Putin and the Perks of Online Dating - What I Read in January
One of my goals for 2018 is to read more books and to document my reads here on the blog. So, after finishing two books in January, I decided to write a little review.
The books, even though both non-fiction, deal with completely different topics. The first one, All the Kremlin's Men by Mikhail Zygar, follows the career of the Russian president Vladimir Putin from his rise to power until 2015, when the book was first published. Even though it’s loaded with facts, it’s not too difficult to read because of Zygar’s style: he gives all the important information and keeps things concise, but still manages to provide some more background to make the story easier to follow and even sneaks in a few anecdotes. For example, the one about Boris Berezovsky scheduling three meetings at the same time and then leaving for “banya” (traditional Russian sauna), forgetting all three of them, really made me laugh out loud. It’s obvious that Zygar is not a big fan of Putin, but he concentrates on facts supported by reliable sources rather than his own views. This made me feel like I was getting a sneak peek behind the scenes of Russian politics. I’d definitely recommend this book to anyone who’s interested in Russia, Putin, and the major political events of 2000 – 2015. And of course, with the upcoming presidential election drawing ever closer, now is a good time to gain some more insight into the topic.
The second book I read last month was a Christmas gift from my friend. Modern Romance by the actor/comedian Aziz Ansari and sociologist Eric Klinenberg explores the pros and cons of millennial dating, from swiping left and right on Tinder and sending the perfect first message to finally settling down with your soulmate. Ansari’s writing is witty and he cracks the occasional joke, but it’s not just another comedy act describing his dating experiences. He includes statistics and quotes from the participants of his research. He conducted interviews, asked people about their relationships and even travelled to Paris, Tokyo and Buenos Aires to find out more about dating outside the U.S. This chapter was probably my favourite, but I also enjoyed the comparison of dating in the past and in the online age. Did you know that most people used to marry someone that lived in their neighborhood, sometimes even in the same street or building? This seems really strange now, as our dating pool comprises the whole world and long distance relationships are getting ever more common. The sea of options and the many decisions we need to make in order to find “the one” are the main themes of the book, as it explores the desire to find a “true soulmate” as opposed to settling with a “suitable companion”. If you enjoy reading about love and relationships, this book is perfect for you – no matter if you’re single or taken.
What have you been reading lately?