Between the Lines Book Club: Persepolis, the Movie

between the lines book club logoWelcome to Between the Lines Book Club! This month we will be discussing Persepolis in this space and in person at Arden Dimick Library on August 24, 2019 at 10:30AM. Please join us!

Persepolis is a memoir by Marjane Satrapi in which she discusses growing up during the Islamic Revolution in Iran. In 2007, Satrapi released an animated movie based on the book. She wrote and directed the movie in collaboration with Vincent Paronnaud. The movie is available at Sacramento Public Library as well as Amazon and Itunes. It covers both volumes of Persepolis (the first volume was about Satrapi as a child and the second published volume covered her as a young adult). It was nominated for Best Animated Feature at the 80th Academy Awards. Here’s the trailer!





Tarot and the Eight of Wands

8-of-wands-rider-waite-tarot_largeLately I’ve been pulling the same cards for myself over and over again, which is annoying. It’s so rude when a deck won’t stop telling you what you need to know as opposed to what you want to know. I mean, really.

The other day I did a reading with one deck and pulled the Eight of Wands. I couldn’t figure out what it was doing in that position in the reading so I used another deck, shuffled, redid the layout – and pulled the Eight of Wands for the same position, again, from the new deck. FINE. Let’s talk about the Eight of Wands!

My instinctive reaction to this card is to interpret it as all this stuff coming at me. Without other context, just from gut instinct, this card symbolizes projects and deadlines and chores and all the overwhelming things in life. When I see it, I feel tired.

However, the card is more traditionally, and positively interpreted as the arrival of new opportunities or as a depiction of one’s creative potential reaching fulfillment. Time to rethink!

8 of Wands Paulina Tarot

From the Paulina Tarot

Rachel Pollack, in Seventy-Eight Degrees of Wisdom, sees this as indicating that completion is near. “When the Fire finds its goal, the projects and situations come to a satisfactory end. The Wands have come to earth.”

The Holistic Tarot, by Benebell Wen, interprets the card in a similar way, and suggests the affirmation: “I won’t slow down, I won’t stop, I aim and shoot for my goal. I see my target and never take my eyes off it.”

Crow Tarot Eight of Wands

Crow Tarot

If one assumes that the wands are going from you or are coming to you, not at you, the card becomes very different. This isn’t an illustration of my burdens. It’s an illustration of  my power. This is my fire, and my efforts, and my determination, and an indicator that they will not be wasted!


Housewives Tarot - brooms and swiffers!

Housewives Tarot

What cards do you fear? How can you reframe them as positive? Leave your comments here!




Between the Lines Book Club: Marjane Satrapi

between the lines book club logoWelcome to Between the Lines Book Club! This month we will be discussing Persepolis in this space and in person at Arden Dimick Library on August 24, 2019 at 10:30AM. Please join us!

Marjane Satrapi was born in Iran in 1969. Her family, afraid that she would be arrested if she remained in Iran, sent her to Vienna in 1983. She studied in Vienna and returned to Iran, where she married, She and her first husband divorced after two years and Marjane moved to France, where she has lived ever since. Currently, she is a film director and activist. She is married to a man from Sweden and speaks multiple languages including Persian, French, English, and Swedish.

Here’s a link to her interview in Vogue!

Here’s her interview in The Guardian.

And here is a video interviews:




August Poem: August Moon, by Emma Lazarus

photo of full moon

Photo by Peter de Vink on

Courtesy of poem, here’s an August poem by Emma Lazarus, the poet most famous for “The New Colossus.” “The New Colossus” is the poem at the base of the Statue of Liberty. In “August Moon,” different people find different meaning in the full moon in August. This year the full moon is on August 15th – what will you see?

August Moon

Look! the round-cheeked moon floats high,
In the glowing August sky,
Quenching all her neighbor stars,
Save the steady flame of Mars.
White as silver shines the sea,
Far-off sails like phantoms be,
Gliding o’er that lake of light,
Vanishing in nether night.
Heavy hangs the tasseled corn,
Sighing for the cordial morn;
But the marshy-meadows bare,
Love this spectral-lighted air,
Drink the dews and lift their song,
Chirp of crickets all night long;
Earth and sea enchanted lie
‘Neath that moon-usurped sky.

