The Book of the Week is “The Merry Baker of Riga” by Boris Zemtzov, published in 2004. This book described the difficulties of operating a bakery in Riga, Latvia in the 1990’s (just after the fall of Communism).
Latvia used to be a Soviet territory. The half-American author was a businessman and part-owner of said bakery. Latvian culture was largely to blame for the poor profitability of the capitalist venture, which lasted only a few years. Language and sanitation were among the myriad problems Zemtzov encountered.
Whenever an employee had a birthday or there was an excuse for a celebratory social gathering (which was often), the consumption of alcohol ensured that nothing got done the whole afternoon. Alcohol consumption also played a part in a bad experience Zemtzov had with a contractor who was supposed to complete a renovation job in his home.
Nevertheless, Zemtzov described an aspect of Latvian culture that this American blogger found to be quite funny: on one’s birthday, one is woken up at the crack of dawn by his or her loved ones, is wished a happy birthday, and has a birthday gift shoved in his or her face.
In sum, this was an entertaining tale.