Wednesday, March 23

Author Reza Aslan reveals 5 pieces of writing that changed his life


I was so nostalgic yesterday watching your video of your first day at home, you were so cute and adorable, lying there blinking up at the new world. I just so wanted to squish you till you squeaked. Totally cute and cuddly. 

Talking about things that change your life, I thought you might appreciate this article. The reason why it caught my eye was the book, brothers karamazov. I think i mentioned this to you, while growing up, we had financial problems so finding a soviet book store where books were sold for 5 rupees was a god send, so I grew up with a shed load of russian literature at home. Translated of course, but they were really classics. Gave me such an insight into the Russian mind. 

I loved what you did with the horrible histories books, that kind of thinking about visualisation is very interesting indeed :) but you are doing too much homework, baby, cut down a bit and spend some time on sports and also reading other things...that is also important. 

Love you 


Vox - All

Mar 20th 2016, 14:00, by Todd VanDerWerff

We spoke to Aslan about his influences, his new talk show, and why truly great writing is so rare.
Reza Aslan loves writing.
That might seem like an obvious thing to say about a writer who's known for several approachable but scholarly nonfiction works about religion, including Zealot and No god but God, among others. But Aslan also loves to talk about the craft of writing, about other writers whose work he's loved, and the sheer joy of a perfectly wrought sentence.
Aslan recently brought that love to television with his new talk show, Rough Draft. Airing on the Ovation cable network (a channel dedicated to the arts), Rough Draft features Aslan talking with different types of writers — though his season one guests mostly work in television — about their philosophies of life, their work, and their art. Aslan is quite simply interested in what his guests might think about things beyond their work, but he's also interested in their working lives, their writing processes, and the technical details of that work.
In keeping with that theme, I wanted to ask Aslan about the books that have inspired him — and which of his own pieces he's most proud of (in spite of the fact that, like many writers, he's endlessly self-critical). We talked about Dostoyevsky, Wolf Hall, and Star Trek, among other things.
This interview has been lightly edited for length and clarity.
The first book he read that changed his life 
Reza Aslan
I remember it like it was yesterday. I was 16 years old, and it was The Brothers Karamazov by Fyodor Dostoyevsky.
I didn't go to a very good public school in California in the Bay Area. I'd always been very interested in reading and in literature, and I was in the advanced English class, but it wasn't all that advanced. We were all reading James Fenimore Cooper's The Last of the Mohicans, which I thought was awful.
I didn't want to read it, so I found this book and it was by a Russian author and it was 1,000 pages, and I knew nothing about it. I just thought, how cool would I be if I read this book? I started reading it, and I could not stop. I was sitting in my English class, reading it under the desk. The teacher caught me and said, "Put it away," and I did. I pulled it out again, and he said, "Put it away." I did, but I pulled it out again, and he gave me detention.
I just want to clarify that I got detention in English class for reading Dostoyevsky.
I was at the very end of the book when you finally discover who the murderer was. Instead of going to the dean's office, I sat on a bench outside to finish it. I finished it, and I had this feeling I had never felt before. I thought to myself, "I want to make other people feel the way that Dostoyevsky just made me feel," and that was it. I wanted to be a writer, and I've never wanted to be anything else.

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