by Kit Darling
In February we discussed Brain on Fire: My Month of Madness by Susannah Cahalan. A memoir of her rapid descent from being a young reporter on the New York Post to convulsions, delusions and near catatonia and the struggle to get a diagnosis and treatment. A relatively unknown disorder, caused by the immune system attacking the brain was finally treated after multiple tests and the fortuitous meeting with a doctor who recognized the probable cause. Discussion ranged from the medical establishment, the effect of her journalism background on her writing and the fact that her brain biopsy was done on Good Friday and the lab results came back on Easter Monday – a foreshadowing that all would end well. A gripping and well written tale that could be an episode on television medical drama House.
And here are some recommended reads from our members, all of which are available from the Hamilton Public Library. Visit the Bookmobile at Bennetto Recreation Centre on Tuesday (2:30 to 4:30) and Thursday (6:00 to 8:00).
The Orchid Thief by Susan Olean
Welcome to the world of orchids, a $10 billion a year industry, where adventurers have hunted for rare orchids in an Indiana Jones style, where one rare orchid sold for $200,000 at auction in Japan. Meet the eccentric John Laroche who was convicted of stealing orchids from a protected preserve in swampy Florida. His story will give you a good glimpse into that passionate and competitive subculture. Funny, illuminating, and captivating, never dull.
Yiddish for Pirates by Gary Barwin
Short listed for the 2016 Giller Prize, local author Gary Barwin this literary romp is replete with pirates, persecution, a polyglot parrot and the Spanish Inquisition. While it has received a great deal of critical acclaim, this book is not for everyone. Given the title, you expect some Yiddish. Unfortunately, every page is dense with Yiddish words and phrases. The phrases are explained in the next sentence but not necessarily individual words. This reader found the book to be juvenile and exasperating. (Kit)
The Witches of New York by Ami McKay
McKay, author of The Birth House and The Virgin Cure, again delves into the world of unconventional women struggling to lead independent lives in a most conventional society. Set in the 1880’s, the story combines historical accuracy and realism within a framework of the occult. The characters are engaging and the book is beautifully structured. A good read. (Kit)
Have you read any of our recommendations? Liked any of the same books we talked about or disagreed totally? Let us know at firstname.lastname@example.org .