Review of Extraordinary Adventures of Mullah Nasruddin

Extraordinary Adventures of Mullah Nasruddin
reviewed in Out In Print

XNS frcoverLamfinalsealExtraordinary Adventures of Mullah Nasruddin, which was named a Finalist in this year’s Lambda Literary Awards, has reviewed its first full review by Keith John Glaeske in Out In Print, on June 8, 2015.

Here are two brief excerpts from the first and last paragraphs of the review, with our thanks to the author and publisher for their permission to reprint the material.

In 2011, Ron Suresha published The Uncommon Sense of the Immortal Mullah Nasruddin . . . Now he has collected 257 additional tales, many translated into English for the first time, for a companion volume entitled Extraordinary Adventures of Mullah Nasruddin.  Suresha’s second collection of Mullah Nasruddin lore, however, is more than a mere continuation of the tales found in the first volume, as explained by the subtitle:  Naughty, unexpurgated tales of the beloved wise fool from the Middle and Far East.  Here, then, are the tales that have been expunged from collections of modern translations of Mullah Nasruddin, due to the scatological, ethnic, racial, and/or sexist humor contained therein.  . . .

And this from the closing:

Naturally, this collection will appeal to any reader who appreciates a good fart joke or merkin story, but it will also prove valuable to students of folklore and/or Islamic culture; storytellers; and seekers of wisdom.  To this end, Suresha includes a bibliographical list of his sources, and a glossary of terms that might be unknown to the general reader, for those who might be inspired to follow the Mullah Nasruddin, perched sitting backwards upon his beloved donkey.

We thank Mr Glaeske for his kind review, and Out In Print for running the piece, which you can read in its entirety here.

doublestar-crescent smile

Extraordinary Adventures of Mullah Nasruddin
by Ron J. Suresha

Lethe Press

ISBN 1-59021-464-1



Storytelling World Magazine Honors Immortal Mullah Nasruddin

by rjs
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Published on: July 5, 2013
Immortal Mullah Nasruddin wins honor in Storytelling World magazine
Immortal Mullah Nasruddin wins honor in Storytelling World magazine

Storytelling World Magazine Honors Immortal Mullah Nasruddin

In the April/May 2012 issue of Storytelling World magazine: the announcement of the Honor given to Immortal Mullah Nasruddin, and the front cover art at the top of the page!

Thanks to Ann Shapiro from the Connecticut Storytelling Center for sending a copy of the magazine!

Immortal Mullah Nasruddin wins 2nd national storytelling book award

by rjs
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Published on: June 26, 2013

Immortal Mullah Nasruddin wins 2nd national storytelling book award

It's an award!
It’s an award!

Nasruddin wins Anne Izard award

Mullah be praised! The Lethe Press book, “The Uncommon Sense of the Immortal Mullah Nasruddin,” was one of 13 distinguished titles to receive the 11th annual Anne Izard Storytellers’ Choice Award. Three cheers for Steve Berman, who took a chance on a book that was way outside his publishing program.

Here’s the description of the book from the awards ceremony program:

Wise fools are favorites of storytellers and story listeners alike … and no wonder! They allow us to laugh and learn at the same time. Ron J. Suresha collected several hundred stories of the Persian folk hero Nasruddin, from short jokes and anecdotes to longer, fully-fledged tales. He presents them gathered traditionally in groups of seven — seven parts with seven sections each containing seven stories. Well-researched and well-written, this collection is a delight for listeners and tellers alike.

Anne Izard Storytellers’ Choice Awards 2013 recipients:

Recipients of the 2013 Anne Izard Storytellers' Choice Awards after the awards presentation.
Recipients of the 2013 Anne Izard Storytellers’ Choice Awards after the awards presentation.


 Text of Ron J. Suresha’s presentation at the Anne Izard Storytellers’ Choice Awards:

Anne Izard Storytellers’ Choice Award


Thanks to everyone present, Awards co-chair Carol Birch, White Plains Public Library, and judges of the Anne Izard Storytellers’ Choice Award.

May I take a moment to acknowledge my publisher, Steve Berman, of Lethe Press, who took a chance on this book, which was very outside their publishing program, even after several major Eastern wisdom and storytelling publishers turned it down. I also want to acknowledge my husband, Rocco, who has supported me in every way during my efforts but could not be here today; Ann Shapiro, Executive Director, Connecticut Storytelling Center and everyone at CSC who has offered their amazing resources; and my friend David Juhren, Executive Director of the Loft LGBT Center in White Plains, who’s here today.

