tag:blogger.com,1999:blog-45486601719739704422016-08-08T19:44:29.336-07:00Yusuf Toropov, Wordsmith<b>Yusuf Toropov</b> :: American novelist, nonfiction writer, and playwright. My novel JIHADI: A LOVE STORY, about a US intelligence agent accused of terrorism, published by Orenda Books. I was born a Muslim, but only realized that in 2003. <b>A man will only have what he strives for.</b> 53:39 I am creating the possibility of harmonious acceptance in the Middle East, USA, and Europe via literature and a global conversation about coexistence. Twitter=@LiteraryStriverYusuf Toropov[email protected]Blogger530125tag:blogger.com,1999:blog-4548660171973970442.post-29900217306309828032016-08-08T03:26:00.002-07:002016-08-08T03:26:30.397-07:00Deep gratitude ... and a request (#NotTheBooker)Just want to say a big thank you to everyone who has helped spread the word about ‪‎JIHADI‬: A LOVE STORY making the Guardian's ‪#‎NotTheBooker‬ longlist.<br /><br />Because of the traffic, Amazon has lowered the price on the book. It's <a href="http://bit.ly/jihadi-email" target="_blank">now just 99p in the UK</a>. (Not sure how long that will last.) The book just cracked the top 100 in its category!<br /><br /><b><span style="font-size: large;">"The only alternative to coexistence is codestruction." -- Nehru</span></b><br /><br /><div class="separator" style="clear: both; text-align: center;"><a href="https://1.bp.blogspot.com/-DDk1V4OJFLU/V6heL6EnLGI/AAAAAAAANgI/1h3yzS_D4cAd3S_dEOwBtMujBNnqjzrOgCLcB/s1600/jih-james.JPG" imageanchor="1" style="margin-left: 1em; margin-right: 1em;"><img border="0" height="387" src="https://1.bp.blogspot.com/-DDk1V4OJFLU/V6heL6EnLGI/AAAAAAAANgI/1h3yzS_D4cAd3S_dEOwBtMujBNnqjzrOgCLcB/s400/jih-james.JPG" width="400" /></a></div><br /><br />This novel is part of an essential GLOBAL CONVERSATION ABOUT COEXISTENCE that is now gaining momentum. If you were moved by the book, if you feel that conversation is important, I hope you will help move it into the Guardian shortlist and (since voting ends very soon) <a href="https://www.theguardian.com/books/booksblog/2016/aug/02/not-the-booker-prize-very-longlist-2016-votes-please" target="_blank">click here and vote today</a>.<br /><br /><br />Yusuf Toropovhttps://plus.google.com/117279667638757878679[email protected]0tag:blogger.com,1999:blog-4548660171973970442.post-67729230776533114012016-08-04T02:39:00.005-07:002016-08-04T02:39:54.895-07:00What a Trump Rally Is (Video)<span style="background-color: white; color: #1d2129; font-family: helvetica, arial, sans-serif; font-size: 14px; line-height: 19.32px;">I&nbsp;</span><span style="background-color: white; color: #1d2129; font-family: helvetica, arial, sans-serif; font-size: 14px; line-height: 19.32px;">sincerely hope everyone (of age) reading this has the courage to watch this video. Not for the kids. Click on the image.</span><br /><br /><div class="separator" style="clear: both; text-align: center;"><a href="http://nyti.ms/2b2Vpbk" target="_blank"><img alt=" What a Trump Rally Is" border="0" height="239" src="https://1.bp.blogspot.com/-bZbpLYVypsA/V6MNMEhyJWI/AAAAAAAANfs/FaOi0CJYiaooMNLV2tmE_AOFXrrE5odIACLcB/s320/trump%2Brally2.JPG" width="320" /></a></div><br />Yusuf Toropovhttps://plus.google.com/117279667638757878679[email protected]0tag:blogger.com,1999:blog-4548660171973970442.post-1064027613362471212016-08-03T04:13:00.005-07:002016-08-03T04:13:56.551-07:00Salaams -- any #Muslim brothers blinded by the streams of BULLSHIT spewing from the ISIS media machine need to watch this videoAssalamu alaykum wa rahmatullahi wa barakatuhu.<br /><br />If you think it's Islam you're defending, or you think you will be rewarded in this life or the afterlife for defending it, I beg you to watch this interview with a man who saw it first hand and made it out. Superb reporting from the NEW YORK TIMES. Click on the image below, please.<br /><br /><div class="separator" style="clear: both; text-align: center;"><a href="http://nyti.ms/2az9cWc" target="_blank"><img alt=" Isis unmasked in amazing prison interview" border="0" height="289" src="https://4.bp.blogspot.com/-5E7ipS4xTaA/V6HRoL8aDYI/AAAAAAAANfY/Yq7ELtOfVfM-5Y-d7H7DiMlexjHEWiYYACLcB/s320/isisgradinprison.JPG" width="320" /></a></div><br />Yusuf Toropovhttps://plus.google.com/117279667638757878679[email protected]0tag:blogger.com,1999:blog-4548660171973970442.post-78029603260721203772016-08-02T07:27:00.002-07:002016-08-02T07:27:29.585-07:00JIHADI: A LOVE STORY and #NottheBookerPrize<div class="MsoNormal">JIHADI: A LOVE STORY, my debut novel, just made the longlist on the Guardian's NOT THE BOOKER PRIZE competition.&nbsp;</div><div class="MsoNormal"><br /></div><div class="MsoNormal">If you read the book and enjoyed it (like James, below) why not leave a review?&nbsp;</div><div class="MsoNormal"><br /></div><div class="separator" style="clear: both; text-align: center;"><a href="https://4.bp.blogspot.com/-Ulue7K5_VY4/V6CtVxEuLmI/AAAAAAAANfA/oQaBm3bzO-YVhvwaI26lVAvm0Q2WFFilgCLcB/s1600/jih-james.JPG" imageanchor="1" style="margin-left: 1em; margin-right: 1em;"><img border="0" height="310" src="https://4.bp.blogspot.com/-Ulue7K5_VY4/V6CtVxEuLmI/AAAAAAAANfA/oQaBm3bzO-YVhvwaI26lVAvm0Q2WFFilgCLcB/s320/jih-james.JPG" width="320" /></a></div><div class="MsoNormal"><br /></div><div class="MsoNormal"><br /></div><div class="MsoNormal">The rules to this Guardian contest are interesting. In order to vote, you need to review <i>two </i>books on the list from different publishers... and write two or three sentences on at least one of the books you pick, including the word "vote."&nbsp;</div><div class="MsoNormal"><br /></div><div class="MsoNormal">Feel like taking part?&nbsp;</div><div class="MsoNormal"><br /></div><div class="MsoNormal">If so ... <a href="https://www.theguardian.com/books/booksblog/2016/aug/02/not-the-booker-prize-very-longlist-2016-votes-please">click here.</a>&nbsp;<o:p></o:p></div>Yusuf Toropovhttps://plus.google.com/117279667638757878679[email protected]0tag:blogger.com,1999:blog-4548660171973970442.post-54348679678259156192016-08-01T02:04:00.005-07:002016-08-01T05:21:47.666-07:00Khizer Khan Nailed It -- Now Mainstream Journalists Need to Follow Up on Trump's Knowledge of the ConstitutionMr. Trump may or may not have a "black soul," as the Gold Star father of a fallen American soldier suggested in a recent interview, but the <a href="http://www.yusuftoropov.com/2016/01/why-i-will-continue-posting-this.html">Fascist/Republican nominee's</a> familiarity with the US Constitution is a valid and important question this election cycle. Journalists have a responsibility to pursue it.<br /><br />Mr. Khan electrified the Democratic National Convention with a powerful speech celebrating his son's memory and questioning Mr. Trump's qualifications to be Commander-In-Chief. In what has become the campaign's signature moment, he withdrew from his pocket a copy of the Constitution and offered to lend it to the reality TV star.