A friend of mine has a new book out, here is a bit from the press release about it.
When Islamic terror strikes,liberals insist that it has nothing to do with Islam. Author Michael Isenberg disagrees. His new book,The Thread of Reason,shows why. Not only is the ideology of terror deeply rooted in Muslim thought,going back to medieval times, but its sources may be found in the writings of one of the most revered figures in Islam.
The Thread of Reason tells the story of the assassination of Nizam al-Mulk, who ruled the Seljuq Empire,wielding more power than the sultans he served—until the fall night in 1092 when a terrorist’s blade struck him down on the road to Baghdad.
Determined to learn who was behind the murder of his chief minister, the sultan turns to the two smartest people he knows: the leading scholar of science,Omar Khayyam, and the leading scholar of shari’ah(Islamic Law), Abu Hamid Ghazali.
“The assassination of Nizam al-Mulk happened in real life,” Isenberg says. “In my fiction book I solve the mystery of who was behind it.
“Khayyam and Ghazali were real people. Khayyamwas quite a character. He’s the only figure I came across in my research who played practical jokes. In the west he’s known for a collection of poems he wrote called the Rubaiyat—Sheldon
If you like historical fiction you’ll like his book. You can buy his book here.
Of course even a fictional account of Islam can get you into trouble with the SPLC of course that was until someone decided to stand up to their Anti-Muslim extremist scam
SHREVEPORT – I was traveling last week and because of that (and in honor of Pete’s 30-year anniversary!) I didn’t post. Where was I?
We went to New Iberia, Louisiana to attend the Books Along the Teche Literary Festival. We were there with people from at least twelve other states in the nation including Colorado, Michigan, Iowa, and Rhode Island as well as from several other countries. The three-day event was filled with a variety of activities, seminars, discussion panels, bus tours, swamp tours, dinners, dance lessons, film screenings, an art show, a performance theater, bourrée lessons, and an authors and artisans fair. The great southern writer Ernest Gaines was there and read from his latest book which was awesome. It wasn’t possible to do everything, but we tried.
But New Iberia has stolen my heart. We hear a lot in this part of the country (I’m in northwest Louisiana) about southern hospitality, but New Iberia takes it to a new level. New Iberia isn’t known for being a tourist town in the way Natchitoches is, for example. But it should be.
Why? There was one point in the evening on our last night there that I decided that if I ever lost faith in humanity, or got frustrated with life, I just need to come to New Iberia because there is such a true joie de vivre in everyone’s face it makes you happy just to be there. It’s in their daily interactions, in their lives, it restores your faith in people. Plus, it’s just beautiful country.
Bayou Teche runs 135-miles through the area; ancient live oaks hug the banks and are literally dripping with Spanish moss. The land is often flat and you see sugar cane fields, crawfish farms, and flooded rice fields. The air smells like salt blowing in from the Gulf and the sky turns a bruised purple in the evening when the sun begins to sink into the west. We danced under the stars to cajun fiddle players and zydeco bands; we ate alligator, catfish, boudin, maque choux, etoufee, gumbo, and shrimp. What’s not to love?
We didn’t know one soul when we arrived and when we left I felt like I have a whole new cadre of friends. One couple we met told us that when we come back we are more than welcome to stay with them. “We have an extra bedroom!” she said. And she meant it.
Everyone we talked to, from the shopkeepers, convenience store clerks, waitresses, residents, everyone, truly engages with you when they talk to you. It’s not just, “Oh how are you doing, glad you’re here,” kind a thing and move on. They look you in the eye, listen to you, ask questions, engage. They remember. And they dance, they laugh, they love, they share wide open.
In the end, the book festival was just lagniappe to the true treasures of New Iberia.
If you’re planning to hit the road this spring or summer, consider a trip to south Louisiana. New Iberia is easy to get to; it’s just south of Lafayette. I know I’ll be back many, many times.
If you don’t want to wait or my blog posts to see my interviews my youtube channel is here.
Full CPAC 2017 list (for those who feel nostalgic) is here
A reminder I have copies of my Book Hail Mary the perfect Protestant (and Catholic) Prayer available at CPAC with me, price $7 and I will happily sign them for you.
Or you can just order it on Amazon
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SHREVEPORT — As Zilla noted, the Boss is at CPAC and is covering all things politics, so I’m going to veer away from politics today. Living in Louisiana with a special legislative session underway, there is no shortage of political topics here, but while our legislators wreck our budget and cut funding to higher education and the other likely targets, I’m going to digress and talk about one of the positive reasons to live in Louisiana.
We have a lot of festivals! We love to eat and to have fun! Louisiana is absolutely beautiful in the spring! Put all that together and we have the Books Along the Teche Literary Festival in April! Books and literary festivals are right up my alley: I love them! I love book bazaars, book festivals, book fairs, the whole thing.
How perfect is this event?! It will be in New Iberia in the spring which is in south Louisiana, below Lafayette. The festival is named for local son James Lee Burke who set his Dave Robicheaux series in New Iberia. I’ve been a fan of his Dave Robicheaux character for years. In fact, that’s one of the things that drew me to Michael Henry’s books; his Willie Mitchell character reminded me a lot of Dave Robicheaux.
