Friday, January 9, 2015

Five on Friday - Ausma Zehanat Khan

Happy Friday everyone. If you're in a part of the world like me, I hope you are keeping warm. Good golly it's been cold here!

And I hope your 2015 is off to a great reading start. There are a lot of good books coming out in the next couple of months, so we should have quite a banquet to choose from.

I've been reading about people's New Year's Reading Resolutions and I thought I'd mention that briefly today. I use to do something formal with resolutions on reading but I found that to take a bit of the fun of reading away from me. I have reviewing positions with two organizations that offer me a lot of selection opportunity; I couldn't ask for better situations. I never feel like I'm forced to read things I hate or that reading is a chore. I'm also left with a small amount of time to include other books of my choosing outside the realm of "work." I don't need a lot of motivation to read--obviously! :-)

That being said, I always strive to find diversity in my reading and challenge myself. Recently that's meant going outside the crime fiction genre more, which was an evolution more than a resolution. I still always explore new writers, whether they be new to me or debut authors. And I still do not force myself to read things I just don't like or let others dictate what they think I should be doing or reading. So I simply continue to read and explore and love it all.

How about you, do you make resolutions for your reading?

If you're a little short on reading material, you could check out these contests and sweepstakes this week to beef up your TBR lists:

  • Criminal Element has the "New Year, New Fear" sweepstakes. A nice take-home on that one. 
  • Friday Reads has the new Thomas Perry and the new George Pelecanos. I can attest that the Pelecanos is wonderful--review forthcoming. The Perry I haven't read. 

This week my good friend Lesa Holstein celebrated 10 years of blogging! As I sneak up on year number seven (Monday), I know what an accomplishment maintaining a blog for 10 years is. Congratulations to Lesa and thanks for all her love and sharing of books. I know I wouldn't be here with out her. Do pop over and wish her a happy blogiversary.

And now for our feature presentation!

Even though The Unquiet Dead is Ausma Zehanat Khan's debut novel, she's no stranger to writing. Not only was she a contributing writer for Muslim Girl magazine, she served as the Editor-in-Chief. Her resume reads so impressively, I felt like I should clean up the blog before she visited! Ausma has a Ph.D. in International Human Rights Law with a research specialization in military intervention and war crimes in the Balkans. Wow! And I'm sure that helped with her debut novel that follows two Canadian detectives who are investigating the death of a victim that many have been a Bosnian war criminal. That comes out on Tuesday, so I'm thrilled to have Ausma Zehanat Khan here on the blog today. Won't you help me welcome her?

(I should also point out that she is our first guest to receive one of my "refreshed" questionnaires for the series, so these topics should look new to you! Hope you enjoy!)

1. I'd willingly make a deal with the devil, or perhaps God would be the more appropriate choice, to find a cure for Parkinson’s disease. My father suffers from it, and I’d give anything to see him healthy again.

2. If I could have a secret superpower, it would be flight coupled with invisibility. I would use this power to fly the world seeking and capturing war criminals, before I dumped them off at the Hague to stand trial. Maybe this means respect for the rule of law is really my superpower?

3. My faith in humanity was renewed in the aftermath of the shooting at Parliament Hill in Canada. After the Ottawa shooting, a mosque in Alberta was vandalized with the words “Go Home.” It was a form of retaliation predicated on guilt-by-association. But then the community of Cold Lake, Alberta came out to help wash the graffiti off the mosque, placing signs that said, “You are home.” And “Love your neighbour.” A beautiful, life-affirming gesture that reminds me how good people are, at the heart of things. I also love this story because Cold Lake is the perfect name for a Canadian town.

4. I wish it was appropriate to put ‘prairie girl’ on a résumé because I'd like everyone to know I grew up in Prince Albert, Saskatchewan where -40 degree temperatures (Celsius) were a staple of my childhood, and where despite this fact, recess was always outdoors. Now that I’m living in the sunny climes of Colorado, I can never face those temperatures again.

5. The #1 item on my bucket list right now is a journey to the Silk Road to visit the fabled cities of Samarkand and Bukhara. Samarkand is Tamerlane’s capital, and the monuments he built are astonishing in their grandeur. But I keep justifying this by saying it’s a research trip for books down the road.

If you aren't completely awed by her resume alone, I have to think you are after reading her responses here. I simply love that she chose to answer #3 and with the present climate in the world this is such a wonderful story. And #4 is just wonderful, don't you think? Well, I know I'm impressed and very excited to read The Unquiet Dead. You? You can connect with Ausma Khan on her Facebook page. And if you're in the Denver area, you should go out on Tuesday for her book release party at The Tattered Cover.

Thanks to Ausma Khan for kicking off this year's Five on Friday series with a spectacular contribution. And thanks to everyone for stopping by to read today. I hope you enjoyed today's feature as much as I did. Have a great weekend and happy reading!


Malcolm Avenue Review January 9, 2015 at 1:27 PM  

Great 5!

I don't usually make reading resolutions, but when I started out reading a ton the first few months of last year it made me have my own little stupid contest with myself to continue at that pace. SO. This year, my resolution is actually to read LESS and enjoy the ride more, as well as to read more works by Australian authors.

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