To the faces of our friends
Unfamiliar traits she lends-
Quaint, white witch, who looketh down
With a glamour all her own.
Hushed are laughter, jest, and speech,
Mute and heedless each of each,
In the glory wan we sit,
Visions vague before us flit;
Side by side, yet worlds apart,
Heart becometh strange to heart.

Slowly in a moved voice, then,
Ralph, the artist spake again-
‘Does not that weird orb unroll
Scenes phantasmal to your soul?
As I gaze thereon, I swear,
Peopled grows the vacant air,
Fables, myths alone are real,
White-clad sylph-like figures steal
‘Twixt the bushes, o’er the lawn,
Goddess, nymph, undine, and faun.
Yonder, see the Willis dance,
Faces pale with stony glance;
They are maids who died unwed,
And they quit their gloomy bed,
Hungry still for human pleasure,
Here to trip a moonlit measure.
Near the shore the mermaids play,
Floating on the cool, white spray,
Leaping from the glittering surf
To the dark and fragrant turf,
Where the frolic trolls, and elves
Daintily disport themselves.
All the shapes by poet’s brain,
Fashioned, live for me again,
In this spiritual light,
Less than day, yet more than night.
What a world! a waking dream,
All things other than they seem,
Borrowing a finer grace,
From yon golden globe in space;
Touched with wild, romantic glory,
Foliage fresh and billows hoary,
Hollows bathed in yellow haze,
Hills distinct and fields of maize,
Ancient legends come to mind.
Who would marvel should he find,
In the copse or nigh the spring,
Summer fairies gamboling
Where the honey-bees do suck,
Mab and Ariel and Puck?
Ah! no modern mortal sees
Creatures delicate as these.
All the simple faith has gone
Which their world was builded on.
Now the moonbeams coldly glance
On no gardens of romance;
To prosaic senses dull,
Baldur’s dead, the Beautiful,
Hark, the cry rings overhead,
‘Universal Pan is dead!”
‘Requiescant!’ Claude’s grave tone
Thrilled us strangely. ‘I am one
Who would not restore that Past,
Beauty will immortal last,
Though the beautiful must die-
This the ages verify.
And had Pan deserved the name
Which his votaries misclaim,
He were living with us yet.
I behold, without regret,
Beauty in new forms recast,
Truth emerging from the vast,
Bright and orbed, like yonder sphere,
Making the obscure air clear.
He shall be of bards the king,
Who, in worthy verse, shall sing
All the conquests of the hour,
Stealing no fictitious power
From the classic types outworn,
But his rhythmic line adorn
With the marvels of the real.
He the baseless feud shall heal
That estrangeth wide apart
Science from her sister Art.
Hold! look through this glass for me?
Artist, tell me what you see?’
‘I!’ cried Ralph. ‘I see in place
Of Astarte’s silver face,
Or veiled Isis’ radiant robe,
Nothing but a rugged globe
Seamed with awful rents and scars.
And below no longer Mars,
Fierce, flame-crested god of war,
But a lurid, flickering star,
Fashioned like our mother earth,
Vexed, belike, with death and birth.’

Rapt in dreamy thought the while,
With a sphinx-like shadowy smile,
Poet Florio sat, but now
Spake in deep-voiced accents slow,
More as one who probes his mind,
Than for us-‘Who seeks, shall find-
Widening knowledge surely brings
Vaster themes to him who sings.
Was veiled Isis more sublime
Than yon frozen fruit of Time,
Hanging in the naked sky?
Death’s domain-for worlds too die.
Lo! the heavens like a scroll
Stand revealed before my soul;
And the hieroglyphs are suns-
Changeless change the law that runs
Through the flame-inscribed page,
World on world and age on age,
Balls of ice and orbs of fire,
What abides when these expire?
Through slow cycles they revolve,
Yet at last like clouds dissolve.
Jove, Osiris, Brahma pass,
Races wither like the grass.
Must not mortals be as gods
To embrace such periods?
Yet at Nature’s heart remains
One who waxes not nor wanes.
And our crowning glory still
Is to have conceived his will.’

