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Friday, May 20, 2011

The Last Jihad

I attended the local book club for the first time last week. I managed to read the entire assigned book, The Last Jihad by Joel Rosenberg, and get it back to the library on the due date with 10 hours to spare. This is noteworthy only because it’s been the busiest May in my 40-year history of Mays.

Is it just me, or is May the second-craziest month of the year after December?

But I digress…

I was reading The Last Jihad in the days immediately following the death of Osama Bin Laden. I’m not a huge Barack Obama fan, but that was a guttsy move by Mr. President to order our military into Pakistan and take out Al Qaeda’s number one dude.

Yet I digress again…

It was quite timely to read this book at the time of Bin Laden’s death. The Last Jihad was written nine months before 9/11. The fictional book focuses on our country's response to global terrorists' acts originating in the Middle East. After 9/11, the author held-off publishing the book until 2002 so he could add the real-world 9/11 events to the fictional story. The author also includes real-world characters such as Saddam Hussein and Osama Bin Laden. But the main characters in the book, including the U.S. President and his advisors, are fictional.

Some of the futuristic details are now historically incorrect. For example, in the novel Osama Bin Laden dies shortly after 9/11 but Saddam Hussein is still alive and the mastermind of the global terrorist movement. In my opinion, the factual inaccuracies weakened the intensity of the book. I guess Rosenberg's crystal ball wasn't working 100% while he was writing.

Even so, I found the book to be “this-is-scary-but-it-feels-good-to-be-an-American”… reminding me of the Tom Clancy novels I read in the 90s.

I didn’t realize that The Last Jihad is the first of five books in a series until I went to book club, but that explains the unsatisfying ending. The author totally left me hanging…which I suppose is the point in a series. Looks like I have more books to add to my need-to-read list.

But first...

I’m currently reading Change Anything…a self-help, motivational book. (Because everyone knows I need all the help I can get.)

And sitting on my nightstand is Water For Elephants…which I want to read before seeing the movie. (I hope Robert Patterson has normal skin tone in this show.)

Not to mention, I'd like to start reading the Harry Potter books we gave our daughter for Christmas. (Am I the only person who hasn’t read those books yet?)

But the biggest reading achievement of the last year was definitely getting through 45 learn-to-read books with our Kindergartener.

Whew! Soooo glad it’s summer!

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