That my book, The Uncommon Sense of the Immortal Mullah Nasruddin, is now honored with the Anne Izard Storytellers’ Choice Award, is a tribute for which I am deeply grateful.

Early on, I became well acquainted with the likes of the famous wise fool Mullah Nasruddin, a jokester character of renowned humor and inscrutable wisdom from halfway around the world in the Near and Middle East (also known as Nasreddin Hoca, Djuha, Abu Nuwas, and by other names).

As a child I listened to my mother, an Israeli American who spoke conversational Arabic, recount a few of the droll follies and foibles of the bald, bewhiskered, bumbling Mullah. Threads of his countless fables, anecdotes, and parables, based in Turkish and Persian folk wisdom, were woven into the first stories and jokes that I learned. “You’re acting just like Nasruddin,” my mom would exclaim, exasperated by my contrariness.

Nasruddin was acting up in class one day and insulted his teacher. His teacher Halil berated him, saying, “Nasruddin. How dare you address me this way! Why do you always answer a question with another question‽”

Said Nasruddin, with a smile, “Do I‽”

Sometime after college, I became involved in a yoga community and lived at several ashrams (residential yoga centers) primarily around the United States, as well as two stays at an Indian ashram, where I learned many more Nasruddin tales. These droll stories were included in daily formal lectures by our teachers to illuminate, often with comedic effect, the uncommon foolishness and occasional common sense of human nature.

In 1997, while working as production editor at Shambhala Publications in Boston, I presented a formal proposal for a pocket edition of Nasruddin stories culled from the hundreds of stories in the Shah volumes, but Octagon Press declined the query. From that initial proposal I developed this project, my own contemporary retelling of the Nasruddin corpus.

Over the past 20 years, I have collected and indexed several thousand versions of more than one thousand stories and parables, anecdotes and aphorisms, and jests and jokes of my longtime teacher and friend, Mullah Nasruddin, in his many incarnations in various cultures around the globe. My retellings are based on personal recollection of oral narratives as well as dozens of published sources in English, Spanish, German, French, Turkish, and Hebrew.

Excluding a few longer narratives that incorporate shorter bits, the stories in the book are presented seven at a sitting, as per the oral tradition of Nasruddin’s “curse.”

Once, when the boy was being particularly bad in class, his teacher Halil said:

Wherever you go or stay,

whatever you do or say,

whether it be night or day —

people will only laugh and laugh at you.

Gathered into seven parts having seven sections, each section containing seven stories (73 = 343), the selections comprise the most popular, amusing, meaningful, and compelling ones repeated among my sources. My goals have been to craft fresh, strong, clear presentations of the folklore, to incorporate the best aspects of each known variation, and to adapt the narrative material to contemporary readership.

The stories are arranged into a rough biography, starting with Nasruddin’s childhood and moving through characteristic life passages: his youth and schooling, his married and family life, travels and travails with his devoted grey donkey, the daily labor of his many vocations, encounters with his village neighbors and teahouse chums, his exploits as a favorite in Sultan Tamerlane’s court, his duties and acts as local magistrate and religious teacher, and his old age and death. One of my favorite stories goes like this:

In the little Turkish town of Akshehir where he lived, the immortal folk hero Mullah Nasruddin was a tribal elder and mullah, or learned minister, of his town. As such, every Friday Nasruddin was expected to give the sermon before the true believers, to expound upon the mystic life and other religious matters of import.

Usually he was prepared with a topic, but one Friday morning, however, even as he walked up the stairs to assume his position addressing the congregation, nothing came to mind.

The first time this happened, Nasruddin tried to buy some time. He called forth in a loud, confident voice, “Oh true believers, mark my words, for I am a prophet and the son of a prophet.”

The worshipers sat staring at Nasruddin in slack-jawed disbelief at this apparent infidel.

Someone said, “Nasruddin, if you are the son of a prophet, tell us: what am I thinking right now?”

“I know precisely what you’re thinking right now.” Nasruddin stroked his long grey beard, rubbed his temples with his index fingers, then he cleared his throat. “I can tell . . . that you are thinking . . . that I am a false prophet.”

