Posted By Sandra Alland

I forgot to update you on my oh-so-hopeful trip to the NHS to do something about my ever-worsening chronic pain. If you recall, the doctor told me she was going to do some research and get back to me. I almost danced home, thinking: Well at the very least I'll get a referral somewhere! Hope, sweet hope.

But her "research" arrived in the post, and well... it appears she searched "fibromyalgia" on google and photocopied the results! What brilliant investigative work my friends. I've only had it for 6 years, thanks for telling me the symptoms! Argh. Ah, Britain and the 3-minute-per-patient limit. Ah, modern medicine...

Speaking of fibromyalgia, Mattilda Bernstein Sycamore has written a stunning new novel, So Many Ways to Sleep Badly, that contains the first accurate descriptions I've read of what fibro feels like (and what it's like to have pigeons in your ceiling). Honestly, that's enough to recommend the book alone. But it's also a brilliantly-written account of life in San Francisco during the invasion of /war on/occupation of Iraq, and of a writer trying to flourish and love among anonymous hook-ups, sex work, messed-up friends, the hope of a boyfriend, incest flashbacks, and various infestations in her apartment. It's written in a strange journal-like stream-of-consciousness, with no real plot to speak of, but I was turning the pages faster than in any thriller. Sycamore is funny, smart, has kick-ass gay shame and anti-fascist politics, and can even pluck your little heartstrings with descriptions of fuzzy sea lions without making you puke. Not for the faint of heart, but then if you were faint of heart, why would you be on my blog? Now go buy the book! It's a balm in these bad times, and a relief from the bad writing that clogs up bookshops.

Lucky me is hosting the Toronto launch, and reading with Lady Mattilda November 3rd. Get tickets at This Ain't the Rosedale Library for free before November, they're $5 at the door. The door is The Boat, on Augusta in Kensington Market. Also reading are the wonderful Tara-Michelle Ziniuk, Stacey May Fowles and Hal Niedzviecki. 



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