Friday, 5 February 2010

Look pills!

I have decided today, for the first time in nearly three weeks, to try and go without any painkillers! I had really bad back pain Tuesday and Wednesday this week due to the Shingles and have been taking a combination of Ibruprofen and Co-codemol to keep the shooting pains in my left side in check but this morning when I got up, my back didn't hurt anywhere near as much as it has done. There is some aching right now but it is bearable and the shooting pains are greatly reduced though still present so am going to try and get through the day without the pills!! That may change later however.....meanwhile I am about halfway through reading Slumdog Millionaire or Q And A as it was formerly known, Though not as good as the film (and is that because I saw the film first?) it is still a great book all about a young boy growing up in the slums of India who finally manages to come good!

Continuing my list of 1001 books to read before you die, my next choice is another couple of books that I have mentioned before. Again I am including them both together because they are written by the same author but also because they cover a related subject. I am talking of course about (4)Wild Swans and Mao;the untold story both written by Jung Chang, but the latter also in collaboration with her husband Jon Halliday. I first encountered Wild Swans when it was chosen as the book choice for a read-a-long with my online book group that I infrequently visit. A read-a-long is where you read one chapter a week of a chosen book so that you can discuss each chapter as you get to it collectively rather than reading the whole thing and then talking about it. Wild Swans talks about three generations of Jung Chang's family and the hardships they all experienced growing up in China. It was a highly engrossing read and I remember being quite shocked in an early chapter reading details about foot-binding and how they would break the toes of Chinese women to constrict their feet. I had heard of such practices but to actually read the grisly details of how it is done left me breathless. This was just one of several moments when I was shocked and disturbed by what I was reading and yet, I had to carry on because I felt as though I was being enlightened by another way of life of which I confess I knew very little. When I had finished Wild Swans, I felt like I wanted to know more about the regime in which these people lived.And so it was that I picked up Jung Chang's companion volume which claims to be the definitive biography of Mao. This was much harder going but very rewarding and revealed details of this Dictator's life which had never been allegedly examined before. There is some suggestion that some of the details rasised in her book have since been refuted but as China, by it's very nature, is a very private Country from which very little truth escapes I am more inclined to believe something written by someone who lived under Mao's rule rather than anything written by someone from outside. And whether or not the book is entirely accurate, there is no question that any other book since or before has been so concise and so detailed or revealed so much about a man who is still reverred by the Chinese people long after his death; despite the fact that he was responsible for the deaths of millions!

Both these books are compulsive reading and I would not hesitate to reccommend them to anyone!!

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