Michael McColly’s The After-Death Room: Journey Into Spiritual Activism (Soft Skull) takes its name not from some ghostly limbo but from a brutally corporeal chamber at a Thai AIDS clinic: a “museum” reeking of formaldehyde that contains the preserved corpses of seven of the clinic’s dead. For McColly, a bisexual HIV-positive journalist and yoga teacher, it’s yet another of the callous indignities visited upon the overwhelmingly poor and powerless victims of the pandemic. Throughout this memoir of a ground-level odyssey through AIDS hotspots of the world–Cape Town, Chennai, Bangkok, Ho Chi Minh City, Dakar, and the south side of Chicago, the author’s hometown–McColly struggles with the complications of his place in the story. His HIV status opens doors, but his relative health and wealth set him a world away from his subjects, who grapple with challenges he can barely comprehend. An intimate, empathetic look at the global face of AIDS, The After-Death Room is also a revelatory (and at times painfully self-conscious) exploration of one man’s efforts to come to terms with his fears and desires in the hope of better understanding not only himself but the whole wide world. a Tue 11/28, 7 PM, Chicago Cultural Center, Claudia Cassidy Theater, 78 E. Washington, 312-744-6630 or 877-394-5061.