Between the Lines Book Club: Discussion Questions for Persepolis

between the lines book club logoWelcome to Between the Lines Book Club! This month we will be discussing Persepolis in this space and in person at Arden Dimick Library on August 24, 2019 at 10:30AM. Please join us!

Here are the discussion questions for this book – they are from Buffalo Library and Random House Books.

The New York Times hails Persepolis as “the latest and one of the most delectable examples of a booming postmodern genre: autobiography by comic book.” Why did Satrapi chose this format in which to tell her story? What does the visual aspect add that a conventional memoir lacks? In what way does the presentation of this book (a story told in black & white pictures) add to the narrative of the story?

In an Associated Press interview, Satrapi said, “The only thing I hope is that people will read my book and see that this abstract thing, this Axis of Evil, is made up of individuals with lives and hopes.” And in her introduction to Persepolis, she explains that she wrote this book to show that Iran is not only a country of “fundamentalism, fanaticism, and terrorism.” How does Satrapi go about challenging this myth? 

Describe the writer’s voice. Is it appealing? Which aspects of Marji’s character do you identify with or like the most, the least? Did your reaction to the little girl affect your reading experience?

How did the revolution exert power and influence over so many people, including many educated and middle class people like Satrapi’s parents? Why did so many people leave after the revolution? Why do you think Marji’s parents send her off to Austria while they stay in Tehran? Why don’t they leave/escape as well?

“Every situation has an opportunity for laughs.” (p. 97) Give some examples of how the ordinary citizens of Iran enjoyed life despite the oppressive regime. What made you laugh? How does Satrapi add comic relief? How are these scenes relevant to the story as a whole?

What kinds of captivity and freedom does the author explore in Persepolis? What stifles or prevents people from being completely free? How do they circumvent and defy the rules imposed on them and attempt to live ordinary lives despite revolution and war? Give some examples of their small acts of rebellion.

“In spite of everything, kids were trying to look hip, even under risk of arrest.” (p. 112) How did they do this? What do you think you would have done had you been a child in this environment? What acts of rebellion did you do as a teen? In what ways is Satrapi just a normal kid?

What is the role of women in the story? Compare and contrast the various women: Marji, her mother, her grandmother, her school teachers, the maid, the neighbors, the guardians of the revolution.

Discuss the role and importance of religion in Persepolis. How does religion define certain characters in the book, and affect the way they interact with each other? Is the author making a social commentary on religion, and in particular on fundamentalism? What do you think Satrapi is saying about religion’s effect on the individual and society?

In what ways is Persepolis both telling a story and commenting on the importance of stories in our lives? What does the book suggest about how stories shape and give meaning to our experience? Discuss some of the stories in Persepolis—Uncle Anoosh’s story, her grandfather’s story, Niloufar’s story.

What is Satrapi suggesting about the relationship between past and present, and between national and personal history? What role does her family history, and the stories of her relatives, play in shaping Marji?

From the beginning, it is clear that Marjane has a unique relationship with her parents and grandmother. How do they influence her and her relationship with the changing Iranian society?

What changes do the new fundamentalist government make in Iran? Her family enjoys having parties and drinking–what precautions do they take, and why do they continue despite the danger of being found out? Why do people seek to keep their regular routines even in dangerous times?

Even when she is very young, Marjane is outspoken at all times. How does this help her and hurt her in the new Iran? What decision does it lead her parents to make?

Did reading this change your feelings about graphic novels? Would you ever read another one?


Between the Lines Book Club: Persepolis by Marjane Satrapi

between the lines book club logoThis month’s book club features Persepolis, by Marjane Satrapi. This graphic autobiography tells the story of Satrapi’s coming of age during the and after the Islamic Revolution in Iran. The book has won multiple awards and is considered a groundbreaking memoir. It is part of a wave of literary graphic novels and memoirs including Maus, by Art Spiegelman, Fun Home by Alison Bechdel, and Watchmen by Alan Moore.


We will be discussing Persepolis  in this space and in person at Arden Dimick Library on August 24, 2019 at 10:30AM. Please join us!