I am consistently working on broadening my reading. As an avid book reader, I have an ever-growing list of titles outside my norm that I have dedicated 2021 to tackle. My latest read by Syed M. Masood captivated my interest, traveled the world, and spanned decades. Masood grew up in Karachi, Pakistan and currently lives in Sacramento, California. He is a world traveler and his life experiences are reflected in his book, The Bad Muslim Discount.
The Bad Muslim Discount by Syed M. Masood follows two families across decades. From Pakistan and Iraq in the 1990s all the way to San Francisco in 2016, this novel highlights the lives of two Muslim families and their journey to the United States.
1995: Anvar Faris is growing up in Karachi, Pakistan. As the youngest son, Anvar is constantly measured against his older brother. As a result, Anvar is rebellious, restless, and constantly being scolded by his mother for his words. Closest to his grandmother, Anvar spends time with her learning how to play chess and trying to beat her. At this same time, fundamentalists in the government increasingly become louder and more forceful. Religious zealots knock on doors and the streets are more dangerous. With Islam on the rise more and more, Anvar’s family is getting worried. His father decides to move the family to California to start over. Not everyone in the family is happy with the move, but it happens nonetheless. Anvar may not have fit in 100% in Karachi, but he soon finds out that he doesn’t fit in in California. So begins Anvar’s journey to carve out a place for himself where he can be happy.
While Anvar is struggling to find himself, Safwa has problems of her own. Thousands of miles away in Baghdad, Safwa is also struggling. Her family has been rocked by tragedy. Her grief-stricken father wants Safwa to follow his conservative values, something of which she is not a fan. With nothing left to hold them at home, the two begin a dangerous trip to America that could not be more different than Anvar’s.
While Anvar and Safwa’s paths to America differ, at the core they do share similarities. Once both have made it to California, their lives begin to bring them closer together. The closer their worlds become, the more their fates and the fates of those around them intertwine. The decisions both Anvar and Safwa make set off a series of events that will destroy their community and alter their lives forever.
In a world where corporations have the power to rule the world, where social media has infiltrated presidential elections, and when the age restriction on who can run for president has been abolished, you know things are bound to get interesting really quick. Prez, Vol. 1: Corndog-In-Chief tells the tale of this messed-up world and all the deals happening behind the scenes.
In the not so distant future, 2036 to be exact, the world is topsy-turvy. People vote for elections via Twitter, corporations have the ability to run for President, and a strain of cat flu has infested the world, one that costs millions of dollars to cure and that is infecting people worldwide. One of the people infected and dying is Beth Ross’ father. Beth becomes viral-video famous, an internet celebrity named Corndog Girl, after an unfortunate incident at the fast food restaurant where she works.
The country is in the midst of a presidential election, one that is being controlled behind the scenes by a few major corporations. Two candidates have been presented, but a famous video blogger has chosen to endorse Corndog Girl for President instead! She’s eligible to become president, something the corporations never believe would happen, so they write her off. Joke’s on them! She becomes president and soon finds herself thrown into a messed-up world of politics and corporate power grabs. Beth is left to fill her cabinet with people she can trust and all the while try to figure out how if she has the power to take back control of this upside-down world. This graphic novel is full of snark, witty social media commentary, and a glimpse into what our lives could possibly be like if corporations are given more control over our way of life.
The big day is finally here – and for those of us living in Iowa where it has been an especially long political cycle, it sometimes seemed it would never come! Today the United States will inaugurate the first African-American President when Barack Obama takes the Oath of Office. The peaceful transfer of power is one of the great hallmarks of democracy, something America has maintained throughout her history, during peace or war, economic prosperity or depression. Plenty of reasons to celebrate.
To find out more about the 2009 Inauguration, visit the official website Joint Congressional Committee on Inaugural Ceremonies. You’ll find interactive maps, descriptions of the days events, Washington DC weather reports, and a history of past Inaugurations. You’ll even find – get this – the recipes for the food to be served at the Inaugural Luncheon (in case you were wondering what to do with that pheasant you’ve got in the freezer!)
The library, of course, has all kinds of Presidential information including biographies of every President as well as histories of the office. We even have a book about Air Force One, the President’s plane and a history of the White House. Here’s a sampling: