You are currently browsing the monthly archive for March 2013.

Note: My book tour began on March 14,
and the schedule can be found at this link.

Dear friends,

The past few months have been hectic, with the hassle of apartment hunting on top of the mad rush of organizing for the book launch and the tour that will begin next week… And did I mention wedding planning?

In any case, the book has been released! March 12 is the official pub date, but these days books are usually rolled out several days ahead of time (except for eBooks — go figure). A friend spotted my book at the Tribeca Barnes & Noble last weekend, and Ahmed and I rushed down to have a look for ourselves. Sure enough. It was kind of surreal, but pretty dang cool. You can see a pic of it here (lower left).

The new Amazon page is here. And I just found out my book will be sold at Target! I figured that was E.L. James territory…

Sales have been fairly steady and we haven’t even really started rolling out the publicity yet. A good sign. And the reviews so far have been very kind. A sampling:

“Harrowing, funny, vivid, entertaining and deeply humane, Fast Times in Palestine opens a rare window onto Palestinian life. It’s impossible not to be moved on nearly every page.”

    Sandy Tolan, author of The Lemon Tree

“I realize that without knowing it, I have long waited for this book, although I could not have imagined its lyric magic in advance of reading.”

    Richard Falk, professor emeritus of international law at Princeton and UN special rapporteur on human rights in the Palestinian territories

“What makes her story so compelling is that she tells it in an honest and straightforward way, not by relying on hot rhetoric. For anyone who wants to learn the truth about life under Israeli occupation, this book is a superb starting point.”

    Prof. John J. Mearsheimer, co-author of The Israel Lobby

“More than a travelogue or a polemic, the book is a coming-of-age story, as Olson discovers her voice by directly confronting the challenges of living in a state of institutionalized paradox… Engaging and easy to read, this is a fascinating memoir.”

    Publishers Weekly, which named the book a Top Ten Travel Book of 2013

“The strength of the narrative lies in Olson’s investigation of the personal and mental effects of oppression and war on herself and her newfound friends, ‘the atmosphere of mute shock expressed only in sidelong glances… of knowing something few people knew, and of genuine connection and collective struggle…’ An empathetic, intriguing memoir.”

    Kirkus Reviews

We’ve got some great press lined up as well, including an interview on Rick Steves Travel that will air in April and an interview with National Geographic Weekend.

Here’s the book tour schedule. Be in touch if you’ll be in any of these cities when I pass through (mostly on the west coast, Colorado, Oklahoma, and the east coast) — and feel free to share the events in your area with people you know who may be interested! Hope to see you along the way.

Finally, as you may or may not know, authors these days are responsible for the vast majority of organizing and funding their own book tours. I’ll be putting on at least 40 events in twelve states, which is more than even the most ambitious authors usually take on. It requires enormous time and resources to organize and carry it all out, and honoraria do not begin to cover the true costs.

Which leaves me needing a little help so I can finish this tour and continue touring in Canada in late summer, in the central and southern US in the fall, and possibly in Europe and the Middle East next year.

All the details are on my IndieGogo campaign page, along with a short video (which includes a Hollywood-style book trailer) and a list of great prizes for various levels of contributions — everything from poetry, music, and recipes to art, olive oil, and even an invitation to my wedding (accommodation included). Please check it out, and share if you like. At the end is a list of ways you can help even if you choose not to contribute.

I couldn’t have done any of this without the support of so many people like you. Thank you so much.

Happy spring!


ftc2My book tour begins next week, and I couldn’t be more excited!

But I will need a little help to allow me to pull it together financially and continue touring in Canada in late summer and the central United States in the fall.

Click to visit my IndieGogo campaign site, which explains everything in detail. It includes a short video and a list of all the great prizes for various levels of donation. Everything from poetry and music to art, olive oil, and even an invitation to my wedding!


If you can’t contribute at this time, you can still help by:

Thank you so much, and see you on the road!


My book

Fast Times in Palestine is in bookstores worldwide! Order on Amazon, or check out the book's website.

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Many thanks.

Books I Love

A Doctor in Galilee,
by Dr. Hatim Kanaaneh

The Hour of Sunlight, by Sami al Jundi and Jen Marlowe

The Goldstone Report, edited by Adam Horowitz, Lizzy Ratner, and Philip Weiss

Mornings in Jenin, by Susan Abulhawa

The Ethnic Cleansing of Palestine, by Ilan Pappe

Zabelle, by Nancy Kricorian

Cosmos, by Carl Sagan

Impro, by Keith Johnstone

Improv Wisdom,
by Patricia Ryan Madson

Walden and Civil Disobedience, by Henry David Thoreau

To Kill a Mockingbird,
50th Anniversary Edition,
by Harper Lee