Then, as he stood before the assembly, an idea flashed in Nasruddin’s brain. Assuming a fierce stance, Nasruddin announced in a strong and severe voice, “O true believers! Do you know the topic about which I have come to speak to you‽”

Puzzled glances were exchanged, and then the people answered in a hushed yet yearning whisper, “No, we don’t understand, not at all, we haven’t a clue.”

Nasruddin looked disparagingly at the congregation. “If you have zero idea of the value of the message you are about to receive, then what is the worth of anything that I could tell you?” And with that, he dismounted the pulpit and exited the mosque, free for the time being. That week, Nasruddin’s cryptic sermon was the talk of the village.

That Friday, again Nasruddin found himself about to address the expectant flock with nothing to say. Taking the pulpit, he announced in an even more fiery tone, “O true believers! I have come here today, to speak to you about a most significant and dire matter. Do you have any knowledge of the subject which I am addressing?”

This time, the group, as one person, rose and responded, “Yes, we do know.”

Nasruddin replied, “Oh, so now you all think you know everything that needs to be understood about the subject, do you? If it’s so obvious, then why should I waste my breath explaining to you what apparently is so apparent?” And he stepped lightly down the seven steps from the pulpit.

All that week everyone in town was abuzz with this latest development. Every man, woman, child, and donkey in Aksehir was debating the matter, and as the week stretched toward the Sabbath sermon once again, the anticipation swelled to immense proportions.

When Friday came around, as it inevitably does, once again Nasruddin found himself without a subject for his sermon. He slowly ascended the pulpit, then proclaimed in a furious roar that made every person in the mosque tremble with the fear of God, “O true believers! Do you know the topic about which I have come to speak to you today?”

As the group had agreed beforehand, half stood up and said, “Yes, we know,” while the other half remained seated and said, “No, we don’t.”

Every head in the room leaned forward to hear the next utterance of the inscrutable Mullah Nasruddin.

“The people assembled here who do understand the matter — and you know who you are! — should teach those who don’t get it.”

And with that, he climbed down the pulpit and looking neither left nor right, neither up nor down, neither outward nor outward, stepped out of the mosque, free and clear — until the next Friday, at least.

This Nasruddin folk tale is sometimes referred to as the story of the learned and the ignorant. This story seems particularly appropriate for this event, as I consider librarians and booksellers and storytellers and editors and writers the learned who are compelled to share their knowledge with the community for others’ benefit.

Many of the numerous anecdotes attributed to Nasruddin reveal a sly, humorous personality with a sharp tongue that spared no one, not even the most tyrannical sultan of his time. The Mullah’s interactions with the despot Tamerlane particularly display an intuitive intelligence shrewd enough to outwit anyone. Thus Nasruddin became the symbol of Middle-Eastern satirical comedy and the rebellious feelings of people against the dynasties that once ruled that area of the world. Here’s a story that embodies that feeling of rebellion, as well as appeals to my sensibilities as an editor.

During Tamerlane’s reign, citizens were banned from carrying any sort of weapon or knife.

One day Luqman, the town constable, stopped Nasruddin on the street and searched him because he thought the Mullah was acting “suspiciously.” Hidden under his turban was a big curved knife.

Luqman shouted at Nasruddin, “Fool, don’t you know that the sultan has forbidden the use of knives‽”

“But I use that to scrape off mistakes and make corrections in the books I read,” Nasruddin protested. In those days, small penknives were used to correct errors in books.

“Is that so‽” said the captain. “Well then, why do you need such a big knife?”

“Because they are large books and there are lots of huge mistakes. Sometimes the errors are so egregious that even this enormous knife isn’t big enough to handle them.”

It is true that by opening the listener’s heart with laughter, the tales create a space for both joy and mystic wisdom to enter. The topper of his teacher’s “curse” imposes the condition that at least seven Nasruddin tales must be told aloud at one sitting. This is done to allow the listener enough time to relax and perceive the humor even in the most pressing situation. Thus paradox, unexpectedness, and unconventional wisdom are fully expressed in the irrepressible good humor and inspirational humanity of the immortal Mullah Nasruddin.

I am currently completing a sequel to Mullah Nasruddin, which will include all the PG-13 material I didn’t include in this volume in order to keep the text reading level at a general college adult readership. It’s an ambitious project, and so I’d like to leave you with one last story about longing and ambition, and one that happens to be appropriate for Father’s Day.