<br /><br />Lots has happened since then. In predictable fashion, the Fascist/Republican nominee insulted the parents of the soldier who died in Iraq. As fascinating and important as that response of his was, it was a distraction. This man excels at distractions. I hope the (supposed) journalists in charge of the Clinton/Trump debate discussions will ask each of the candidates questions that directly explore their knowledge of the Constitution and its history. Do they, for instance, know what the "establishment clause" is? Do they know what the Seventeenth Amendment changed? Do they know what precedent the case of Marbury vs. Madison set?<br /><br />Mr. Trump's senior advisor Paul Manafort has a history of propping up dictators, including Ferdinand Marcos and Mobutu Sese Seko. It is fair to ask whether his boss is more familiar with their playbook ... or with ours. So ask, please.<br /><br /><div class="separator" style="clear: both; text-align: center;"><a href="https://3.bp.blogspot.com/-pUb4ebu_cnM/V58QkYRef_I/AAAAAAAANeo/1GGWSjh8PY8rpplWGb4SdD2jJTgaR4QKQCLcB/s1600/Screenshot%2B2016-08-01%2Bat%2B9.46.58%2BAM.png" imageanchor="1" style="margin-left: 1em; margin-right: 1em;"><img border="0" src="https://3.bp.blogspot.com/-pUb4ebu_cnM/V58QkYRef_I/AAAAAAAANeo/1GGWSjh8PY8rpplWGb4SdD2jJTgaR4QKQCLcB/s1600/Screenshot%2B2016-08-01%2Bat%2B9.46.58%2BAM.png" /></a></div><br /><br /><br />Yusuf Toropovhttps://plus.google.com/117279667638757878679[email protected]0tag:blogger.com,1999:blog-4548660171973970442.post-85867888160510694092016-07-07T04:18:00.001-07:002016-08-01T02:29:11.410-07:00DUBLIN SEVENCareful. The gifted Irish writer <a href="https://twitter.com/frankiegaffney">Frankie Gaffney</a>, no Islamophobe or conspiracy theorist he, happens to bear the name of a prominent, deeply paranoid right-wing activist in the USA -- <a href="https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Frank_Gaffney">Frank Gaffney</a>. The relevant Amazon searches can be instructive. Their lesson: People can and do surprise you, even when -- especially when -- you think you already know who they are.<br /><br />Gaffney's wonderfully erratic debut novel DUBLIN SEVEN carries a similar lesson about its protagonist Shane Laochra, an aspiring, doomed coke dealer. You may think, in the early going, that you already know all you will ever need to know about Shane. But the deeper you get into the novel, the more clear it becomes that both you and Shane have a lot to learn.<br /><br />No matter how tempted you may be to dismiss him as a blundering, self-absorbed lowlife -- and no matter how accurate those dismissals of yours may be -- you come away from the book unexpectedly glad you met Shane, as regretful of his many troubles as he is, and convinced that his big questions about life, death, and love are your big questions, too. It's a powerful, gruesome book, every bit as prone to excess as its hero. And from where I sit, it's essential.<br /><br />Shane gets in over his head, makes big mistakes, and annoys any number of powerful enemies in Celtic Tiger-phase Dublin. "The only prospect of security that he could imagine," Gaffney informs us, "was being feared." The book is amply supplied with scary, crazy stuff like that, and also with banter that consistently rings both funny and true. No small achievement.<br /><br />Gaffney's mastery of gritty local slang makes this compulsively readable novel specific to a certain time and place. Yet his great gift is for dialogue, and that gift fuels and universalizes this story. Hilarious, harrowing, and way, way over the top, the novel is a vibrant, loving portrait of an unforgettable adrenaline freak. There are bits I would have cut, but there you go. <i>Dublin Seven</i>&nbsp;goes too far, too fast at times, which I suppose is the point. In the end, it uses that wild ride to make you challenge your assumptions and ask better questions than you would have otherwise asked. It rewards close examination. It delivers some dangerous, highly intoxicating goods. And if Gaffney's superb debut manages to evoke another book about Dubliners from another century, well, that's just a pleasant bonus.<br /><br /><div class="separator" style="clear: both; text-align: center;"><a href="https://1.bp.blogspot.com/-zf4uGNpbSWk/V346V7BQOHI/AAAAAAAANdQ/uG8TzXD721cyqAgcoZTVbEbhnoLi46sVwCLcB/s1600/dublinseven.jpg" imageanchor="1" style="margin-left: 1em; margin-right: 1em;"><img border="0" src="https://1.bp.blogspot.com/-zf4uGNpbSWk/V346V7BQOHI/AAAAAAAANdQ/uG8TzXD721cyqAgcoZTVbEbhnoLi46sVwCLcB/s1600/dublinseven.jpg" /></a></div><br /><br /><br /><div><br /></div>Yusuf Toropovhttps://plus.google.com/117279667638757878679[email protected]0tag:blogger.com,1999:blog-4548660171973970442.post-67374189119932980672016-06-24T03:35:00.000-07:002016-06-24T03:35:05.551-07:00Ramadan: Surah Luqman<div class="separator" style="clear: both; text-align: center;"><a href="https://4.bp.blogspot.com/-WjtC_v9loJw/V20MQKglf2I/AAAAAAAANcY/OpqJWXT91MkaRLZKoCp-RSDBmhIqB0gCgCLcB/s1600/surahluqman.JPG" imageanchor="1" style="margin-left: 1em; margin-right: 1em;"><img border="0" height="320" src="https://4.bp.blogspot.com/-WjtC_v9loJw/V20MQKglf2I/AAAAAAAANcY/OpqJWXT91MkaRLZKoCp-RSDBmhIqB0gCgCLcB/s320/surahluqman.JPG" width="220" /></a></div><br />Yusuf Toropovhttps://plus.google.com/117279667638757878679[email protected]0tag:blogger.com,1999:blog-4548660171973970442.post-87891154247050016802016-06-23T01:14:00.001-07:002016-06-23T01:14:27.121-07:00Ramadan: FastingFasting gets easier as you go along, alhamdulillah!<br /><br /><div class="separator" style="clear: both; text-align: center;"><a href="https://1.bp.blogspot.com/-MJIWCZkv5tQ/V2uaUuo5Z2I/AAAAAAAANcA/D6Jm3j312EE_5pRB3OP1mPIXdBNcZZ8bgCLcB/s1600/ramadan%2Bfasting.JPG" imageanchor="1" style="margin-left: 1em; margin-right: 1em;"><img border="0" height="249" src="https://1.bp.blogspot.com/-MJIWCZkv5tQ/V2uaUuo5Z2I/AAAAAAAANcA/D6Jm3j312EE_5pRB3OP1mPIXdBNcZZ8bgCLcB/s320/ramadan%2Bfasting.JPG" width="320" /></a></div><br />Yusuf Toropovhttps://plus.google.com/117279667638757878679[email protected]0tag:blogger.com,1999:blog-4548660171973970442.post-61900416534572990272016-06-19T03:24:00.002-07:002016-06-19T03:24:20.869-07:00This Just In: William Shakespeare backs REMAIN in EU Referendum<div class="separator" style="clear: both; text-align: center;"><a href="https://3.bp.blogspot.com/-mRWSnVjav9M/UGHXN9ksYkI/AAAAAAAAM2M/gTTXAnPY0aUtgx0CAzt2UZ8vfCYOKaOyACKgB/s1600/shakespeare%2Bantithesis.jpeg" imageanchor="1" style="margin-left: 1em; margin-right: 1em;"><img border="0" height="320" src="https://3.bp.blogspot.com/-mRWSnVjav9M/UGHXN9ksYkI/AAAAAAAAM2M/gTTXAnPY0aUtgx0CAzt2UZ8vfCYOKaOyACKgB/s320/shakespeare%2Bantithesis.jpeg" width="320" /></a></div><br /><br />Bulletin from Stratford: The noted playwright and poet has joined Sadiq Khan, the Mayor of London, in calling for a REMAIN victory in the June 23rd vote. Via courier, Mr. Shakespeare forwarded a passage from SIR THOMAS MORE in defense of his position:<br /><br /><div class="separator" style="clear: both; text-align: center;"><a href="https://1.bp.blogspot.com/-zAJeXHYBn58/V2ZyTar4AVI/AAAAAAAANbg/SatFfUWUhV4NDxWqObGsCW7g_VYG3k1bwCLcB/s1600/Screenshot%2B2016-06-19%2Bat%2B11.06.24%2BAM.png" imageanchor="1" style="margin-left: 1em; margin-right: 1em;"><img border="0" height="315" src="https://1.bp.blogspot.com/-zAJeXHYBn58/V2ZyTar4AVI/AAAAAAAANbg/SatFfUWUhV4NDxWqObGsCW7g_VYG3k1bwCLcB/s320/Screenshot%2B2016-06-19%2Bat%2B11.06.24%2BAM.png" width="320" /></a></div><br /><br /><br />Yusuf Toropovhttps://plus.google.com/117279667638757878679[email protected]0tag:blogger.com,1999:blog-4548660171973970442.post-53255920053137139882016-06-16T03:24:00.004-07:002016-06-16T03:24:53.646-07:00Ramadan"Ramadan is the (month) in which the Quran was sent down, as a guide to mankind and a clear guidance and judgment." (Q 2:183)<br /><div><br /></div><div class="separator" style="clear: both; text-align: center;"><iframe width="320" height="266" class="YOUTUBE-iframe-video" data-thumbnail-src="https://i.ytimg.com/vi/M_qCaX6NeXw/0.jpg" src="https://www.youtube.com/embed/M_qCaX6NeXw?feature=player_embedded" frameborder="0" allowfullscreen></iframe></div><div><br /></div>Yusuf Toropovhttps://plus.google.com/117279667638757878679[email protected]0tag:blogger.com,1999:blog-4548660171973970442.post-51963676853055632112016-06-06T03:15:00.000-07:002016-06-07T02:31:04.177-07:00Ramadan and JIHADI: A LOVE STORYRamadan is here, a blessed month, the month in which the Holy Quran was revealed.<br /><br />For us Muslims, this is a month of sustained prayer, fasting, and reading the holy scripture. On this first day of fasting, I wanted to share something I have not shared before about an important event in the development of my novel <a href="http://bit.ly/jihadi-ebook">JIHADI: A LOVE STORY.</a><br /><br />Maybe three years ago -- don't ask me for the precise date -- I was working on the book, trying to figure out which verse of the Quran would make the most sense as the "touchstone" scripture for the central character, who begins the story as an Islamophobe and ends up embracing Islam. What verse would he stumble upon? Read and reread? Become curious about? Return to during times of trouble?<br /><br />I had been casting around for weeks for the right verse, the verse that would capture the essence of the story, and I had a long list of candidate verses. But none of them quite fit.<br /><br />Then one day, I walked into my study, and as I did, my iPhone, which was on my desk, started playing these verses from the Surah of the Sun:<br /><br /><div class="separator" style="clear: both; text-align: center;"><a href="https://4.bp.blogspot.com/-G6McyQ8KUBs/V1VLIqvNr4I/AAAAAAAANaI/2xyn6PHN21IysQe_SQ7m-f--egXa_MtkgCLcB/s1600/surahofthesun.JPG" imageanchor="1" style="margin-left: 1em; margin-right: 1em;"><img border="0" height="179" src="https://4.bp.blogspot.com/-G6McyQ8KUBs/V1VLIqvNr4I/AAAAAAAANaI/2xyn6PHN21IysQe_SQ7m-f--egXa_MtkgCLcB/s320/surahofthesun.JPG" width="320" /></a></div><div class="separator" style="clear: both; text-align: center;"><br /></div><div class="separator" style="clear: both; text-align: left;">(In Arabic, not in English.)</div><div class="separator" style="clear: both; text-align: left;"><br /></div><div class="separator" style="clear: both; text-align: left;">I did not know then, and I don't know now, what caused that particular surah to play from my playlist. I know I didn't touch the phone.</div><div class="separator" style="clear: both; text-align: left;"><br /></div><div class="separator" style="clear: both; text-align: left;">Later that day, the same thing happened, again, without me touching the phone.</div><div class="separator" style="clear: both; text-align: left;"><br /></div><div class="separator" style="clear: both; text-align: left;">It could have simply been a software hiccup. It could have been something else. I really have no idea. All I know is that it was perfect for the book. I wrote it in and gave thanks to Allah for it.</div><div class="separator" style="clear: both; text-align: left;"><br /></div><div class="separator" style="clear: both; text-align: left;">This didn't happen during Ramadan, but Ramadan seems an appropriate time for me to share it.</div><div class="separator" style="clear: both; text-align: left;"><br /></div><div class="separator" style="clear: both; text-align: left;">May Allah accept our prayers and fasting, may He magnify the best of our deeds and forgive the worst, and may the Quran He revealed to us in this blessed month guide us to the straight path.</div><div class="separator" style="clear: both; text-align: left;"><br /></div><div class="separator" style="clear: both; text-align: center;"><a href="https://4.bp.blogspot.com/-Mv8YKb9oC7w/V1VMjMuws0I/AAAAAAAANaU/qE1ef-QiqfsBangubw95UCvujbH3FPspgCLcB/s1600/jihadicoverwithquotes.jpg" imageanchor="1" style="margin-left: 1em; margin-right: 1em;"><img border="0" height="640" src="https://4.bp.blogspot.com/-Mv8YKb9oC7w/V1VMjMuws0I/AAAAAAAANaU/qE1ef-QiqfsBangubw95UCvujbH3FPspgCLcB/s640/jihadicoverwithquotes.jpg" width="416" /></a></div><div class="separator" style="clear: both; text-align: left;"><br /></div><div class="separator" style="clear: both; text-align: left;"><br /></div><br /><br /><br />Yusuf Toropovhttps://plus.google.com/117279667638757878679[email protected]0tag:blogger.com,1999:blog-4548660171973970442.post-20232035586250841922016-06-03T03:21:00.000-07:002016-06-03T09:50:38.022-07:00WOW. Superb one-sentence writing seminar for fiction writers from Brooks Landon[Skip all this stuff in small type if you want. On the other hand, if you'd like some background to what Landon shares below, this may be helpful. A "cumulative sentence" is <i>a sentence that adds modifying phrases to a main clause as it goes along and isn't afraid to unfold its meanings at length.</i> Good fiction doesn't rely solely on cumulative sentences -- short sentences are important, too -- but skipping cumulative sentences altogether leaves the reader with an empty husk of a book. The key is to vary sentence length. This relatively short sentence, for instance, helps you keep up. As does this one. The last sentence of this paragraph, by contrast, is much longer. Now, then. In the cumulative sentence reproduced in big bold type below, the main clause is labeled (1); the subordinate modifying phrases are labeled (2), (3), (4), and (5); and the subordinate modifying phrase that turns into a coordinate modifying phrase, due to a repeated structural element, is labeled (5).]<br /><div><br /></div><div>[This sentence from Landon is pure gold. I have read it dozens of times. It's a template for great writing.]<br /><div><br /></div><div>[Here we go. A one-sentence writing seminar for fiction writers.]