Cozy up with great reads for October
Did you watch “The Americans”? I was late to the party and had to binge watch all six seasons; it was worth every second.
If you liked the series or are just curious about the current state of Russia, you may enjoy the novel “A Terrible Country” by Keith Gessen. The protagonist, like the author, was born in Russia but moved with his family to the U.S. at age 5. In the book, the narrator returns to Russia to help care for his elderly grandmother who is declining from dementia. He delivers an honest portrayal of life in urban Russia in 2008 while he struggles to fit in as well as considers how to return to the U.S. Remember Martha shopping in the grocery store after she is smuggled off to the USSR in “The Americans” and the sadly empty grocery shelves? It’s not that terrible, but still grim.
If you missed the story about Elizabeth Holmes and her astounding plundering of Silicon Valley venture capitalists, read “Bad Blood: Secrets and Lies in a Silicon Valley Startup” by John Carreyrou. He is The Wall Street Journal writer who followed a tip and helped expose her massive fraud and eventual collapse of one of the first “Unicorns.” I cannot understand how she mesmerized all those investors. Watching her interviews and TEDtalk on YouTube, she is clearly a sociopath. The book is a fascinating and compelling read. I am not sorry they all lost money, and she deserves jail.
When you just want a good crime story:
“How It Happened” by Michael Koryta: A grisly story set in Maine in the midst of the drug epidemic.
“The Dry” by Jane Harper: Set in small town Australia, you will feel the heat as you read the twisted story.
“Sunburn” by Laura Lippman: Noir story of a conniving, manipulative woman and man. Who is honest, who is the victim? You decide.
“The Woman Who Smashed Code” by Jason Fargone is an incredible history lesson about Elizabeth Smith Friedman, who was plucked off the street in Chicago to work for an eccentric wealthy businessman in his research park deciphering codes. At the height of WW I she invented the science of cryptology. She went on to use her skills to capture smugglers, gangsters and other criminals.
“Behind the Beautiful Forevers” by Katherine Boo is a vivid, excruciatingly honest yet unsentimental description of life in Mumbai for those born into the lowest class and their efforts for a better life.
Becky Bechhold is a Daniel Island resident who describes herself as “a voracious reader.” Prior to moving to the island, she was part of a book club that had met for over 20 years. She has a record of all the books they read!