Nasruddin’s father was the head of a large dargah, the burial shrine of a great being, where many seekers, dervishes, and pilgrims would go to worship. Nasruddin used to listen to the pilgrims’ tales of their search for God, and it inspired him to strike out on his own in search of the Truth. His father, Yousef, begged him to stay and help him take care of the temple, but Nasruddin insisted that he had to find his own way to God. Finally Yousef relented, and gave him a little grey donkey to ride as a sort of blessing.

For years Nasruddin wandered from forest to forest, shrine to shrine, and mosque to mosque, until one day at a remote crossroads, his devoted little grey donkey collapsed and died. Nasruddin was inconsolable in the loss of his dear companion. He rolled on the ground, rent his garment, beat his chest, tore out what little hair was left on his balding head, and wailed, “Vai! Vai! My faithful friend and constant companion has died and left me forever!”

As Nasruddin lay there weeping in the dirt at the crossroads, some pious people traveling on pilgrimage saw him in his grief. They took pity upon him and placed leaves and branches over the dead little grey donkey. Others covered it with mud. Someone brought a wooden box to protect the mound from the weather.

Nasruddin just sat there, brooding and silent, staring at the box.

Some charitable folks who lived in a small village nearby passed by the site and, thinking that Nasruddin was the bereaved devotee worshipping at the tomb of a great saint, painted the coffin white out of respect for the Master and his disciple.

Soon the burial site became a regular place of prayer for certain religious persons in the region, who often left heartfelt offerings of flowers, fruit, and incense. One local devotee passed his fez around and collected enough to enclose the box in a marble sarcophagus. Then another eager follower of the anonymous great being within the tomb built an altar before the tomb, and others enclosed the tomb and altar inside a temple, and before long many other true believers began to worship at the shrine of the unknown saint. The local priests were attracted to the new memorial, and of course, soon enough the incense vendors, fruit sellers, and florists heard of the place and set up businesses nearby to sell offerings to hundreds of seekers, dervishes, and pilgrims who came to worship.

Nasruddin by now was very busy running the shrine and had forgotten his sorrow. News spread far and wide that if a person prayed devoutly at the site, his or her prayers would be answered. The shrine drew larger and larger crowds of worshipers, who were all to glad to offer contributions, and from these funds a huge mosque was built. Soon the mosque became quite wealthy and famous, and several hundred people lived in the town that sprang up around it.

Eventually the news of the dargah reached Nasruddin’s village. When his pious father heard of it, he went on pilgrimage to see the great mosque. When Yousef arrived and beheld that it was indeed his own son as the famous mullah of the new holy land, he was overjoyed. He embraced his long-lost child and said, “I’m so pleased at your success, considering the family of failures you’re descended from. But tell me, my son, I am most curious to know — who is the great being buried here in this tomb?”

“O my unjustly proud father, what can I tell you‽” Nasruddin wept into Yousef’s arms. “The truth is: this is the dargah of the little grey donkey you gave me!”

“How peculiar and wonderful,” said Yousef, embracing his son, “that is exactly how it happened in my life. My shrine is that of a donkey that my father gave to me!”

~ ~ ~

My website is and the site for the book is

Thanks very much for coming and listening so beautifully, and thank you for this award.


Green Man Review of Immortal Mullah Nasruddin

by rjs
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Published on: June 29, 2011

The Green Man Review: The Roots and Branches of Arts and Culture


Ron J. Suresha: The Uncommon Sense of the Immortal Mullah Nasruddin

By Robert M. Tilendis, on June 26th, 2011

The subtitle calls The [Unc]ommon Sense of the Immortal Mullah Nasruddin a collection of “stories, jests, and donkey tales of the beloved Persian folk hero.” Nasruddin, though, is more than simply Persian — he’s an avatar of the Wise Fool found in folklore everywhere. In this case, as editor/author Ron Suresha notes, the Middle East is home to a genre of mullah (or sheikh) humor that draws on Persian, Turkish and Arabic tales that probably originally drew on each other and perhaps, in my own estimation, derive ultimately from something fairly universal in human lore.

The historical Nasruddin was a teacher, judge, courtier and community leader, transformed through the magic of folklore into a buffoon (and folklore does have a tendency to deflate the mighty). Suresha has given us a contemporary reworking of the tales (the stories fit for a general audience, at least — folklore also has a tendency to be somewhat raunchy, but those he has saved for another collection), organized according to the tradition of telling the stories of Nasruddin in sevens.

