Russ is always looking for a good book, movie, play, or conversation. Music, drawing, and history are favorite pursuits.

He recommends:

ISBN-13: 9780679733485
Availability: Usually Ships in 1-5 days
Published: Vintage, 2/1994

Calasso's protean imagination sorts through the poetry and philosophy of the ancient world in order to restore the mystery, wonder and relevance of the Greek myths for an adult reader.  (A perfect companion piece to Luc Ferry's Wisdom of the Myths.)

~ recommended March, 2014

ISBN-13: 9780465031474
Availability: Special Order - Subject to Availability
Published: Basic Books, 10/2012

An absolutely astounding book that radically altered my concept of history.  Grim going redeemed by the author's scrupulous quest to unearth the victims' stories and place them within the wider context of Hitler and Stalin's colossal social engineering.  A solid achievement that lingers in the mind long after.


~ recommended January, 2014

ISBN-13: 9780940322479
Availability: Usually Ships in 1-5 days
Published: NYRB Classics, 9/2000

A simple evocation of a country summer that deepens into a moving retrospective on life, love, loss, and the healing balm of art.

~ recommended October, 2013

Darkness at Noon (Paperback)

ISBN-13: 9781416540267
Availability: Usually Ships in 1-5 days
Published: Scribner, 10/2006

A gritty suspense novel spun from Moscow's show trials of the 30's.
Shades of Orwell, Camus, Kafka, and Fallada here.
A true believer is arrested. In prison, his willingness to create a living hell for a future utopia is confronted by Stalin's demand that he not only obey but willingly agree--to his own execution. Unsettling and thought-provoking page turner.

~ recommended April, 2013

ISBN-13: 9780307279484
Availability: Usually Ships in 1-5 days
Published: Anchor, 6/2007

A highly readable account of the Persian Wars that inspired Herodotus.  Tom Holland is a popular historian who can marshal the facts in an even-handed presentation while animating them with a novelist's dramatic flair for color, detail, and personality.   Insightful, entertaining, and perceptively relevant.

~ recommended January, 2013

The Giant, O'Brien (Paperback)

ISBN-13: 9780312426880
Availability: Usually Ships in 1-5 days
Published: Picador, 6/2007

A dark, unnerving fairy tale revolving around two drastically different modes of perception: the poetic world of folktales and fables embodied by the gentle bard O'Brien versus the dispassionate scientific method of scholar and surgeon John Hunter, the giant's nemesis.  Their fateful game of cat and mouse plays out in a vividly-sketched London during the Enlightenment.  A moving and unsettling drama of character and ideas. 

~ recommended October, 2012