I try to support Muslim writers and new writers of all ilk as much as I possibly can. (My budget sometimes doesn't stretch quite as far as I wish it did...) Aside from buying books, one of the ways I do this is by writing reviews and doing feature articles about authors. I had a blast writing the following review (see below). I had a 100 word limit. Not an easy task to capture the feel of a book in 100 words! There was a time, in fact, when I would have thrown up my hands in despair at ever being able to do so.
However, writing my columnette for the Indianapolis Star (blogs.indystar.com/intouch
) has taught me a great deal about getting across a point about an important topic in less space that I'd normally devote to, say, describing the setting of a story. It has often been a challenge to cut out everything but the core issue (and to be honest, there are some issues I haven't tackled because they are just too complex to fit into 200 words).
It sems to me that the skill of being able to convey a lot in a few words is increasingly important. People read the headlines and the first paragraphs of a news story or opinion piece, rarely the whole thing. When I get a piece forwarded to me on the internet that is huge, I zone out quickly. Effective persuassion has to happen quickly.
Of course, we also need room for nuance, for complex arguments, and multi-layered approaches to alot of todays problems. But, realistically, most readers won't get to the bottom of that article. Which means as writers, we need to be able to capture the essence of our argument in the first two paragraphs, and then develop the complexity, the depth and width and breadth in the following graphs, realizing many won't ever read them.
Anyway, here is the review. It was fun to write, and, I think, it will really give readers an idea of what this book is about, and what makes it different from all those other cookbooks out there.
Halal Food, Fun, and Laughter
When I was a child I spent a great deal of time in my grandmother's kitchen, chopping onions, stirring stew, or whipping up a batch of cookies, while Grammy told me tales of her childhood. Halal Food, Fun, and Laughter
, by Linda D. Delgado, recaptures the spirit of my grandmother's kitchen, combining stories, poems, delightful animated spoon comics, and quotes fom Qur'an and hadith with recipes from around the world. The result is a warm, good feeling inside, coupled with delicious food on your table. It's like having your Chicken Soup for the Muslim soul, and eating it too.
Halal Food, Fun, and Laughter is available at www.muslimwriterspublishing.com