Tamim Ansary

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Born
in Kabul, Afghanistan
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June 2014


Mir Tamim Ansary is an Afghan-American author and public speaker. Ansary gained prominence in 2001 after he penned a widely circulated e-mail that denounced the Taliban and called on the United States to bring political change to Afghanistan. The e-mail was a response to a call to bomb Afghanistan "into the Stone Age." His book West of Kabul, East of New York published shortly after the September 11, 2001 terrorist attacks, is a literary memoir recounting his bicultural perspective on contemporary world conflicts. Ansary writes about Islam, Afghanistan, and history. His new book Destiny Disrupted retells the history of the world through Islamic eyes.

Ansary directs the San Francisco Writers Workshop.

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Tamim Ansary Ten years ago, I published a book called Destiny Disrupted, A History of the World Through Islamic Eyes. Basically, I was arguing that world history…moreTen years ago, I published a book called Destiny Disrupted, A History of the World Through Islamic Eyes. Basically, I was arguing that world history is the story of how we got to where we are today, but embedded in that narrative is always an assumption about who constitutes the “we.” I hoped to illustrate this point by showing how, if you assumed the center of the world to be the Islamic heartland rather than Europe and its offshoots, the history of the world looks completely different, even though it may contain many of the same events. The shape of the story depends on the teller of the tale. But after that book came out, it struck me that today, with pretty much everyone on the planet all up inside one another's business, it might be possible to construct a history of the world from the perspective of a global “we”. So that's what I set out to do. The Invention of Yesterday is what I came up with--a history of the world that looks at ever-increasing interconnectedness (with all its discontents) as the throughline of human history. (less)
Tamim Ansary In my experience, writing mostly feels like failing. A lot of it isn't fun. There's something you're trying to say but it's like a half-remembered…moreIn my experience, writing mostly feels like failing. A lot of it isn't fun. There's something you're trying to say but it's like a half-remembered dream. It isn't there until it's clothed with words, but when you reach for it with words, it dissipates. At the end of a day, you've got a whole bunch of words to sift through and nope: whatever you were fishing for, it isn't there. Every part of the process is like that: structural revision... throwing away the good stuff because it doesn't fit...rummaging for the mot juste that doesn't seem to exist. So: the best part about being a writer? Those moments of closure along the way, That aha! got it! Experience. And especially that euphoric sense of closure you get at the very end if you're lucky: "Wow, that's so exactly what I wanted to say that I can let go." That experience is SO great that you want it again. You find yourself back at your computer because there's this other idea tickling at your brain, you don't know quite know what it is, it's just out of reach, but it's there: if you could just wrap a few words around it you'd be able to see if it's worth pursuing... (less)
Average rating: 4.21 · 9,879 ratings · 1,390 reviews · 17 distinct worksSimilar authors
Destiny Disrupted: A Histor...

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“We need solitude, because when we're alone, we're free from obligations, we don't need to put on a show, and we can hear our own thoughts.”
Tamim Ansary, West of Kabul, East of New York: An Afghan American Story

“Here are two enormous worlds side by side; what's remarkable is how little notice they have taken of each other. If the Western and Islamic worlds were two individual human beings, we might see symptoms of repression here. We might ask, "What happened between these two? Were they lovers once? Is there some history of abuse?”
Tamim Ansary, Destiny Disrupted: A History of the World Through Islamic Eyes

“One side charges, 'You are decadent.' The other side retorts, 'We are free.' These are not opposing contentions; they're nonsequiturs.”
Tamim Ansary, Destiny Disrupted: A History of the World Through Islamic Eyes

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Spotlighted Book Discussion Poll I - October 26, 2011

This is a poll that adds other books to our listing of potential non fiction books to discuss and also helps the moderators determine which one or ones are the most popular. Since we have many more group members than when we first started; voting in the polls is very important. There will be a series of polls. Many of these books have been recommended by group members but were either not selected before nor voted upon before.

Vote for the book that you would most like to read and/or is the book that you believe that would appeal to the most group members.

Note:

We have added some of the books nominated thus far but we have more to add to other polls. However, this poll was getting quite large.

However, if you do not see your favorite book on this list; then just comment or pop me a note and I will immediately add it to this poll.

You can always change your vote at any time; so nothing is lost. There are some books which have been nominated by the same author; however, skip over those if the particular author does not suit you and vote for your favorite or for one you or others might want to read.

Before making your selection, please try to look up your choice and make sure it really is a book you are interested in or you think others would be; do not be lured in by the title. Also, check out the author and what others have said about the book before you (reviewers who you trust). Then of course, make your selection.

And if you do not see your favorite, just contact me and I will add it to the poll.

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