Just answer the three questions below and leave a link to your post in the comments for others to look at. No blog? No problem! Just leave a comment with your responses. Please, take some time to visit the other participants and see what others are reading. So, let’s get to it!IMG_1384-0

The Three Ws are:

What are you currently reading?
What did you recently finish reading?
What do you think you’ll read next?

Note: For users of Blogspot blogs, I’m unable to comment on your posts as a WordPress blogger unless you’ve enabled Name/URL comments. This is a known WordPress/Blogspot issue. Please consider enabling this to participate more fully in the community. 


Currently reading: I actually made progress in Running with a Police Escort by Jill Grunenwald! I had some time on a lazy Sunday morning to read a chapter or two and I know I’m getting close to the end so I’m going to try to stick with that progress for a while. Fingers crossed.
I finally started The Millionaires by Brad Meltzer! I’m relieved to be able to start another book after feeling like I was stalled for so long. A thriller is a welcome escape right now, too.
Surprisingly, I’m between audiobooks at the moment. I’ll start another one, soon!

Recently finished: I finally wrapped up the final chapter of Lipstick Jihad by Azadeh Moaveni this week and I’m relieved to have finished. The book was great and really well written but I moved through it slowly because it was one I had to pay a lot of attention to. I’ll have a review up next week.
I finished The Ghost Bride by Yangsze Choo just in time for my book club. My patience for the book started to wane as I got close to the end. It felt like it was starting to drag on a bit but I was also impatient to finish so I could be ready for our meeting.

Reading next: I’ll pick another audiobook soon, but for now, I have no plan and I’m kind of glad. It’s nice to not plan so far in advance every second. Right now, I can concentrate on my move.


Leave a comment with your link and comment (if you’re so inclined). Take a look at the other participant links in the comments and look at what others are reading.

Have any opinions on these choices?

Until next time, write on.

You can follow me on GoodreadsFacebookTwitterPinterest, and Instagram. I’m available via email at SamAStevensWriter@gmail.com. And as always, feel free to leave a comment!

Some of the links on this post may be affiliate links. Taking on a World of Words is a participant in affiliate programs designed to provide a means for sites to earn advertising fees by linking to products. If you purchase a product or service through an affiliate link, your cost will be the same but Sam will automatically receive a small commission. Your support is greatly appreciated.

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WWW Wednesday, 7-October-2020

7 Oct

Welcome to WWW Wednesday! This meme was formerly hosted by MizB at A Daily Rhythm and revived here on Taking on a World of Words. Just answer the three questions below and leave a link to your post in the comments for others to look at. No blog? No problem! Just leave a comment with your responses. Please, take some time to visit the other participants and see what others are reading. So, let’s get to it!IMG_1384-0

The Three Ws are:

What are you currently reading?
What did you recently finish reading?
What do you think you’ll read next?

Note: For users of Blogspot blogs, I’m unable to comment on your posts as a WordPress blogger unless you’ve enabled Name/URL comments. This is a known WordPress/Blogspot issue. Please consider enabling this to participate more fully in the community. 


Currently reading: I won’t lie, I haven’t touched Running with a Police Escort by Jill Grunenwald. Work has been crazy and I’ve been logging in early rather than taking time to read in the morning. My logic is that I’m getting more done and reducing my stress, but that’s crap.
I keep moving through Lipstick Jihad by Azadeh Moaveni but I’m not sure I’ll finish it this week. I’ve just not been reading as much. I’m liking this book a lot, though. If I can find more time, I think I’d finish it quickly but it’s been a matter of being able to dedicate time to read.
I’m trying to finish The Ghost Bride by Yangsze Choo this week so I’ll be ready for my book club discussion on Monday. I don’t want two months in a row of not finishing the book before we meet!

Recently finished: If you hadn’t guessed by my slow progress in my current books and my lack of posts this week, I didn’t finish anything. I’m slightly optimistic about something being here next week, but I’m not going to hold my breath.

