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By Azar Nafisi
400 pages; Random House Trade Paperbacks

Because who knew how much courage it took just to open a book?

Nafisi's memoir eloquently chronicles her experiences in a Thursday morning book club where Iranian women read the forbidden Western classics. While the club opened its members' minds and liberated them to speak freely among themselves, Nafisi's account opened our eyes, showing us the inner world of Iranian women. She powerfully demonstrates why books make a difference—including this one. — Dawn Raffel