A nice surprise parcel from Coffee House Press this week and a couple of books and plenty of catalogues to browse. I have been dying to read Firmin: Adventures of a Metropolitan Lowlife by Sam Savage ver since Bluestalking in Chicago gave it the thumbs up. Someone mentioned a book on China in the comments this week so perhaps The Last Communist Virgin by Wang Ping will fit the bill, Louise Erdrich calls it wickedly funny and I love all things Louise Erdrich so we'll see.
Still in that part of the world Atomic Sushi by Simon May and this arrived from Alma Books. Simon May was the first British Professor of Philosophy since 1882 to be invited to teach at Tokyo University.I've made a start on this and it's clear that just walking in the door of the university was going to require certificates above and beyond the usual GCSE/ A Level / Degree / Doctoral thesis standard.This is a great modern perspective on all that recent Japanese reading.
Tramps Like Us by Kristen Buckley, a memoir about growing up in the suburbs of New Jersey is billed as" wickedly irreverant", well I love a bit of that.
In complete contrast Take Off Your Party Dress by Dina Rabinovitch is a searingly honest account of her encounter with breast cancer and must be added to the current list of very well-written books on the subject.After reading and posting here about Cancer Vixen by Marisa Acocella Marchetto I'm gathering up good examples of these books for the Patient's Library in the surgery.They are moving into reality and telling it like it is after years of skirting around the subject and suggesting you should have eaten more tofu or something.More about this soon and yes Dina, I agree, "that" machine (the Squashogram) can only have been invented by a man, no woman would even have considered such an instrument of torture.
Finally, I am thrilled to have in my hands a copy of Dark Hearts of Chicago by William Horwood and Helen Rappaport. I reviewed William Horwood's Skallagrigg here and billed it as one of the very few books ever to make me actually burst into tears (P622) and this one is a collaboration with Helen who is a historian with a special interest in, amongst other things Mary Seacole, Florence Nightingale and the Crimean War. I've blogged about Mary Seacole too so much more about Helen Rappaport's other latest book No Place For Ladies: The Untold Story of the Women in the Crimean War very soon. My copy has just arrived from Aurum Press who also publish Imran Ahmad's Unimagined.
Meanwhile Dark Hearts of Chicago is a page-turner of a historical thriller and I should know because right now I can't quite turn the pages fast enough.