Reading next: I have The Millionaires by Brad Meltzer on the top of a moving box of books so I can pick it up as soon as I’m ready. It will be fun to have something that moves quickly! And the short chapters will be good for when I’m exhausted before bed.


Leave a comment with your link and comment (if you’re so inclined). Take a look at the other participant links in the comments and look at what others are reading.

Have any opinions on these choices?

Until next time, write on.

You can follow me on GoodreadsFacebookTwitterPinterest, and Instagram. I’m available via email at SamAStevensWriter@gmail.com. And as always, feel free to leave a comment!

Sign Up for Monthly Newsletter 

Some of the links on this post may be affiliate links. Taking on a World of Words is a participant in affiliate programs designed to provide a means for sites to earn advertising fees by linking to products. If you purchase a product or service through an affiliate link, your cost will be the same but Sam will automatically receive a small commission. Your support is greatly appreciated.

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WWW Wednesday, 30-September-2020

30 Sep

Welcome to WWW Wednesday! This meme was formerly hosted by MizB at A Daily Rhythm and revived here on Taking on a World of Words. Just answer the three questions below and leave a link to your post in the comments for others to look at. No blog? No problem! Just leave a comment with your responses. Please, take some time to visit the other participants and see what others are reading. So, let’s get to it!IMG_1384-0

The Three Ws are:

What are you currently reading?
What did you recently finish reading?
What do you think you’ll read next?

Note: For users of Blogspot blogs, I’m unable to comment on your posts as a WordPress blogger unless you’ve enabled Name/URL comments. This is a known WordPress/Blogspot issue. Please consider enabling this to participate more fully in the community. 


Currently reading: I tried to read Running with a Police Escort by Jill Grunenwald. Does anyone even believe me anymore? I’m horrible at picking up physical books, even ones I’m enjoying like this. I really hope to get back to it soon. I need to stick to short ebooks, haha.
I’ve made steady progress on Lipstick Jihad by Azadeh Moaveni but the physical exhaustion of moving has kept me from reading a lot before bed this past week. It’s going to be a long move so this might keep up for a while. I hope it doesn’t slow me down too much.
I started listening to The Ghost Bride by Yangsze Choo and I’m trying to figure out how much of a ghost story this really is. I’m not far in yet so that’s still TBD but I’m enjoying the fantastical elements so far.

Recently finished: I wrapped up Joy, Inc. by Richard Sheridan and posted my review of it yesterday. Sheridan has created a very unique and positive culture in his company. It would be amazing to see that culture in some other industries but I don’t think there’s a solid idea of how it would translate to less technical industries, like manufacturing or even medical. I’d love to see it at my office, but I’m not sure that’s realistic. I gave the book Four out of Five Stars.

Reading next: I still plan to pick up The Millionaires by Brad Meltzer as soon as I can. I think a thriller with short chapters will be good for me when I’m exhausted before bed.


Leave a comment with your link and comment (if you’re so inclined). Take a look at the other participant links in the comments and look at what others are reading.

Have any opinions on these choices?

Until next time, write on.

You can follow me on GoodreadsFacebookTwitterPinterest, and Instagram. I’m available via email at SamAStevensWriter@gmail.com. And as always, feel free to leave a comment!

Sign Up for Monthly Newsletter 

Some of the links on this post may be affiliate links. Taking on a World of Words is a participant in affiliate programs designed to provide a means for sites to earn advertising fees by linking to products. If you purchase a product or service through an affiliate link, your cost will be the same but Sam will automatically receive a small commission. Your support is greatly appreciated.

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WWW Wednesday, 23-September-2020

23 Sep

Welcome to WWW Wednesday! This meme was formerly hosted by MizB at A Daily Rhythm and revived here on Taking on a World of Words. Just answer the three questions below and leave a link to your post in the comments for others to look at. No blog? No problem! Just leave a comment with your responses. Please, take some time to visit the other participants and see what others are reading. So, let’s get to it!IMG_1384-0

The Three Ws are:

What are you currently reading?
What did you recently finish reading?
What do you think you’ll read next?

