Ramadan Karim everyone! It’s going to be a tough one this year for the observant, with a lot of long, hot days. May we all have good health and many joys this season, and remember those less fortunate than ourselves.

As I’ve mentioned, the contract with my publisher says I won’t be able to sell the self-published version of my book after August 1. So I wanted to do one last giveaway of Fast Times in Palestine before that day gets here, to spread the message as far and wide as possible before its long disappearance between now and spring 2013. Plus, I think more happy readers can translate to more word-of-mouth sales once the book comes out again. 🙂

The giveaway will take place on Sunday, July 22. The synopsis and a few reviews are pasted below, and more can be read on the book’s website and its Amazon page. The current electronic version has a lot more pictures (in color!) than the final version will have, and I talked to my editor yesterday and found out that it will also have about 20% less text. (We’re still working out the exact amount of cuts.) So this is your last chance to get the full and original version of this book.

(People in the UK can also order the paperback up until August 1, and pay only local shipping.)

Click here on Sunday, July 22, to download your free copy. And please feel free to spread this message far and wide!

Ramadan mubarak!


Pamela Olson, a small town girl from eastern Oklahoma, had what she always wanted: a physics degree from Stanford University. But instead of feeling excited for what came next, she felt consumed by dread and confusion. This irresistible memoir chronicles her journey from aimless ex-bartender to Ramallah-based journalist and foreign press coordinator for a Palestinian presidential candidate.

With dizzying speed she found herself attending Yasser Arafat’s funeral, sharing a holiday dinner with a suicide bomber’s family, tour-guiding Israeli friends around the West Bank, dating a Palestinian from a conservative Muslim village, being held at gunpoint and injured by a stun grenade, and witnessing the 2005 Disengagement from inside the Gaza Strip. The gripping narrative focuses not only on violence, terror, and social and political upheavals but also on the daily rounds of house parties, concerts, barbecues, weddings, jokes, harvests, and romantic drama that happen in between.

Funny, gorgeous, shocking, and galvanizing, Fast Times in Palestine challenges the way we think not only about the Middle East but about human nature and our place in the world.

Selected Reviews

“Olson seamlessly weaves her own personal journey with history, politics, and even a love story. The result is a moving, inspiring account of life in Palestine that’s enormously informative yet reads like a novel!”

“As an Israeli whose life was shaped by the Israeli-Palestinian conflict, I found Fast Times in Palestine moving and refreshing. Pamela Olson comes to the Middle East with a blank slate and is therefore able to hold up an undistorted mirror to the reality she encounters.”

“Pamela Olson leads the reader on an exciting, funny, at times heart-wrenching journey, carefully deciphering complex political and historical issues. Olson is a talented writer, intelligent and exceptional in her ability to convey both tragedy and hope, remaining morally grounded and refreshingly honest.”

“Maybe he’s just not that into you. Or maybe the reason he hasn’t arrived for your date is because he’s tied to a chair being interrogated for no reason other than that teenage Israeli soldiers at a checkpoint didn’t like the way he looked at them. It’s love in the time of Occupation as Pamela Olson, a young American woman, takes us on the emotional roller-coaster of her very personal experience of life in Ramallah — and in doing so lays bare the human drama of a people living under the control of a state that denies them the rights of citizens. A charming book brimming with tension and tragedy, but also with the humor, warmth, everyday foibles and irrepressible hopes of a people determined to live free.”

    ~ Tony Karon, Senior Editor, TIME

Fast Times in Palestine is part adventure story, part searing reportage, part love story, and wholly absorbing. It is written with infectious humor, dazzling verve, keen insight, and deep passion. If you want to know what everyday life is like for the Palestinian people, go to Palestine; if you can’t, read this book.”

    ~ Dr. Kenneth Ring, Professor Emeritus of Psychology, University of Connecticut, and co-author of Letters from Palestine