Had a little trouble sleeping over night – we have a wind chime that gets a little overexcited when the wind does. I have a routine these days, though, for when I’m awake in the middle of the night and my brain starts racing. I listen to something in my headphones – I have a convenient tiny pillow for my headphones that my wife made for me.
Typically this is something boring, the thing I listen to, because, well I want to go back to sleep. This morning, though, I put on a book I’ve been wanting to listen to but haven’t got around to, and I recommend it highly. It’s called Secondhand Time, by Svetlana Alexievich, and it’s fascinating. I’ve always been curious about what the end of the Soviet Union was like – those crazy years that started with Chernobyl and gathered steam all the way up through perestroika and culminating in an August 1991 coup attempt that failed dramatically and took the Soviet Union with it. But although you could get the official historical record of that time, the real question – that being, what was it like for regular people – was obscured behind big narratives.
This book really gets into the feelings and opinions that Russians have about the violent change they experienced in the 1990s. It was hard. It was revolutionary. And it was interesting. For some, it was devastating. For others, it was the greatest thing that could have happened to them. For most, it was a mixed bag.
Anyway, probably should have been sleeping at 4 a.m., but, hey, you only live once.