Note: For users of Blogspot blogs, I’m unable to comment on your posts as a WordPress blogger unless you’ve enabled Name/URL comments. This is a known WordPress/Blogspot issue. Please consider enabling this to participate more fully in the community. 


Currently reading: I made minuscule progress on Running with a Police Escort by Jill Grunenwald. I’d hoped that with my triathlon season over, I’d find more time to read but I haven’t gotten there just yet. I’ll keep looking.
I’ve almost finished Joy, Inc. by Richard Sheridan now that I’m back in it. I’m enjoying the book a lot and wondering if there’s a way his company could use my skillset. It’s less than 30 minutes from my new house! I should easily have this finished next week.
I’m steadily moving through Lipstick Jihad by Azadeh Moaveni but I’m finding it hard to binge this one. There’s a lot of information to unpack in Moaveni’s story. It’s well researched and clearly a personal story for her. I’m enjoying it but I’m looking forward to a fast, fun book after this.

Recently finished: I posted my review of In the Distance by Hernán Díaz yesterday. This book was a rare miss for me. My book club met before I’d finished it but I pushed through to the end and I don’t think knowing the ending ruined much for me. There wasn’t much anticipation to be ruined. I gave the book Two out of Five Stars. I think this might be the first time I’ve posted a book club reflection before a book review! That went up on Monday.

Reading next: I’ve packed a lot of my books but I’m leaving The Millionaires by Brad Meltzer on top of the pile so I can grab it and start soon. I’m looking forward to a thriller!
My next audiobook will be for my book club. We’ve picked The Ghost Bride by Yangsze Choo. Usually, we read a horror book in October, but I don’t think that’s what this one will be about. It sounds like an interesting read, though.


Leave a comment with your link and comment (if you’re so inclined). Take a look at the other participant links in the comments and look at what others are reading.

Have any opinions on these choices?

Until next time, write on.

You can follow me on GoodreadsFacebookTwitterPinterest, and Instagram. I’m available via email at SamAStevensWriter@gmail.com. And as always, feel free to leave a comment!

Sign Up for Monthly Newsletter 

Some of the links on this post may be affiliate links. Taking on a World of Words is a participant in affiliate programs designed to provide a means for sites to earn advertising fees by linking to products. If you purchase a product or service through an affiliate link, your cost will be the same but Sam will automatically receive a small commission. Your support is greatly appreciated.

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WWW Wednesday, 16-September-2020

16 Sep

Welcome to WWW Wednesday! This meme was formerly hosted by MizB at A Daily Rhythm and revived here on Taking on a World of Words. Just answer the three questions below and leave a link to your post in the comments for others to look at. No blog? No problem! Just leave a comment with your responses. Please, take some time to visit the other participants and see what others are reading. So, let’s get to it!IMG_1384-0

The Three Ws are:

What are you currently reading?
What did you recently finish reading?
What do you think you’ll read next?

Note: For users of Blogspot blogs, I’m unable to comment on your posts as a WordPress blogger unless you’ve enabled Name/URL comments. This is a known WordPress/Blogspot issue. Please consider enabling this to participate more fully in the community. 


Currently reading: I got through none of Running with a Police Escort by Jill Grunenwald last week. I was on vacation and didn’t want to look at a screen after my work day was over so I didn’t and this is very much paused. I hope I get back to it soon.
I should be back to Joy, Inc. by Richard Sheridan this week, but not yet just!
I’m finishing In the Distance by Hernán Díaz and should be able to wrap it up today. I didn’t finish it before my book club meeting which I’m disappointed about but I’m determined to wrap it up anyway.
I’m working through Lipstick Jihad by Azadeh Moaveni and enjoying it pretty well. It’s a good mix of memoir and history which I’m enjoying.

Recently finished: I finished The Virgin Suicides by Jeffrey Eugenides while I was on vacation and just loved it. I have the movie on hold at the library now and I’m hoping I can watch it soon and see how well the story was translated to screen. My review went up on Monday and I know a lot of you were asking for it. I gave it a full Five out of Five Stars.