The stories themselves are told somewhat artlessly, and to Suresha’s credit he has maintained the direct, unadorned style that is a hallmark of folk tales. It’s roughly chronological, but only roughly: there are stories of Nasruddin’s childhood (and he was something of a flake, even then), his young manhood, his married life (some of the funniest), and stories of his later years, which give us the reigning image of the mullah: a white-bearded sage riding backwards on his beloved little grey donkey (a compromise, he claimed, between where he wanted to go and where the donkey was headed), followed by a gaggle of students.

This artless quality derives at least in part from Nasruddin himself, who is in the tradition of the Fool, one of nature’s innocents, with a direct way of looking at things that may not always make sense to the rest of us, but is always refreshing — Nasruddin seems to alternate between Village Idiot and Trickster, and one is never quite sure which is which at any given moment. Maybe it’s just that he marches to his own drummer — his contact with reality is sometimes delightfully loose.

I had thought to outline a couple of stories as examples, but they are so tight and so strongly interrelated — and as often as not, so brief — that I found them impossible to summarize. The groups each focus on a particular part of Nasruddin’s life, and are often built around the same events, coming in from different directions and often coming to different conclusions.

This is a collection to be taken in small doses. There is a pattern to the stories that too easily becomes repetitive if taken too many at a time, but in their groupings of sevens, they are a delightful break from the everyday world for an hour or two.

(Lethe Press, 2011)

Mr Tilendis is the Book Review Editor for Green Man Review.

Review in Storytelling, Self, Society

The Mullah offers 108 salaams to Dr Bird and to SSS for their fine review!

Our Old Friend, the Mullah:

A Review of

The Uncommon Sense of the Immortal Mullah Nasruddin

SSS cover

from Storytelling, Self, Society:

An interdisciplinary journal of storytelling studies

Volume 7, Number 2, April 2011, pp. 161 – 166


Our Old Friend, the Mullah: A Review of The Uncommon Sense of the Immortal Mullah Nasruddin

Sandra Bird

[S]uresha, Ron J. The Uncommon Sense of the Immortal Mullah Nasruddin: Stories Jests, and Donkey Tales of the Beloved Persian Folk Hero, Maple Shade: Lethe,  2011. $18.

The subtitle of Ron Suresha’s new collection of Nasruddin Khoja fables is Stories, Jests, and Donkey Tales of the Beloved Persian Folk Hero. It is always interesting to me that so many territories beyond the famed village of Aksehir, Turkey, lay claim to this popular persona. . . .

Suresha identifies the real strength of Nasruddin’s stories in context to world literature and story performance, that is, its power to build bridges between cultures. He relates a personal reference to the mullah stories, as they were [among the] the first stories he learned from his Israeli-American mother. Throughout his life he continued to collect these anecdotes, and as a young adult he found one of Idries Shah’s collections of Nasruddin stories on the shelves in an ashram library. . . .

The intended audience for Suresha’s collection is a contemporary audience of all ages. If the illustration cover by Sgott MacKenzie is any indication of a future market for this collection, we are likely to see Suresha’s book in use for secondary educational environments as well as personal libraries. Suresha refers to this text as a “contemporary retelling,” which is appropriate to the storytelling traditions of Turkey. The point of these stories is to speak to the audience in the language and metaphors that are familiar. Suresha acknowledges that he avoided the “more lurid and pejorative sexual, scatological, ethnic, racist, sexist and violent subjects,” but he [al]ludes to the possibility of including them in a forthcoming collection. I hope Suresha carries out this plan to bring the more compromising stories to an adult audience at a later date—after all, that is part and parcel of the trickster’s trade.

Sandra Bird, Ph.D., is Associate Professor of Art Education in the Department of Visual Arts at Kennesaw State University (GA).

Order the complete review in SSS from Informaworld here.

“Very highly recommended” — Midwest Book Review

by rjs
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Published on: February 12, 2011

The Mullah offers 108 salaams to MBR for their fine review!

from Midwest Book Review (Oregon, WI USA),

Small Press Bookshelf, Volume 10, Number 2, February 2011, The humor shelf

The Uncommon Sense of the Immortal Mullah Nasruddin

Ron J. Suresha

Lethe Press

9781590211755, $18.00

A good legend is something hard to keep down. “The Uncommon Sense of the Immortal Mullah Nasruddin: Stories, jests, and donkey tales of the beloved Persian folk hero” is a collection of short fiction original and retold from Ron J. Suresha as he grants readers an exploration of the legend of Nasruddin, beloved throughout the Middle East and Persia for centuries. “The Uncommon Sense of the Immortal Mullah Nasruddin” is a fine pick and very highly recommended. review, February 11, 2011

