The Secrets We Kept by Lara Prestcott: This is the story (fictionalised) of Boris Pasternak, who wrote Dr Zhivago which was banned by the Soviet authorities; and the woman who was his mistress for years (and was sent to the Gulag for her troubles); and two secretaries from the CIA typing pool in the US at the height of the Cold War, and charged with smuggling the manuscript out of Russia. It’s a really interesting look at that period – Soviet paranoia, the way ordinary citizens there lived their lives and the extraordinary ostracisation of a Nobel Prize winning author. North Korea Journal by Michael Palin: Who of course was a member of Monty Python, but in recent years has become really well known for his travel writing. He was invited to go to North Korea for a two week visit – it was filmed for a UK TV documentary – and he kept a day by day diary, describing what he saw (and his fleeting views of what the authorities didn’t want him to see). Highly illustrated with some terrific photos.