Thursday, October 11, 2007

Russian selections. . .

for Sharon's 2008 Russian Reading Challenge. We're to read at least four over the course of the year.

A quick scan of the shelves gave me today's Thursday Thirteen:

1. Smoke. Ivan Turgenev
2. The Fatal Eggs. Mikhail Bulgakov
3. The Master and Margarita. Mikhail Bulgakov
4. White Walls. Tatyana Tolstoya
5. A Life in Letters. Anton Chekhov
6. Stories. Anton Chekhov
7. The Idiot. Fyodor Dostoevsky
8. House of the Dead. Fyodor Dostoevsky
9. Pale Fire. Vladimir Nabokov
10. The Enchanted Wanderer. Nikolai Leskov
11. Resurrection. Leo Tolstoy
12. Short Works of Leo Tolstoy
13. The Earth and Sky of Jacques Dorme. Andrei Makine

I'm tempted to warm up to the challenge by reading Clair Huffaker's The Cowboy and the Cossack at some point this fall--a 4,000-mile cattle drive across Siberia sounds good to me.

And if anyone is interested in another set-in-Russia but written by a non-Russian, may I recommend James Meek's The People's Act of Love?

Its setting is an isolated village in Siberia near the end of the Russian revolution. A small band of Czech soldiers stationed there would like to return home, but their captain's gone insane and prefers to stay. Most of the villagers are religious castrates; their leader, however, had been married before his conversion, and his beautiful, angry "widow" and their son have now taken up residency in the town. Into the mix comes Samarin, an escaped political prisoner from a remote camp, telling of a fellow excapee who'd intended to cannibalize him and is fast on his heels.

One of my favorite books from last year, most definitely.


  1. Nice list. Pale Fire is one of my favorites. I'd like to read more Chekhov and some Turgenev ... if I weren't dead set on not joining any more challenges, I might sign up for this one ...

  2. It's just four books. Four books in twelve months. . .

  3. Anonymous2:11 AM

    I haven't read any of those. The only Russian autor I have read is Solshenitsyn.


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