Out in Print review of Immortal Mullah Nasruddin

by rjs
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Published on: January 20, 2011

Out in Print review of Immortal Mullah Nasruddin

Reviewed by Jerry Wheeler

I don’t know where I’ve been for the last few thousand years, but I had never heard of the incomparable Mullah Nasruddin until last summer when I was discussing this project with Ron Suresha. The deliciously filthy anecdotes he shared with me do not appear in The Uncommon Sense of the Immortal Mullah Nasruddin, but in the introduction, Suresha promises an unexpurgated volume will follow. I certainly hope so.

For those unfamiliar with the great man, Nasruddin is a Persian folk hero with the “wise fool” characteristics carried down in the oral traditions of other cultures throughout the centuries. Suresha does a terrific job of tracing down Nasruddin’s pedigree in his highly readable introduction, but the real meat of the book is in the stories themselves, traditionally read in groups of seven.

Staunch traditionalist that I am, that’s exactly how I read them. Mullah Nasruddin emerges from these tales as a scholar, a wit, a fool, a counselor, a teacher and a lawyer—with many other roles in between. His wisdom is funny, universal and pointed, and there is much to be learned from the great Mullah. If, at times, some of the stories remind one of old vaudeville jokes, it’s important to remember that these tales are their antecedents.

“Young Nasruddin decided to learn a musical instrument, so he called upon a music instructor. ‘How much do you charge for private lute lessons?’ asked the boy. ‘The lute is not an easy instrument to learn,’ answered the teacher. ‘I charge three silver coins for the first month and one silver piece for each month after that.’ ‘Fine,’ agreed Nasruddin, ‘I’ll start with the second month.’”

Rim shot, please.

But this is only one facet of a truly multi-faced character. His exchanges with the despotic Tamerlane are barbed and intelligent, and punchlines such as the one above are mere punctuation in the larger scope of the work. Suresha has also done a wonderful job of updating the language and cultural references but retaining the Old World flavor. Although there are no long, descriptive passages of the time or place, Suresha’s detailing is so precise that by the middle of the book, you can see the town of Aksehir as if it were right outside your window.

Is this a queer book? Er, uh …cough… no. But Suresha is a pillar of the gay/bi/bear lit community, and his projects always have diversity shining through their pages. So, take a break from the usual romances, vampires, angst and coming out stories and climb up beside Nasruddin riding his donkey—facing backwards, of course.

You just might get a whole new perspective.

New London Author Shares a Reading from His New Book

by rjs
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Published on: January 10, 2011
Lovely article by Christy Wood for on the premiere reading of the Nasruddin book

Ron Suresha at the Bean & Leaf, reading from his new collection of stories. Credit Christy Wood

New London Author Shares a Reading from His New Book

Ron Suresha Reads Persian Folk Tales at the Bean & Leaf on Sunday

By Christy Wood

In the aftermath of the weekend’s snowstorm, New Londoners gathered at the Bean and Leaf on Sunday to listen to local author Ron Suresha read stories from his collection The Uncommon Sense of the Immortal Mullah Nasruddin.  Nasruddin has been a popular folk hero in the Middle East for over 800 years; Suresha collected more than 350 stories featuring Nasruddin to include in his anthology, seeking to introduce the timeless folk hero and his humorous tales to a new, American audience.

Suresha is a native of Detroit, but has lived in New London for six years.  He studied creative writing at the University of Michigan and spent much of his adult life working in publishing.  Fifteen years ago Suresha decided that he wanted to collect the stories of Mullah Nasruddin and incorporate them in a modern, vernacular English text.

“The English text I found of the stories was written in the 1950s.  The language was imperial and stodgy,” says Suresha.  “I decided to do my own version.”

Over the following years Suresha read Nasruddin stories in Turkish, Hebrew, French, Spanish and German.  He compared dozens of texts to compile his own version, choosing 350 of the most popular stories and jokes for his new English translation.

Suresha has been a lifelong devotee of Mullah Nasruddin.  His mother, who is Israeli, told him the stories when he was a child, piquing Suresha’s interest in the ancient “wise fool.”