Nearly every event at Books Along the Teche looks enticing. On Friday, April 6, the festival starts at 9 a.m. with a food tasting and everyone knows Louisiana food is fantastic and Louisiana cooks reign. In the afternoon there is lunch at Dave Robicheaux’s favorite cafeteria and then a tour of Iberia parish featuring Dave’s “haunts and jaunts.”
Louisiana author Ernest Gaines will be the featured guest this year and on Saturday afternoon he will lead a reading and then host a question and answer session. Gaines is the author of A Lesson Before Dying and The Autobiography of Miss Jane Pittman, among many other works. The film adaptation of Miss Jane Pittman will be featured in a free screening Friday afternoon. Now, how cool would it be to meet Ernest Gaines!
What is also at the top of my list is the Jazz it Up opening reception Friday night featuring a Cochon de Lait and a jazz band but best of all it will be held at Shadows on the Teche, the plantation home of Weeks Hall who was a friend of Lyle Saxon and a fascinating character! A visit to this plantation is on my bucket list.
Shadows-on-the-Teche was the home of the Weeks family. Construction began in 1831 and was completed 1834 for David Weeks and his wife, Mary Clara Conrad Weeks. According to Richard Lewis, curator of visual arts at the Louisiana State Museum in New Orleans, the land was granted to Weeks’s father, William, in 1792 through a Spanish land grant. William continued to purchase property throughout the area and eventually accumulated over 2,000 acres.
David Weeks and his father grew some cotton but focused primarily on sugar cane in the early 1820s. William retained carpenter James Bedell and mason Jeremiah Clark to build the Shadows but he died before the house was completed. When his widow remarried, she kept her property separate from that of her second husband. When she died the plantation passed to her son, William F. Weeks who died in 1895; then it passed to his daughters, one of whom was Lily Weeks Hall. She died in 1918 and her son, William Weeks Hall returned to the plantation from Paris. He acquired all family shares and at the age of 25 became the sole owner of the plantation.
Weeks Hall spent the rest of his life restoring the plantation to its original grandeur. He used family papers and a complete set of construction records to achieve this, according to Richard Lewis in his book, Robert W. Tebbs: Photographer to Architects. Architects Richard Koch (1889-1971) and Charles R. Armstrong (d. 1947) were retained to restore the home “to its 1830s appearance.” When Weeks Hall died in 1959 he bequeathed the home to the National Trust for Historic Preservation. Koch and Samuel Wilson, Jr. did restoration work for the National Trust in 1961 and since then the gardens have also been restored.
The festival will also feature an Academic Symposium in which Professor of English at University of Lafayette, Dr. Mary Ann Wilson will present Ode to a Lost World: James Lee Burke’s Tin Roof Blowdown. She says “the title works on many levels as will my presentation pointing out the deeply moral vision of Burke as he confronts the trauma and tragedy of environmental and human disasters like Katrina all the while telling a crackerjack detective story.”
If I’m feeling brave I might even join in on the Bouree lessons, but I know from experience that playing Bouree with a bunch of Cajuns can be a risky proposition!
But seriously, If I were dreaming up the perfect festival, this would be it.
New Iberia is beautiful all of the time but especially so in the spring. This could not be a more perfect trip and a perfect escape from winter.
The field of civil engineering is more exciting than most would anticipate. There are some very interesting developments and new technologies being introduced in the past few years. That said, civil engineering has always been about heritage and passion. The combination creates a unique mix that attracts a lot of civil engineering students to the field.
Whether you are studying for an online civil engineering degree or taking an offline course, there are several must-read books to look into. They can either be a part of your course or just a classic, great-to-read book about engineering. We are going to take a look at some of them in this article.
Brunel: The Life and Times of Isambard Kingdom Brunel
Isambard Kingdom Brunel is one of the greatest engineers of our time. He was also a key figure in engineering due to the changes and innovations he brought to the table. Without him, engineering would not be the same and Britain would not be the country we know today.
Behind his genius and his immense passion for engineering, Brunel was a controversial figure. He was a great marketer and an excellent showman, but his life was filled with controversies that often direct people away from his great achievements. The book by Prof. Angus Buchanan titled “Brunel: The Life and Times of Isambard Kingdom Brunel” offers a more docile yet detailed take on his work as an engineer.
This is the work from which you can learn about project management and the many unusual approaches of Brunel while getting to know the man as an engineer. He was Britain’s most innovative civil engineer and there is so much to learn from his life, his work, and his legacy.
Material Science and Engineering: A First Course
To be a complete civil engineer, you have to know the materials you work with. At top universities such as Norwich University, engineering students are taught how to work with different materials effectively. The best online masters in civil engineering programs take the subject seriously.
When it comes to material science, “Material Science and Engineering: A First Course” by V. Raghavan is a crucial book to read. It may not be as in-depth as other, more advanced books on the matter, but this book is the perfect first step into the world of material science for engineers.
Infrastructure: A Guide to the Industrial Landscape
If industrial engineering is your passion, then this last book on our list is perfect for you. “Infrastructure: A Guide to the Industrial Landscape” by Brian Hayes takes readers into the world of infrastructure and offers a unique take on the industry. The book is filled with examples and great photos, making it a very fun read.
What’s interesting about the book is the way it also talks about the recent natural disasters, mainly Hurricane Katrina and the Fukushima disaster. Reading the book feels more like an adventure thanks to the way every bit of information about the world around us is presented. The illustrations simply make the experience and the adventure, more enjoyable.
Each of these books would be a fabulous addition to your bookshelf.