<br /><br /><span style="font-size: large;"><b>(1) Cumulative sentences can take any number of forms, (2) detailing both frozen or static scenes and moving processes, (2) their insistent rhythm always asking for another modifying phrase, (3) allowing us to achieve ever-greater degrees of specificity and precision, (4) a process of focusing the sentence in much the same way a movie camera can focus and refocus on a scene, (5) zooming in for a close-up to reveal almost microscopic detail, (5) panning back to offer a wide-angle panorama, (5) offering new angles or perspectives from which to examine a scene or consider data.&nbsp;</b></span><br /><span style="font-size: large;"><b><br /></b></span><span style="font-size: large;"><b>-- Brooks Landon, BUILDING GREAT SENTENCES</b></span><br /><div><br /></div></div></div><div class="separator" style="clear: both; text-align: center;"><a href="https://3.bp.blogspot.com/-HRYkFsieVvA/V1FZYbDZOaI/AAAAAAAANZY/dqIHQvxEXuo-UVp9rWcmd9zw2-byuRA1QCLcB/s1600/Screenshot%2B2016-06-03%2Bat%2B11.17.10%2BAM.png" imageanchor="1" style="margin-left: 1em; margin-right: 1em;"><img border="0" src="https://3.bp.blogspot.com/-HRYkFsieVvA/V1FZYbDZOaI/AAAAAAAANZY/dqIHQvxEXuo-UVp9rWcmd9zw2-byuRA1QCLcB/s1600/Screenshot%2B2016-06-03%2Bat%2B11.17.10%2BAM.png" /></a></div><div><span style="font-size: large;"><b><br /></b></span></div>Yusuf Toropovhttps://plus.google.com/117279667638757878679[email protected]0tag:blogger.com,1999:blog-4548660171973970442.post-23360974756024649022016-06-01T02:33:00.001-07:002016-06-07T02:40:26.111-07:00Fiction Writers: Seven Reasons to Hit a Daily Word Count of 1000, Six Days Out of Seven, No Matter What<br /><br /><br /><b>1. Stephen King says you should, </b>and there's a pretty good chance he knows what he's talking about. He doesn't give anybody a day off, though. I found the day off necessary. So I gave it to myself.<br /><br /><b>2. You will actually <i>be</i> a writer. </b>When you ask yourself what it is that you do here on earth, what your job is, you can answer with that one word, "writer," and be sure you are telling yourself the truth. You're not trying to write. You're not hoping to get around to writing when the inspiration hits you. You're not thinking about writing. You're a writer. A writer writes, whether or not the writer "feels like it" at the moment. An unwriter doesn't write. Waiting until we feel like it is a game we play. Writer's block is a game that we play.<br /><br /><b>3. You can set the rules up however you want. </b>I make the rules very lenient. Things like blog posts can count if I want them to. Terrible first drafts I would never show anyone, even under torture, can count if I want them to. &nbsp;Backstory scenes I know will never make the book can count if I want them to. My own rules are: The main draft of the novel has to move forward in a way that adds to its word count; the same text can count for the next day if I edit it heavily enough, and yes, I am the one who decides what "heavily enough" means; blog posts count because they sometimes inform the content of the novel, but they can't be the only thing I write that day.<br /><b><br /></b><b>4. You will establish a personal routine of writing six days out of seven, which will bring shape and purpose to your life.</b> Whatever else is happening, whatever is going well or poorly, the writing is happening. That will be good for you and good for those with whom you interact.<br /><b><br /></b><b>5. You will learn to edit your own material, or get better at it if you are already doing that. </b>By generating a lot of text, more than you could use for your story, you will get personal experience with deleting things that don't work.<br /><br /><b>6. You will create more clarity on your own personal issues. </b>It doesn't sound like that's what you're out to achieve here, but it happens, whether you mean it to or not, and once it begins happening regularly, you will begin to wonder why everyone doesn't write a thousand words a day. We've all got problems. If you write a lot, you will eventually get a more profound understanding of what your problems really are, and begin to develop an understanding of what the best ways to deal with them are -- and aren't.<br /><b><br /></b><b>7. You will stumble upon magnificent ideas. </b>Often, they will come in the space between words 900 and 1000. Don't ask me why. They just do. I think they must have a sense of humor.<br /><br />You may find <a href="http://wordcounter.net/">this link</a> helpful.<br /><br /><div class="separator" style="clear: both; text-align: center;"><a href="https://4.bp.blogspot.com/-DfPzT3UvJgA/V06rbmXAFoI/AAAAAAAANYk/ImWdFc5twEYWMURIZHyVqkvRRrMlvQIRACLcB/s1600/Inspiration-Is-For-Amateurs.png" imageanchor="1" style="margin-left: 1em; margin-right: 1em;"><img border="0" height="240" src="https://4.bp.blogspot.com/-DfPzT3UvJgA/V06rbmXAFoI/AAAAAAAANYk/ImWdFc5twEYWMURIZHyVqkvRRrMlvQIRACLcB/s320/Inspiration-Is-For-Amateurs.png" width="320" /></a></div><div class="separator" style="clear: both; text-align: center;"><br /></div><div class="separator" style="clear: both; text-align: center;"><a href="https://4.bp.blogspot.com/-StBsvxsGmAo/V06rv1snfpI/AAAAAAAANYo/uLej6IY1gKUS0icI7Wi15TqAtK9U6AulACLcB/s1600/doitnow.jpg" imageanchor="1" style="margin-left: 1em; margin-right: 1em;"><img border="0" height="320" src="https://4.bp.blogspot.com/-StBsvxsGmAo/V06rv1snfpI/AAAAAAAANYo/uLej6IY1gKUS0icI7Wi15TqAtK9U6AulACLcB/s320/doitnow.jpg" width="320" /></a></div><div class="separator" style="clear: both; text-align: center;"><br /></div><br /><br /><br /><br /><br /><br />Yusuf Toropovhttps://plus.google.com/117279667638757878679[email protected]0tag:blogger.com,1999:blog-4548660171973970442.post-70771305802109125492016-05-25T08:24:00.000-07:002016-05-25T08:26:37.991-07:00Hey (supposed) journalists covering Trump -- that persistent rumbling at your feet is Edward R. Murrow spinning in his grave"Some people like Joe McCarthy, some people hate him, but one thing's for certain -- nobody can ignore him. And you have to admit, the guy is a heck of a salesman."<br /><br />Replace the name "Joe McCarthy" with "Donald Trump" and you have the default lead for about 70% of the current coverage of the <a href="http://www.yusuftoropov.com/2016/01/why-i-will-continue-posting-this.html">Fascist candidate for president.</a> You know who you are. That's the lead you are working with. And I hope you die a painful natural death for settling for it.<br /><br />At the end of the day, though, Trump is not the problem.<br /><br />You are.<br /><br />You people should be ashamed to call yourself journalists. But you aren't. And you're not going to be anytime soon. But just in case you have any residual shreds of dignity or conscience, here is how real journalism works.<br /><br /><div class="separator" style="clear: both; text-align: center;"><iframe allowfullscreen="" class="YOUTUBE-iframe-video" data-thumbnail-src="https://i.ytimg.com/vi/vEvEmkMNYHY/0.jpg" frameborder="0" height="266" src="https://www.youtube.com/embed/vEvEmkMNYHY?feature=player_embedded" width="320"></iframe></div><br /><br /><br />Yusuf Toropovhttps://plus.google.com/117279667638757878679[email protected]0tag:blogger.com,1999:blog-4548660171973970442.post-30339660615201749892016-05-18T06:02:00.001-07:002016-05-18T07:50:51.335-07:00THE ROADCormac McCarthy's masterpiece unsettled, terrified, and inspired me.