Friday, February 1, 2013

New and Notable Titles in Freading eBooks

The Day My Brain Exploded, by Ashok Rajamani (Memoir)
After a full-throttle brain bleed at the age of twenty-five, Ashok Rajamani, a first-generation Indian American, had to relearn everything: how to eat, how to walk and to speak, even things as basic as his sexual orientation. With humor and insight, he describes the events of that day (his brain exploded just before his brother’s wedding!), as well as the long, difficult recovery period. In the process, he introduces readers to his family—his principal support group, as well as a constant source of frustration and amazement. Irreverent, coruscating, angry, at times shocking, but always revelatory, his memoir takes the reader into unfamiliar territory, much like the experience Alice had when she fell down the rabbit hole. That he lived to tell the story is miraculous; that he tells it with such aplomb is simply remarkable.
Reviews
"In this frank and witty account of his own brain "explosion," Rajamani describes in vivid detail the circumstances leading to the injury, and its devastating aftermath on both his family and himself, including chronic epilepsy and a freak form of blindness affecting the left-side of each eye.  With disarming drollery, the author also recounts his racism-ringed upbringing as an Indian American in white-dominated suburban Chicago.  Shedding much-needed light on a little-known medical trauma, Rajamani's sharp-edged prose is both informative and inspiring." - Booklist
"First-time author Rajamani delivers a fascinating look at his life and his recovery as a brain-injury patient that is both heartbreaking and uplifting." - Publisher's Weekly

Hikikomori and the Rental Sister: A Novel, by Jeff Backhaus
Thomas Tessler has cloistered himself in his bedroom and shut out the world for the past three years. His wife, Silke, lives right in the next room, but Thomas no longer shares his life with her, leaving his hideout only occasionally, in the wee hours of the night, to pick up food at the grocery store around the corner from their Manhattan apartment. Unable to cope with a devastating loss, Thomas has become isolated and withdrawn. He is hikikomori.
Desperate for one last chance to salvage their life together, Silke hires Megumi, a young  Japanese immigrant attuned to the hikikomori phenomenon, to lure Thomas back into the world. Fleeing from her own shattering experience, Megumi has buried her pain in a fast life spent in nightclubs with nameless men. Now she will try to help Thomas and Silke as a “rental sister,” as they are known in Japan. At first Thomas remains steadfast and sequestered, but as he grows to trust Megumi, a deepening and sensual relationship unfolds. 

Reviews
“A mesmerizing debut at once sorrowful, intimate, and optimistic . . . Told in crisp and lyrical prose and a nontraditional narrative that shifts between first- and third-person, Backhaus’s novel is courageous and spare, an enthralling success.”—Booklist, starred review
"His writing, which is as clear and direct as flowing water...charts the hazardous path to a restored future." --The Wall Street Journal
"[a] quiet but poignant exploration of loneliness and self-discovery..." --USA TODAY (3.5 out of 4 stars)
"Told in a simple cadence that's almost poetic in its plainness, this elegant novel doesn't take long to read but leaves indelible impressions in its wake." --iBookstore (Editors' Choice)