Some suspenseful Russian History
This little challenge has been fun so far. Today's question is:
What are your bedtime reading habits?
I often read in bed. When I first wake up in the morning (since being retired) it is a real luxury to pick up a book with my first morning cup of coffee and read anything on the pile next to me. It could be yesterday's newspaper, book blogs that have just been posted, a book I put aside the night before or a magazine. I love magazines but not celebrity ones. Australia Road Rider (motorbike riding around the world) and Good Reading Magazine (books) are my two favourites with the occasional Delicious (ABC TV Food Mag) or ABC Gardening Australia.
I get inspiration from the day knowing people are out there doing all kinds of fun things.
Night time is a good time to read if I'm not too tired. However I am often too tired at night to hold and read a book for a long time. I have MS and the fatigue sometimes kicks me around a bit. So I use this time for working on my 300 piece computer jigsaw puzzles or my art books that encourage a bit of sketching, colouring, designing while I listen to audio books. I love the soothing voices of an audio book, it is like being read to sleep though sometimes I go way too late into the night. I also enjoy reading first thing in the morning or last thing at night because my 2 cats and 3 dogs are generally settled, my other half is either asleep or reading and the house is quiet. No interruptions. Lovely.
Last night I finished Alex Goldfarb & Marina Litvinenko Death of a Dissident - The Poisoning of Alexander Litvinenko and the Return of the KGB. Had this been a book I never would have picked it up from the library as it is a big book and the topic would have seemed dry.
However I was riveted to this story. It is an amazing book and although absolutely shocking I learned so much about Russian history since the cold war, the terrible power struggles of the previous political leaders to take over during and after the Chechen War and found the atrocities soul destroying.
Shasta Litvinenko was a former Russian intelligence officer, who defected from Russia and became a British citizen, who in 2006 was poisoned by a rare radioactive element called polonium. His death was an incredibly tragic affair and horrendous event. It was as though a tiny nuclear bomb had gone off inside of him. It took quite awhile to determine his diagnosis and this type of poison could only have come from the highest echelons of the Russian political community. Before he died he wrote a letter outlining who organised the killing, blaming Putin and the entire incident caused an international outrage.
The book outlines the power struggles, the events that occurred after the break up of the former Soviet Union and the lengths people would go to in order to retain or obtain political clout. I found the history of Putin quite interesting as he grew up in a hard neighbourhood, always wanted to fit in with gang cultures and according to the authors didn't mind what cause he supported as long as he was part of a group, part of the family of decision makers. He came to power as an unknown during the second Chechen war from a KGB past. He seemed to be the type of person that didn't care who got in his way, he would win at all costs. The writers discussed the Moscow theatre gas attacks that killed so many people and the take over of the public school where so many students died as terrorist attacks organised by the Putin regime.
I thought it would be a difficult story to keep track of but the authors were very organised in outlining who everyone was, their roles, their objectives and what happened in such a way I had no difficulty following the story. It was easier to hear the Russia n names pronounced by the narrator instead of trying to pronounce them in my head. The narrator was Pete Bradbury who did a wonderful job of reading the story. Alex Goldfarb was Sasha's (Alexader) best friend and Maria Litvinenko was his widow. I remember quite clearly, as will most people when this event occurred as it was only a few years ago. So much happens in the book and I really was on the edge of my seat while listening to it. I would recommend this narrative to anyone who has any interest in history, especially that of Russia or is just amazed at what humans are capable of in such a negative fashion.