Reading next: I still plan to start The Millionaires by Brad Meltzer soon. I think a thriller will be good for my reading pace. And I finished almost all of my autographed books during quarantine which is a huge win for me!


Leave a comment with your link and comment (if you’re so inclined). Take a look at the other participant links in the comments and look at what others are reading.

Have any opinions on these choices?

Until next time, write on.

You can follow me on GoodreadsFacebookTwitterPinterest, and Instagram. I’m available via email at SamAStevensWriter@gmail.com. And as always, feel free to leave a comment!

Sign Up for Monthly Newsletter 

Some of the links on this post may be affiliate links. Taking on a World of Words is a participant in affiliate programs designed to provide a means for sites to earn advertising fees by linking to products. If you purchase a product or service through an affiliate link, your cost will be the same but Sam will automatically receive a small commission. Your support is greatly appreciated.

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WWW Wednesday, 9-September-2020

9 Sep

Welcome to WWW Wednesday! This meme was formerly hosted by MizB at A Daily Rhythm and revived here on Taking on a World of Words. Just answer the three questions below and leave a link to your post in the comments for others to look at. No blog? No problem! Just leave a comment with your responses. Please, take some time to visit the other participants and see what others are reading. So, let’s get to it!IMG_1384-0

The Three Ws are:

What are you currently reading?
What did you recently finish reading?
What do you think you’ll read next?

Note: For users of Blogspot blogs, I’m unable to comment on your posts as a WordPress blogger unless you’ve enabled Name/URL comments. This is a known WordPress/Blogspot issue. Please consider enabling this to participate more fully in the community. 


Currently reading: I made a little progress through Running with a Police Escort by Jill Grunenwald but, again, not as much as I’d hoped to. I like this book, I just don’t spend too much time reading on my phone so it goes slowly. I know I’ll get through it eventually.
I’m still on hold with Joy, Inc. by Richard Sheridan but plan to return to it really soon!
I started In the Distance by Hernán Díaz which is my next audiobook pick. It’s not what I expected but I’m enjoying it so far. I hope to finish this one quickly before my book club meets Monday so keep your fingers crossed that this is off the list by next week!
Quarantine has helped me work through my TBR immensely and next up is Lipstick Jihad by Azadeh Moaveni. It’s been a while since I got into a good memoir and I’m hoping this one can whisk me away.

 

Recently finished: I was able to finish off The Tory by T.J. London on Saturday which was the silver lining of a very bad run for me. The book ended on a bit of a cliffhanger, which isn’t my favorite, but it’s made me want to continue forward with the series for sure. I’ll post my review tomorrow. In more fun news with this book, I’m part of the media blitz and I’ll have a second post for that up today by 11am EST so please check back for more on The Tory!
I flew through The Virgin Suicides by Jeffrey Eugenides. This was the book I needed to get me out of my reading slump and I’m really glad I finally read it. This is the third Eugenides book I’ve read and he’s 2/3 for me now. I hope I’ll find some more to read soon. My review will be up next week.

Reading next: I’m on a small vacation at my parent’s Lake House right now and I brought along The Millionaires by Brad Meltzer if I get into a reading slump and need something fast-paced to keep me going. I’m hoping I need to pick it up before I return home.


Leave a comment with your link and comment (if you’re so inclined). Take a look at the other participant links in the comments and look at what others are reading.

Have any opinions on these choices?

Until next time, write on.

You can follow me on GoodreadsFacebookTwitterPinterest, and Instagram. I’m available via email at SamAStevensWriter@gmail.com. And as always, feel free to leave a comment!

Sign Up for Monthly Newsletter 

Some of the links on this post may be affiliate links. Taking on a World of Words is a participant in affiliate programs designed to provide a means for sites to earn advertising fees by linking to products. If you purchase a product or service through an affiliate link, your cost will be the same but Sam will automatically receive a small commission. Your support is greatly appreciated.

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