Red Notice by Bill Browder – Book Club

Red Notice by Bill Browder
Red Notice by Bill Browder book club meeting at The Wine Lab


My latest book club read took me by surprise, in a good way. I never would have imagined liking a Russian finance and murder thriller. Yet Red Notice by Bill Browder turned out to be a very interesting story. Even when the author delved too deeply into financial, legal and illegal nitty gritty, it was still a page turner.

Red Notice by Bill Browder

Synopsis (an excerpt from Goodreads)

A real-life political thriller about an American financier in the Wild East of Russia, the murder of his principled young tax attorney, and his dangerous mission to expose the Kremlin’s corruption.

Bill Browder’s journey started on the South Side of Chicago and moved through Stanford Business School to the dog-eat-dog world of hedge fund investing in the 1990s. It continued in Moscow, where Browder made his fortune heading the largest investment fund in Russia after the Soviet Union’s collapse. But when he exposed the corrupt oligarchs who were robbing the companies in which he was investing, Vladimir Putin turned on him and, in 2005, had him expelled from Russia.

In 2007, a group of law enforcement officers raided Browder’s offices in Moscow and stole $230 million of taxes that his fund’s companies had paid to the Russian government. Browder’s attorney Sergei Magnitsky investigated the incident and uncovered a sprawling criminal enterprise. A month after Sergei testified against the officials involved, he was arrested and thrown into pre-trial detention, where he was tortured for a year. On November 16, 2009, he was led to an isolation chamber, handcuffed to a bedrail, and beaten to death by eight guards in full riot gear…

Review

The reason this book worked for me is because Browder’s manner of writing was straightforward. While some of the more business heavy content went over my head, I found myself very wrapped up in Browder’s voice and personal account of this crazy situation.

His early experiences as a young financier right through to his ongoing mission as a human rights activist were gripping. It was hard, at times, to believe that this was a true story being told by the protagonist himself. The corruption in Russia, as detailed by Browder, is unfathomable.

I’d be lying if I didn’t say there were times I thought Browder was a narcissistic workaholic. His family must have suffered such frustration at his hyper focus on anything but them. Not to mention the dangers Browder brought upon himself and his family coming up against an angered Putin.

Red Notice was however compelling, enlightening and scarily current as Browder and his continued efforts were featured in my local newspaper less than two months ago.

The book not only held my interest, but I passed it off to Tony and he read it in record time.

Despite my initial reservations, I would definitely say this was a book worth reading.

Side Note 1

Red Notice is not the only unexpected thing I’ve found myself into recently. Stranger Things is now on my watch list and I can’t stop!  Science fiction-horror? Definitely not my usual thing. But hey, maybe my taste in entertainment is finally evolving!

Side Note 2

In addition to reading Red Notice, I began my first audio book. I never read Americanah by Chimamanda Ngozi Adichie two book clubs ago, so decided I’d give it a try on audio. Not sure I’m the best person for audio books or that this book was a good one to start with, but I’m willing to see how it goes until the end.

Next Up

Where the Crawdads Sing by Delia Owens. Everyone is raving about this book. It is so popular, I am #260 on the library hold list!

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Hello 2019! I’m Ready For You.

2019 resolution-keep track of phone

A new year and my first blog post in three weeks. I’m not going to lie – I really enjoyed the break. The truth is, I have a weird love-hate relationship with technology and social media.  Suffice to say, there are times when I can only sing their praises – GPS and the cool Facetime filters I recently discovered with my sister and niece, ♥ Love! And then there’s the random Facebook rant when I can’t quite figure out what has happened to society. And please don’t get me started on Twitter. Good God! What is the President of the United States doing? That’s rhetorical!!! Please don’t answer – I can’t handle it.

So, in 2019 I’m redefining my relationship with technology and social media. I’m not 100% sure what that means quite yet, but I plan to introduce some kind of healthy change in that area. If technology can change as quickly and as much as it does, then I think the way I handle it should change too. More on that at a future time.

Have you made any changes in your technology or social media habits? I’d be interested to know how people have made peace with the ever-changing landscape of communication and information sharing.

What About Resolutions in 2019?

