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Free Book Friday: Osama Van Halen by Michael Muhammad Knight

By JK Evanczuk on Friday, November 27, 2009 - Comments Off

Welcome to this week’s Free Book Friday, wherein we give you the best titles in indie publishing for the low low price of nothing. Congrats to last week’s winner Scott Kennedy for snagging a copy of Floodmarkers by Nic Brown.

Osama Van Halen by Michael Muhammad Knight

This week, we are giving away a copy of Osama Van Halen by Michael Muhammad Knight. Amazing Ayyub, an Iranian Shi’ite skinhead, and his sidekick Rabeya have hijacked Matt Damon, demanding that Hollywood depict Muslims in a positive light—”just one movie where we’re not these two-dimensional al Qaeda stereotypes.” But Damon’s concerned they’re playing into that same terrorist paradigm and furthering a neo-conservative perception of Islam. Meanwhile, Ayyub embarks on a mission to rid taqwacore of a Muslim pop-punk band, Shah 79. Along the way he makes himself invisible, escapes punk-eating zombies in a mosque off the desert highway, runs into some psychobilly jinns, and finds himself face to face with his creator, the author…a riotous journey of enlightenment. (But not all hilarious: At the end of the novel, Knight is decapitated by Rabeya.) You can read an excerpt of Osama Van Halen on the Soft Skull Press website.

This week’s Free Book Friday is sponsored by Soft Skull Press. Read more »

Hey, Young Writers. Yes, You. John Irving Is Worried About You.

By JK Evanczuk on Monday, November 9, 2009 - Comments Off

The good news is that John Irving doesn’t believe that the book is dead. On the other hand, in a recent interview for “Big Think”, he says that if he were a 27-year-old novelist trying to get his first book published today, he’d be tempted to shoot himself.

I think my favorite response to this interview so far is from the Fiction Circus’ Miracle Jones, who says:

“As a 27-year-old writer trying to get his first novel published, I’d much rather kill John Irving.”

Instead of my typical point-by-point rebuttal, I thought this time I’d respond to Irving’s sentiments with a list of contemporary writers under 27  (or who have recently been 27) who have been doing just fine. Read more »

More: Writing