In Episode 77, Syed M. Masood (author of The Bad Muslim Discount) joins me to talk about the evolution of The Bad Muslim Discount, writing about serious topics with humor, and what it’s like the publish 3 books in 18 months.
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- Syed’s inspiration for The Bad Muslim Discount.
- How early drafts of the book were different from the final version.
- The spectrum of levels of devotion to the Muslim faith covered in the book.
- Syed’s literary hero.
- How he felt about using irreverent humor to talk about religion (and why he chose to do this).
- Whether Anvar and Amir’s parents and grandmother are based on his real life parents and grandmother.
- How Syed used the theme of destiny in the book.
- How the immigrant experience is a condensation of the broader human experience.
- His connection to the game of Checkers, which plays a role in the story.
- What it was like for Syed to publish 2 books (one adult and one YA) within 6 months of each other.
- The process differences between writing adult and YA.
Syed’s Book Recommendations [31:51]
Two OLD Books He Loves
- The Plotters by Un-Su Kim | Buy from Amazon [32:03]
- My Sister, the Serial Killer by Oyinkan Braithwaite (My Review) | Buy from Amazon [34:58]
Two NEW Books He Loves
- This Will Be Funny Someday by Katie Henry | Buy from Amazon [37:23]
- Leave the World Behind by Rumaan Alam | Buy from Amazon [39:33]
One Book He DIDN’T LOVE
One NEW RELEASE He’s Excited About
Last 5 Star Book Syed Read [49:09]
Other Books Mentioned
- The Bad Muslim Discount by Syed Masood | Buy from Amazon [0:41]
- More Than Just a Pretty Face by Syed M. Masood | Buy from Amazon [22:58]
- On Writing by Stephen King | Buy from Amazon [26:51]
- Sway With Me by Syed M. Masood (Coming Fall 2021) | Buy from Amazon [30:52]
- The Buried Giant by Kazuo Ishiguro | Buy from Amazon [40:48]
- Interpreter of Maladies by Jhumpa Lahiri | Buy from Amazon [46:43]
- The Namesake by Jhumpa Lahiri | Buy from Amazon [47:02]
- Black Buck by Mateo Askaripour (My Review) | Buy from Amazon [50:25]
I grew up in Karachi, Pakistan, and currently live in Sacramento, California. There have been plenty of stops in between though. I’m a first generation immigrant, twice over. I’ve been a citizen of three different countries and lived in nine cities. I am, as Goethe, said, “nothing but a wanderer […] on this earth.”
Living among different people, in different countries at fascinating times in their histories, has shaped both my view of the world and my writing. Ultimately, human beings are the same everywhere (despite the fact that they tell themselves, everywhere, that they are different from each other), and the theme of this fundamental human unity informs everything I write.
As to my life outside of writing, I went to the William and Mary School of Law, and before that attended the University of Toronto, where I studied English Literature. I am currently practicing as an attorney and must “measure out my life in coffee spoons” on a daily basis.
Some members of my family will tell you that I’m also a poet. This isn’t true. I wrote a few poems in Urdu when I was a teenager, and I’ve never heard the end of it…which I wouldn’t mind, honestly, if they were any good. As it is, I’m very happy living in prose, thank you very much.
Other interests include good food, video games, sitcoms, and books of all kinds. Most of my time that doesn’t go to writing or billable hours is consumed by my two children, four and two years of age.
There will not be a new episode next week since the podcast is on a bi-weekly schedule.
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