<br /><br />I won't try to summarize it here -- any plot summary of this book won't do it justice -- but I will tell you that THE ROAD is among the most engrossing, powerful, and technically perfect novels I've ever read. Echoes of Beckett and bleak-phase Shakespeare were hard for me to ignore, and while Godot and Lear certainly informed this universe, I finished the book with a firm but cautious sense of hope in the Divine that felt foreign to, yet somehow relevant to, those two source texts.<br /><br />A remarkable achievement, but much of the world already knew that. Why should I throw more superlatives at you? What would that accomplish? I wept. That's enough to say.<br /><br />A second "How did he do that?" reading is on the horizon for me before too long. Having said that, I should note that one pass through this harrowing work may well be enough for easily shaken readers. It is not an easy book, but then the best ones never are.<br /><br />If you are ready for a dark but important journey, track this one down and give it a few moments of undivided attention. I started it on that basis, wondering if the opening would live up to the stellar reviews. It did. From there, the book simply refused to unhand me -- it is a case study in literary magnetism. Once it finally released me, I found to my surprise that it had left me kindling an utterly illogical but nevertheless steady flame of optimism. Optimism for humanity. Optimism for the transformative power of fiction. Optimism for finding a way forward.<br /><br /><div class="separator" style="clear: both; text-align: center;"><a href="https://4.bp.blogspot.com/-XDZqggZiEP8/VzxmrdtQ-gI/AAAAAAAANXg/pmuD8GnIqxEczy5YQwjG-An5KK6eyMgnACLcB/s1600/TheRoad.JPG" imageanchor="1" style="margin-left: 1em; margin-right: 1em;"><img border="0" height="320" src="https://4.bp.blogspot.com/-XDZqggZiEP8/VzxmrdtQ-gI/AAAAAAAANXg/pmuD8GnIqxEczy5YQwjG-An5KK6eyMgnACLcB/s320/TheRoad.JPG" width="207" /></a></div>Yusuf Toropovhttps://plus.google.com/117279667638757878679[email protected]0tag:blogger.com,1999:blog-4548660171973970442.post-79045434788049509202016-04-27T03:14:00.001-07:002016-04-27T03:14:04.454-07:00Newcastle Noir: Is a thriller "literature"?I'll be tackling this topic in Newcastle on the 30th of April during a <a href="http://newcastlenoir.blogspot.ie/p/blog-page_20.html" target="_blank">panel discussion that starts at 5:30.&nbsp;</a><br /><br />As I see it, a thriller is a story that matches a resourceful human protagonist, often cut off from his or her support network, against one or more better-equipped villains who are out to destroy the protagonist, his or her nation, and/or world stability.<br /><div><br /></div>Here's a preview of my position, via <a href="http://wwwshotsmagcouk.blogspot.ie/2016/03/are-thrillers-literature-yusuf-toropov.html" target="_blank">Shots Magazine.</a>&nbsp;In the meantime, let me state my firm belief that, under this definition, LES MISERABLES is a thriller.<br /><br /><br /><div class="separator" style="clear: both; text-align: center;"><a href="https://3.bp.blogspot.com/-ESD0OFa2HEo/VyCQamh6kHI/AAAAAAAANWM/d1CeFzEp398l6DekJuNJ3VMTPkDnCZ8LQCLcB/s1600/Victor_Hugo_by_%25C3%2589tienne_Carjat_1876.jpg" imageanchor="1" style="margin-left: 1em; margin-right: 1em;"><img border="0" height="320" src="https://3.bp.blogspot.com/-ESD0OFa2HEo/VyCQamh6kHI/AAAAAAAANWM/d1CeFzEp398l6DekJuNJ3VMTPkDnCZ8LQCLcB/s320/Victor_Hugo_by_%25C3%2589tienne_Carjat_1876.jpg" width="244" /></a></div><br /><br />Hope to see you in Newcastle!<br /><br /><br /><br /><br /><br /><br />Yusuf Toropovhttps://plus.google.com/117279667638757878679[email protected]0tag:blogger.com,1999:blog-4548660171973970442.post-2003958889973156992016-04-23T08:43:00.001-07:002016-05-18T06:47:47.546-07:00Eleven Words William Shakespeare DID NOT Invent, as We Celebrate (Wait, That Really Feels Like the Wrong Verb) His Death 400 Years Ago1. Creepy<br /><br />2. Inappropriate<br /><br />3. Creepilyinappropriate<br /><br />4. Morbidandthensome<br /><br />5. Morethanslightlycreepilyinappropriateandmorbid<br /><br />6. LiterarygraverobberishinacravencommercialwaydoyouknowwhatImean<br /><br />7. Imeanreallywhydowehavetomakeabigdealoutofspansoftimethatendinzeroanyway<br /><br />8. Arewesolackinginthingstocelebratethatwehavetostartcelebratingpeopledyingevenbrilliantpeople<br /><br />9.Seriouslywhenwasthelasttimeyouhadapartyofanykindtocommemoratethedateonwhichsomeonedied<br /><br />10.Isn'tthatsomethingyouwouldsaveforawriteryoureallydidn'tlikeatallorevenapersonalenemywhohadtriedreallyhardtokillyouorsomethingandeventhenwouldntyoustopandwonderwhetheryouhadgonejustalittletoofar?<br /><br />11.ManIhopewhenI'mgonepeopledon'twritenewspaperstoriestomarkthedayIkickedthebucketandstarttryingtocreateaglobalhappeningaroundmebeingsomekindofcorpsethatcanbesafelymarketeddoyouknowwhatImsayingifyoucantjustreadtheworkforitsownsakemaybejustleavealoneman<br /><br /><div class="separator" style="clear: both; text-align: center;"><a href="https://2.bp.blogspot.com/-KQUf-R-NZh8/VxuXwlAYS_I/AAAAAAAANVs/WiRasnVGzcYw0-sejhCFaIcX36fpNXrSQCLcB/s1600/shakespeare.jpg" imageanchor="1" style="margin-left: 1em; margin-right: 1em;"><img border="0" src="https://2.bp.blogspot.com/-KQUf-R-NZh8/VxuXwlAYS_I/AAAAAAAANVs/WiRasnVGzcYw0-sejhCFaIcX36fpNXrSQCLcB/s1600/shakespeare.jpg" /></a></div><br /><br /><br /><br /><br />Yusuf Toropovhttps://plus.google.com/117279667638757878679[email protected]0tag:blogger.com,1999:blog-4548660171973970442.post-69138279082130007982016-04-21T07:02:00.000-07:002016-04-21T07:02:39.534-07:00SomaliaJust as they do in in Syria, catastrophic ecological shifts underpin the long-running political trauma in Somalia.<br /><br />Westerners may be used to filing news from Somalia under such headings as "failed state" and "religious conflict," but these simplistic tags don't come close to telling the whole story, and they certainly don't give us the information that is most relevant to Somalis at the moment: The country is on the brink of yet another major famine. The last one, in 2011, took the lives of a quarter of a million people.<br /><br /><div class="separator" style="clear: both; text-align: center;"><a href="https://1.bp.blogspot.com/-5a0JRSInOhM/VxikU3JI0DI/AAAAAAAANVQ/JpmAWYkGCSonk07LKTCoPfuQfMr5m1FcgCLcB/s1600/038538-somalia-famine.jpg" imageanchor="1" style="margin-left: 1em; margin-right: 1em;"><img border="0" height="180" src="https://1.bp.blogspot.com/-5a0JRSInOhM/VxikU3JI0DI/AAAAAAAANVQ/JpmAWYkGCSonk07LKTCoPfuQfMr5m1FcgCLcB/s320/038538-somalia-famine.jpg" width="320" /></a></div><br /><br />Facing a surrealistic combination of severe drought in the north and relentless rains in the Middle Shabelle Region that brought flooding and crop failures, Somalia is in trouble again. The country faces a daunting humanitarian crisis, barely four years after the establishment of its first convincing attempt at a centralized government since the early Nineties.<br /><br />Those of us who live (and eat) far away from places like Somalia tend to talk with intensity about how much we dislike religious extremism. Yet we often pass by opportunities to support the people who are most vulnerable to the cycle of poverty and desperation where it thrives. Somalia is a prime example. Having only recently yielded its #1 ranking on the UN's Fragile States Index to South Sudan, Somalia is in a vulnerable position. It is headed in the right direction … but it needs more help than it's getting.<br /><br />The group Concern Worldwide is doing great work in Somalia, targeting specific communities in need and ensuring that 88%+ of its budget is devoted to relief and development. If we can afford to give them even a little cash, in the hopes of keeping hope alive in Somalia, I think we should.<br /><br />We can do so by <a href="https://www.concern.net/where-we-work/africa/somalia" target="_blank">clicking here.</a><br /><br />https://www.concern.net/where-we-work/africa/somalia<br /><br /><br />Yusuf Toropovhttps://plus.google.com/117279667638757878679[email protected]0tag:blogger.com,1999:blog-4548660171973970442.post-75642884640812688912016-04-21T02:16:00.001-07:002016-04-24T03:22:44.504-07:00Cause in the matter<b><span style="font-size: x-large;">“<span style="color: yellow;">To take a stand that you are cause in the matter</span></span><span style="color: yellow;"> </span>contrasts with it being your fault, or that you failed, or that you are to blame, or even that you did it. That you are the cause of everything in your life is a place to stand from which to view and deal with life – a place that exists solely as a matter of your choice. The stand that one is cause in the matter is a declaration, not an assertion of fact. It simply <span style="color: yellow; font-size: x-large;">says</span>, 'you can count on me (and I can count on you) to look at and deal with life from the perspective of my being cause in the matter.' When you have taken the stand (declared) that you are cause in the matter of your life it means that you give up the right to assign cause to the circumstances, or to others. That is, <span style="color: yellow; font-size: x-large;">you give up the right to be a victim.</span> You also give up the right to assign cause to the waxing and waning of your state of mind – all of which, while undoubtedly soothing, leave you helpless (at the effect of). At the same time, taking this stand does not prevent you from holding others responsible.” --Werner Erhard</b><br /><br /><div class="separator" style="clear: both; text-align: center;"><a href="https://3.bp.blogspot.com/-DOvlbMqRG5k/VxiYguiwYyI/AAAAAAAANVE/0H4kf-cHSHA2ezDH2rSv5DWYCDYCuaVEACKgB/s1600/erhard.jpg" imageanchor="1" style="margin-left: 1em; margin-right: 1em;"><img border="0" src="https://3.bp.blogspot.com/-DOvlbMqRG5k/VxiYguiwYyI/AAAAAAAANVE/0H4kf-cHSHA2ezDH2rSv5DWYCDYCuaVEACKgB/s1600/erhard.jpg" /></a></div><br /><br />(Footnote from YT -- the FINANCIAL TIMES just ran the<a href="http://www.ft.com/intl/cms/s/2/feb214a8-8f88-11e1-98b1-00144feab49a.html" target="_blank"> first interview with Werner</a> in I don't know how many years, and it was a disappointment: a rehash of decades-old backbiting nonsense, a hack job, &nbsp;a real lost opportunity. I'm posting the material above because the FINANCIAL TIMES piece made me angry. Which took me out of being cause in the matter. I made everything the writer's fault, thinking to myself that she had a chance to share insights from one of the really great thinkers of our time, and she blew it by circulating old news and old rumors and it was all her issue and she was X, Y, and Z ... and then I came across this quote and concluded that if I wanted the insights from Werner's world that had made a difference to me out in the world, I could damn well share them, and so here is one of them. These words are, for me, a light in the dark.)<br /><br />Yusuf Toropovhttps://plus.google.com/117279667638757878679[email protected]0tag:blogger.com,1999:blog-4548660171973970442.post-22064495428240133032016-04-12T02:29:00.004-07:002016-04-12T02:32:50.558-07:00JIHADI: A LOVE STORY hits #1 on IPG's Goodreads "Not-To-Miss" ListThe US launch of my debut novel from Orenda Books approaches, and the excitement is mounting.<br /><br />Orenda's American distributor, Independent Publishers Group, keeps an interactive list on Goodreads where users can vote on hot new releases to watch. As of this morning, JIHADI: A LOVE STORY is number one on that list!<br /><br /><div class="separator" style="clear: both; text-align: center;"><a href="https://1.bp.blogspot.com/-IuvYriw8eDY/Vwy-bCUVDjI/AAAAAAAANQ8/1T7LTCw26hEfuEryZkuWEv6ftfBnJqQ7gCLcB/s1600/jih-ipg.JPG" imageanchor="1" style="margin-left: 1em; margin-right: 1em;"><img border="0" height="341" src="https://1.bp.blogspot.com/-IuvYriw8eDY/Vwy-bCUVDjI/AAAAAAAANQ8/1T7LTCw26hEfuEryZkuWEv6ftfBnJqQ7gCLcB/s400/jih-ipg.JPG" width="400" /></a></div><div class="separator" style="clear: both; text-align: center;"><br /></div><div class="separator" style="clear: both; text-align: left;">So grateful to the readers who voted and wrote reviews that rated this book so highly. The support has truly been extraordinary. Thank you!</div><div class="separator" style="clear: both; text-align: left;"><br /></div><div class="separator" style="clear: both; text-align: left;"><b>To order JIHADI: A LOVE STORY, <a href="http://bit.ly/jihadi-ebook" target="_blank">click here</a>.</b></div><div class="separator" style="clear: both; text-align: left;"><b><br /></b></div><div class="separator" style="clear: both; text-align: left;"><b>To see (and vote on) the current IPG "Not-To-Miss" list on Goodreads, <a href="https://www.goodreads.com/list/show/96443.IPG_s_Spring_2016_Not_To_Miss_List#27220220" target="_blank">click here</a>.</b></div><div class="separator" style="clear: both; text-align: left;"><b><br /></b></div><div class="separator" style="clear: both; text-align: left;"><b>To review JIHADI: A LOVE STORY on Goodreads, <a href="https://www.goodreads.com/book/show/27220220-jihadi" target="_blank">click here</a>.</b></div><div class="separator" style="clear: both; text-align: left;"><br /></div><div class="separator" style="clear: both; text-align: left;"><br /></div><div class="separator" style="clear: both; text-align: left;"><br /></div><div class="separator" style="clear: both; text-align: left;"><br /></div><br />Yusuf Toropovhttps://plus.google.com/117279667638757878679[email protected]0tag:blogger.com,1999:blog-4548660171973970442.post-88890026666840329122016-04-09T05:25:00.001-07:002016-04-09T05:25:15.395-07:00An excerpt from JIHADI: A LOVE STORY, courtesy of Espresso Coco and Orenda Books<b>For Chapter Two of the novel, &nbsp;<a href="https://espressococo.files.wordpress.com/2016/03/jihadi-ch2.pdf" target="_blank">click here.