While my plan for online activity is not yet clear, I have decided to start off 2019 with a resolution or two that aren’t quite so dramatic. The first of which is easy –  stay the course. As far as my day to day goes, I feel like I’m in a good groove with my writing, the book, wifing, parenting and dog mommying. So, I’m going to stick with all of that.

Additionally, and this one is super basic, I’m going to keep track of my phone and keys. More so my phone. My whole family has a running joke, “Mom never knows where her phone is.” It’s true, for some reason I find it very difficult to keep track of, especially when I leave the house. I knew I had a problem when I left it at my sister’s, 45 minutes away, and I didn’t bother to retrieve it for three days.

Tony gave me some simple, yet solid, advice recently that I’m doing my very best to follow. He said he never leaves the house, or anywhere for that matter, without going through a mental checklist of:

  • Phone
  • Keys
  • Wallet

I’m trying very hard to get into this habit. It’s doesn’t solve the problem of losing my phone inside my house on the daily, but it has been helpful getting me out the door without having to run back in. Full disclosure, the struggle is real! Yesterday I got into my car without my car keys. Ugh! Always something.

Here’s to a healthy, happy and peaceful 2019! Good luck in making any resolutions you may have made a reality.

 

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Just In at Make It Yours! Boutique … Musing Mediterranean

Musing Mediterranean is on shelves at a fabulous clothing store in Middleton called Make It Yours! Boutique.

 

I’ve recently come to know owner Sarah Garule through the North Andover Women’s Club. Sarah was one of several store owners who outfitted the models at the Women’s Club’s Holiday Glam Fashion Show in early November. She and her team are fantastic!

Make It Yours! Boutique has a great mix of fashions from everyday wear to evening out options. Shoes and accessories are also available and, lucky for me, a great selection of gift items. Candles, pottery, jewelry and now Musing Mediterranean are all in store at this stylish women’s boutique. They are perfect gifts for the holidays.

Make It Yours! Boutique is conveniently located right up Route 114 at 240b South Main St. in Middleton. You know, in the same plaza as Dairy Queen (I know that a little better than I should) 😉! Check it out and pick up a signed copy of Musing Mediterranean while you are there.

A Sneak Peek

Display at Make It Yours! Boutique
Some beautiful holiday options!

 

Front display at Make It Yours! Boutique
I’m obsessed with the booties, bottom right. They look so comfy!

 

Happy Shopping!

 

 

 

 

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Winterlights – A New Tradition in North Andover

I was so happy to be invited to the opening of Winterlights at The Stevens-Coolidge Place in North Andover. There is nothing like the twinkle of holidays lights to get a person in the holiday spirit. To have a wonderland of lights spread throughout the beautiful grounds of a historic home was nothing short of magical.

I snuck peak of this spectacular display  at dusk last Thursday night. I felt so happy to be frolicking through the luminaria lit paths and all I could think of was how wonderful this experience will be for little kids and their families.

The opportunity to walk the various gardens, identify each of Santa’s reindeer, stroll through the poinsettia filled greenhouse, warm my hands by the firepit and discover Santa’s den, where you can leave Santa a letter or meet him in person on December 15th, was quintessentially kid-like in the best way possible.

In addition to The Stevens-Coolidge Place, The Trustees have introduced Winterlights at their Nuamkeag property in Stockbridge, MA. Don’t miss the opportunity to brighten your season at either location.

Winterlights runs through December 30th and opens in Stockbridge this Thursday.

FYI

OPEN THURSDAYS – SUNDAYS through December 30th

Entrance to the gardens is ticketed in 15-minute increments between 5-8PM. Purchase your tickets in advance here. Choose your preferred location for your ticket options.
Members: $12
Nonmembers: $17
Children 12 and under: FREE

Fun For All Ages

While I know that little kids and their parents will love this, I fully intend to go back with my teenage daughters and husband. This is a family event that everyone is sure to enjoy.

More Information

For more detail visit thetrustees.org. and be sure to check out each Winterlights night’s featured entertainment such as Tetra-Fire performer, Crispelli on December 9th or Ice Princesses on December 29th. Full calendar of events here. Choose your preferred location to see the performances and activities near you.

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