What to Read When Your Country Is Invaded by Russians


The news this week revealed that newly appointed Attorney General Jeff Sessions lied under oath to congress when he said he had no prior meetings with the Russian ambassador. Oops. This plus the hacking, plus, well, everything means that trouble is brewing. So, to prepare for the inevitable invasion, here is a little light reading. Also, make sure you start lifting some kettlebells—or at least copies of Dostoevsky.


Koba the Dread by Martin Amis

This should be required reading for anyone who has parents who voted for Trump. Amis’s father, Kingsley Amis, supported Stalin and that was fun for them. This book is an incisive skewer to the blindness of the international community toward Stalin, making it a very timely read.

The Book of Laughter and Forgetting by Milan Kundera

In this novel, Kundera describes the personal and political costs of willful forgetting and the cruelty of circles and also, it kind of makes you terrified of children, if you weren’t already. A bonus is reading it and suddenly understanding why Jonathan Safran Foer writes how he does. That’s right, Foer, we are onto you.

Dead Souls by Nikolai Gogol

This book is a dark satire of the inefficiencies of Russia under the tsars. It is outlandish and also, given our political climate, not that outlandish. Enjoy the prescient epigrams like, “However stupid a fool’s words may be, they are sometimes enough to confound an intelligent man.” Read it and laugh, but also cry. Cry a lot, because it’s coming for us.