</a></b><br /><br /><div class="separator" style="clear: both; text-align: center;"><a href="https://espressococo.files.wordpress.com/2016/03/jihadi-ch2.pdf" target="_blank"><img border="0" height="310" src="https://2.bp.blogspot.com/-Dn7Ob2J1Jk0/Vwjwaq--ssI/AAAAAAAANQg/IGJEjSZuj_EHordfKuGg9vvub77jErBrQ/s320/jih-james.JPG" width="320" /></a></div><br /><div><br /></div>Yusuf Toropovhttps://plus.google.com/117279667638757878679[email protected]0tag:blogger.com,1999:blog-4548660171973970442.post-2530465715854970532016-04-09T05:18:00.004-07:002016-04-09T07:24:27.347-07:00The Work In Progress<div class="separator" style="clear: both; text-align: center;"><a href="https://3.bp.blogspot.com/-kYS5UO1RwPk/VwjtldxxqJI/AAAAAAAANQU/7nPUQocloyIt-ZedlLP3NCAKPh2YdSOiA/s1600/bogart%2Bcar%2Bcrash.gif" imageanchor="1" style="margin-left: 1em; margin-right: 1em;"><img border="0" height="240" src="https://3.bp.blogspot.com/-kYS5UO1RwPk/VwjtldxxqJI/AAAAAAAANQU/7nPUQocloyIt-ZedlLP3NCAKPh2YdSOiA/s320/bogart%2Bcar%2Bcrash.gif" width="320" /></a></div><br /><br />It took me a while to figure out what the hell it was about. Now that I've got a handle on the opening, it's like there's a member of the family waiting to ask me how the day went every time I open up the laptop. That's a very good feeling, to know that your story is waiting for you.<br /><br />I am not a big believer -- anymore -- in broadcasting everything that's going on with a book I'm working on. I'm a little more wary. Anyone familiar with this blog knows that I shared a lot -- probably too much -- about <a href="http://www.amazon.co.uk/Jihadi-Love-Story-Yusuf-Toropov/dp/1910633313/ref=sr_1_1?ie=UTF8&amp;qid=1460201185&amp;sr=8-1&amp;keywords=jihadi+a+love+story#customerReviews" target="_blank">JIHADI: A LOVE STORY </a>while it was in gestation. You probably noticed that I went back and took all those old ultrasound photos off the site. With this one, I'm waiting until the baby is actually born to pass around the photos.<br /><br />A novel is not like a baby in this respect, though: one has no idea what the gestation period is.<br /><br />My thinking is that if I follow the thousand-word-a-day, six-days-a-week program I've set up for myself, and keep saying good morning to the thing inside me, keep taking my prenatal vitamins, I should be able to wrap a first draft up within nine months. Who knows. The kid may have other ideas, but I work best with a goal. The whole reason I'm writing this is to remind myself and the world that <b>the goal for the completed first draft is January 15, 2017. </b>We'll see whether the baby cooperates.<br /><br />Here are the six things I am now willing to tell anyone about the WIP:<br /><br /><i>1) It uses third-person omniscient.</i> I was all over the place on this for months. I tried third person limited, first person, and even second person. I finally landed in Victor Hugo territory, and that's what felt indisputable and right.<br /><i><br /></i><i>2) It opens with a description of a car crash. </i>Careful. Seat belts on, please.<br /><br /><i>3) It appears to be set mostly in Massachusetts. </i>Not Salem, though, where much of JIHADI unfolded.<br /><br /><i>4) The main action of the story takes place in 2008. </i>The financial collapse looms.<br /><br /><i>5) It describes events that occur before the action in what now looks to be my third novel, FREED. </i>Who knows when FREED will be finished. Its 70,000-plus words will need to wait for this to wrap &nbsp;up, I've decided.<br /><br /><i>6) Islam still figures prominently. </i>The common thread.<br /><br />Right now there are about 3,000 words in the WIP that I feel good about. Fortunately, they come right at the beginning of the book, so I have a platform on which to work. In addition, I have some 60,000 epic, disorganized words in two draft files that I've generated for this second novel, some of which will be used and some of which won't. That's either inspiring or a little embarrassing. I'm an optimist, so I'm going for inspiring.<br /><br />That is all the in utero news that's fit to print.<br /><br /><div style="text-align: center;">**</div><div style="text-align: center;"><b><br /></b></div><div style="text-align: center;"><b>NOW ABOUT MY FIRSTBORN NOVEL ...</b></div><div style="text-align: center;"><b><br /></b></div><b>To read reviews of JIHADI: A LOVE STORY, <a href="http://www.yusuftoropov.com/2016/01/jihadi-love-story-superb-debut.html" target="_blank">click here.</a></b><br /><b><a href="http://www.yusuftoropov.com/2016/01/jihadi-love-story-superb-debut.html" target="_blank"><br /></a></b><b>For a summary of the blog tour for JIHADI: A LOVE STORY, <a href="http://www.yusuftoropov.com/2016/02/the-jihadi-love-story-blog-tour-starts.html" target="_blank">click here</a>.</b><br /><b><br /></b><b>For an excerpt of the novel, courtesy of Orenda Books and Espresso Coco,&nbsp;<a href="https://espressococo.files.wordpress.com/2016/03/jihadi-ch2.pdf" target="_blank">click here.</a></b><br /><b><br /></b><b>To meet with me in London on May 4 during Truth In Fiction, <a href="http://www.yusuftoropov.com/2016/03/im-panelist-at-truth-in-fiction-event.html" target="_blank">click here.</a></b><br /><a href="http://www.yusuftoropov.com/2016/03/im-panelist-at-truth-in-fiction-event.html" target="_blank"><br /></a><a href="http://www.yusuftoropov.com/2016/03/im-panelist-at-truth-in-fiction-event.html" target="_blank"><br /></a><a href="http://www.yusuftoropov.com/2016/03/im-panelist-at-truth-in-fiction-event.html" target="_blank"><br /></a><a href="http://www.yusuftoropov.com/2016/03/im-panelist-at-truth-in-fiction-event.html" target="_blank"><br /></a><a href="http://www.yusuftoropov.com/2016/03/im-panelist-at-truth-in-fiction-event.html" target="_blank"><br /></a><a href="http://www.yusuftoropov.com/2016/03/im-panelist-at-truth-in-fiction-event.html" target="_blank"><br /></a><a href="http://www.yusuftoropov.com/2016/03/im-panelist-at-truth-in-fiction-event.html" target="_blank"><br /></a><a href="http://www.yusuftoropov.com/2016/03/im-panelist-at-truth-in-fiction-event.html" target="_blank"><br /></a><a href="http://www.yusuftoropov.com/2016/03/im-panelist-at-truth-in-fiction-event.html" target="_blank"><br /></a><br /><br />Yusuf Toropovhttps://plus.google.com/117279667638757878679[email protected]0tag:blogger.com,1999:blog-4548660171973970442.post-41589672693016561702016-03-21T11:00:00.000-07:002016-03-21T11:12:10.782-07:00I'm a panelist at the TRUTH IN FICTION event on May 4 in London -- be there!Really looking forward to this. <b>Edward F. Wilson </b>and <b>Paul Hardisty </b>will also be on the panel, inshaAllah, chaired by <b>Sunny Singh.</b> Sponsored by The Authors' Club.<br /><br /><b>Event Description: The very best fiction opens our eyes to the world around us, challenges preconceived ideas and highlights issues in society and often across history. Join us for a thought-provoking, fascinating and exciting evening of readings and discussions about truth in fiction, and about novels that leave us wondering how much is fact and how much is fiction.... The evening will weave together readings and fascinating insights and offer the opportunity to question these exceptional authors.