He spent much of his time writing and collecting the stories in local coffee shops, including the Bean and Leaf and Muddy Waters.  “I have my own home office,” said Suresha.  “But it would get kind of lonely, so I would go out and write elsewhere.”

The cover illustrator of The Uncommon Sense of the Immortal Mullah Nasruddin is also a local New Londoner, Sgott MacKenzie.

After the reading, attendees were treated to cake and given the opportunity to buy signed copies of the book.

The Uncommon Sense of the Immortal Mullah Nasruddin is available through Lethe Press, and can be downloaded to electronic book formats.  Suresha also maintains a Nasruddin website:, where new stories are posted regularly and links to other Nasruddin sites are provided.

“Immortal Mullah Nasruddin” named top 10 book

by rjs
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Published on: December 19, 2010

“Immortal Mullah Nasruddin” named top 10 book

Amos Lassen, GLBTQ book reviewer, included The Uncommon Sense of the Immortal Mullah Nasruddin on his list of top 10 GLBTQ books for 2010!

Schlepping through Books and Movies

Reviews by Amos Lassen

The Best GLBT Books of 2010—My List (with no thanks to

It is that time of year again when we make our best lists and for me I thought it would be easy to do after already having made a list through August. Yet there are surprises on this list because like Hollywood, publishers wait until the end of the year to bring out some of their best. Reviews of the books will be available in the next few days

…8. Ron Suresha, “The Uncommon Sense of the Immortal Mullah Nasruddin”. I  said in my review that these are stories to “mull(ah)” over. While not really a GLBT book, Suresha is a gay author who has given us the definitive Nasruddin stories.

Those are the top ten for now … Best wishes for a Happy New Year.

Great early review from Amos Lassen: “will be the definitive English version of the tales.”

by rjs
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Published on: November 22, 2010
A delightful review of TUSOTIMN from Amos Lassen:

“The Uncommon Sense of the Immortal Mullah Nasruddin”–stories to mull(ah) over

Suresha, Ron J. The Uncommon Sense of the Immortal Mullah Nasruddin: Stories, Jests, and Donkey Tales of the Beloved Persian Folk Hero, Lethe Press, 2011.

Stories to Mull(ah) Over

Amos Lassen

Nasruddin was a Persian folk hero whose stories were popular in the Middle East. What was wonderful about his stories was and the beauty of them was that one learned a lesson while laughing. Many of us are not privy to those stories — or at least we weren’t until now. Ron Suresha has taken the stories from eight centuries ago and retells them for our time.

Working with 350 stories that Suresha has amassed from many different sources and he gives what I am sure will be the definitive English version of the tales. The stories contain wit and wisdom and tell us about life, sometimes in ribald terms.

Suresha, in making sure that he is retelling the stories in the correct tradition, gives them to us in groups of seven as the stories were related seven at a time. In this way, we can mull over what they have to say and gradually build up Nasruddin wisdom a little at a time. He has also arranged the stories chronologically from Nasruddin’s youth to his death.

Nasruddin was a very wise man who had the gift of being able to make people laugh and as you read through the stories here you will feel the respect that Suresha feels for the man. His mother told him these stories when he was a kid and hence the relationship between himself and Nasruddin. He felt that the times had come to bring these stories to the English-speaking world and he actually began pushing for a publication some fourteen years ago. It was then, in 1997, that Suresha began his own modern retelling of the stories. His love for the stories is evident everywhere and that is one of the things that makes this book so special. He does not just retell the stories; he does so with love and respect.

Interestingly enough, these stories also provide food for thought and show us something about the culture of Persia and the Arab world. Nasruddin has a story for every occasion and one of the beautiful things about his stories is that they can be understood on several different levels.

While a story may cause a chuckle, you will think about for a while after reading it. It was Nasruddin’s philosophy to open “the listener’s (reader’s) heart with laughter, the tales provide a space for wisdom to enter”. Suresha has done the same thing in bringing us these stories and he has done so with style. I have always enjoyed reading Suresha’s work and this one differs a great deal from his other writings but the Suresha touch is still there. Having recently met Ron Suresha, I can tell you that he is much like Mullah Nasruddin — he can charm you with his wit and leave you musing over he said. We must all thank him for giving us the chance to read the stories of one of his heroes.

Undoubtedly you will notice that I have not included any sample Nasruddin stories here and that is because I want all of you to approach the book blindly and become swept up in one of the most enjoyable reads that you will ever have.

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Welcome , today is Saturday, April 10, 2021