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March Bibliolust

For a short month, February sure produced a lot of bibliolust. So much so, in fact, that this month’s installment is broken into two categories. One is books I’m slated to review in the immediate future. As if that list isn’t enough, the other category consists of books already checked out from or for which I am on the “hold” list at the local library.

Up for review:

“Socialism Is Great!”: A Worker’s Memoir of the New China, Lijia Zhang — Having garnered some good reviews when initially released last year, I decided to take a look at the forthcoming paperback edition of this memoir of a Chinese woman born during the Cultural Revolution.

Magic Bus: On the Hippie Trail From Istanbul to India, Rory MacLean — One of several books on the list prompted by recent reviews. This one intrigued me because I’ve always wondered about those members of the “love generation” who took off for the east in search of enlightenment, dope or both.

Dangerous Laughter: Thirteen Stories, Steven Millhauser — I’m not usually big on short stories but the publisher’s description and the fact it made the 2008 NYT Most Notable list leads me to give it a shot.

A Free Life, Ha Jin — Another NYT Most Notable list entrant — this time from the 2007 list — the paperback release of this story of Chinese immigrants prompted me to take a look at something I missed when it was first released.

The Soul of Medicine, Sherwin Nuland — Although I haven’t read much of his work since then, I enjoyed Nuland’s 1994 National Book Award winning How We Die enough that I thought I’d take a look at this forthcoming work.

From the library:

The Bloody White Baron: The Extraordinary Story of the Russian Nobleman Who Became the Last Khan of Mongolia, James Palmer — Let’s see. What isn’t there to intrigue me about the true story of a Baltic German Russian Buddhist officer in the Russian military who believes he is the incarnation of Genghis Kahn and becomes the dictator of Mongolia?

American Rust, Philipp Meyer — Mucho hype and buzz that even compares this debut novel to John Steinbeck leads to it getting on the reserve list when it showed up in the forthcoming library holdings.

Losing My Religion: How I Lost My Faith Reporting on Religion in America-and Found Unexpected Peace, William Lobdell — After hearing an interview with him on NPR, I read Lodbell’s LA Times essay and have been looking forward to the release of his book since.

Lowboy, John Wray — Another debut novel with tons of hype and buzz.


To me reading isn’t a progression of events, it’s a sensory wash; every part of the imagination is engaged, verbal, visual, empathetic, olfactory. Reading is a virtual reality that’s entirely personalised to you.

Ian McDonald, “How Soon is Now?

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