</b><br /><b><br /></b><b><a href="https://www.eventbrite.co.uk/e/truth-in-fiction-tickets-22800328396">Click here to book your seat!</a></b><br /><br /><div class="separator" style="clear: both; text-align: center;"><a href="https://4.bp.blogspot.com/-uAhA7x-aADM/VvA2j5lXWjI/AAAAAAAANOI/6sX4CRb0lJsAXJ_0yoiiYxNU-d9ZQZtvA/s1600/TruthInFiction.JPG" imageanchor="1" style="margin-left: 1em; margin-right: 1em;"><img border="0" height="380" src="https://4.bp.blogspot.com/-uAhA7x-aADM/VvA2j5lXWjI/AAAAAAAANOI/6sX4CRb0lJsAXJ_0yoiiYxNU-d9ZQZtvA/s640/TruthInFiction.JPG" width="640" /></a></div><br /><br /><br />Yusuf Toropovhttps://plus.google.com/117279667638757878679[email protected]0tag:blogger.com,1999:blog-4548660171973970442.post-91724721513146406792016-03-17T04:34:00.001-07:002016-03-17T09:25:16.430-07:00 Mr. Yeats and Mr. TrumpSo here we go.<br /><br />If this turns into a brokered GOP convention, I am hoping there is some Irish TV station with the instinct and the courage to broadcast it live. I don't care what time it is on over here. I'm staying up to watch it. I'm a political science geek, and if the Republican Party is going to have a nervous breakdown on national television, I want to watch while it takes place.<br /><br />No American major-party convention has been gaveled to order with the nomination unsettled since 1948. Heavy hitters in the Republican party are now working very hard, and investing major resources, to make sure that happens. Should be fascinating. Pass the popcorn.<br /><br />Below, one hypothetical set of pathways to (my) dream convention in Cleveland. All of them assume that my prayers are answered, and the Fascist candidate's boat loses some steam between now and what promises to be an epic California primary:<br /><br /><div class="separator" style="clear: both; text-align: center;"><a href="https://4.bp.blogspot.com/--kJaqdHx_wQ/VuqQttNTclI/AAAAAAAANLc/9lNh8WaD_nQRgMNhu6U7ZFw_y9pfLw-cg/s1600/trump%2Bcruz%2Bkasich%2Bdelegates.JPG" imageanchor="1" style="margin-left: 1em; margin-right: 1em;"><img border="0" height="165" src="https://4.bp.blogspot.com/--kJaqdHx_wQ/VuqQttNTclI/AAAAAAAANLc/9lNh8WaD_nQRgMNhu6U7ZFw_y9pfLw-cg/s400/trump%2Bcruz%2Bkasich%2Bdelegates.JPG" width="400" /></a></div><br />Something that has gone largely unreported, as far as I can tell anyway, is the massive impact California's Republican voters will have on the outcome of this race. As a native Californian, I can tell you that there are decades of resentment about the state's late placement in the primary season, and the unfairness of the country's most populous state having the least-heard voice in the selection of presidential nominees. That changes this year, with the state's primary shaping up as an Armageddon-like battle for the soul of the party. One can only pray that the last moderate standing, John Kasich of Ohio, emerges as a sane alternative to the two demonic alternatives on the Golden State's ballot. (I would not vote for Kasich, mind you, but I do fear for the country if either of the other two men head a major-party ticket.)<br /><br />One of the perils of a brokered convention is its built-in necessity of back-room deal-making. Not all of those deals would preclude the nomination of the Fascist candidate. It is entirely possible that the Fascist candidate and Senator Cruz could simply shake hands and confirm an agreement to give Cruz the vice-presidential slot, in which case the last remaining moderate would go down without a fight, the insanity of the American body politic this year would be confirmed, and the smell of sulfur would intensify.<br /><br />My pick for celebrity commentator for a brokered Republican convention would be W.B. Yeats, who predicts its sad outcome for me here:<br /><br /><br /><div class="separator" style="clear: both; text-align: center;"></div><div class="separator" style="clear: both; text-align: center;"><a href="https://2.bp.blogspot.com/-Xtzfc46-CCg/VuqZV5wwUAI/AAAAAAAANL4/McMe5__voLE8rwuPCUMfoH7b9iOVzw05w/s1600/yeats2.JPG" imageanchor="1" style="margin-left: 1em; margin-right: 1em;"><img border="0" height="170" src="https://2.bp.blogspot.com/-Xtzfc46-CCg/VuqZV5wwUAI/AAAAAAAANL4/McMe5__voLE8rwuPCUMfoH7b9iOVzw05w/s400/yeats2.JPG" width="400" /></a></div><i><br /></i><i><br /></i><i><br /></i><i><br /></i><i><br /></i>Yusuf Toropovhttps://plus.google.com/117279667638757878679[email protected]0tag:blogger.com,1999:blog-4548660171973970442.post-61701107596374626492016-03-11T03:13:00.001-08:002016-03-11T03:13:22.945-08:00No apologies: On books that kiss you goodnight and close the door<br /><div class="separator" style="clear: both; text-align: center;"><a href="https://3.bp.blogspot.com/-bl4tW0xS0OA/VuKnc637CvI/AAAAAAAANJE/T2BtSH-_BEYdj8ejQFOCNBy-fnJcvnSWg/s1600/reading.gif" imageanchor="1" style="margin-left: 1em; margin-right: 1em;"><img border="0" height="240" src="https://3.bp.blogspot.com/-bl4tW0xS0OA/VuKnc637CvI/AAAAAAAANJE/T2BtSH-_BEYdj8ejQFOCNBy-fnJcvnSWg/s320/reading.gif" width="320" /></a></div><br /><br />Let me here record my firm conviction that it is no grave sin to write a book that demands one's full attention ... and no great virtue to write a book that offers coitus on the first date.<br /><br />We need more books, I think, that kiss you goodnight, close the door and expect you to make the next move. With demagogues on the rise everywhere, with new religiously-fueled variations on McCarthyism more stylish every day in every nominally secular state, with extremists in the Middle East burning down libraries and extremists in the US demanding that store clerks say "Merry Christmas" instead of "Happy Holidays," such books -- books that make us think -- are more important to the human species than they ever were. And they were always important.<br /><br />The world is shutting down its collective mind.<br /><br />All the books that have meant a great deal to me have required a second look, a closer look than the first. Take an inventory, and I think you'll reach the same conclusion about the books that made a difference for you. The books that define us, I think, are like the people who define us: they are the ones we commit to. The ones that refuse to pretend (for long) that they are candy bars or situation comedies, easy to consume and easy to binge on.<br /><br />One should never apologize for writing a book, and certainly not for writing a book that keeps its secrets until you get to know it a little better. These are, after all, desperate times. Desperate times demand functioning human minds.<br /><br />In 2016, which is emerging, alas, as the year we all shifted our collective brain into neutral, I begin to wonder whether it is morally defensible to write a book that does <i>not</i> reward a second read.Yusuf Toropovhttps://plus.google.com/117279667638757878679[email protected]0