Thursday, 3 July 2014

Russian Lit Challenge 2014 - Check-In



Another challenge check-in and another challenge going along well.  My, it's nice to get these check-ins on near completed challenges instead of the ones I'm struggling through.  My challenge goal was to read three Russian novels and so far I have read three, so my challenge, theoretically is complete.


Both Eugene Onegin and Doctor Zhivago were re-reads.  I think I'm becoming a re-read advocate because each book that I've re-read has given me such a deeper understanding of the work, which, of course, increases my appreciation of it.  This quote pretty much sums up my experience:

“In truly good writing no matter how many times you read it you do not know how it is done. That is beacause there is a mystery in all great writing and that mystery does not dis-sect out. It continues and it is always valid. Each time you re-read you see or learn something new.”                ~ Ernest Hemingway


Palace Square in winter
source Wikipedia


But, of course, I'm not done; I'm going to continue with the challenge.  At least before the end of the year I have Fathers and Sons by Ivan Turgenev planned and in the summer I want to read Russian Thinkers by Isaiah Berlin.  The latter would count as a book for this challenge too ....... wouldn't it ......????

Does anyone have any other suggestions of Russian books that I simply must read?  Any suggestions are welcome!


20 comments:

  1. Even aside from the subject of the book, Berlin was actually born in Russia, so I say yes, definitely.

    I had to look this up. I realized I had no idea where Berlin was form. Riga, it turns out.

    I hope you enjoy the Turgenev - although I think that is not such a hard one to enjoy.

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    1. Good, I will take your "yes" and include it!

      I know nothing about Berlin, obviously, as his first name is Isaiah, not Isaac --- I've changed it. Boy, my old memory isn't as good as I think.

      I haven't read any Turgenev so I'm looking forward to our first introduction.

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  2. I completely agree with your observations about re-reading. Think about how many times a professor who specializes in an author or period has studied that same book. They've probably re-read some books 20 - 30 or even hundreds of times. Unfortunately, the other problem is that each time one re-reads, it's less to read a new book and there is so many great ones still out there!

    Have you read any Dostoevsky or Tolstoy?

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    1. There are certainly benefits and "problems" to re-reading. It amazes me that a classic can be read that many times and there is still something to get out of it.

      I've read a number of Tolstoy's works, however my first real exposure to Dostoyevsky was this year with The Idiot and, honestly, I felt that book remained elusive to me. I probably just need to read more of his works to get a feel for him. I've avoided reading The Brothers K and Crime and Punishment until I have more time to truly digest them, but since time seems generally to be in short order, perhaps I should dive right in. Do you have a favourite?

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    2. I have only read Brothers K and Crime and Punishment. I tried Notes from Underground, but failed to complete it.

      My favorite was definitely C&P. It's shorter than Brothers K, but it still has Dostoevsky's characteristic exploration of philosophical issues and psychologically unstable characters.

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    3. Thanks for the feedback! Anyone familiar with classics seems to have good things to say about both. Shorter books usually appeal to me, yet somehow I usually end up reading the longer ones. I have no idea why!

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  3. I loved "The Brothers Karamazov" and that warrants a re-read for me! I also really like the Hemingway quote about re-reading. For Father's Day, I got several of Tolstoy's shorter works. I'm looking forward to reading them. "The Idiot" has been on my shelf for a really long time. I should read it soon.

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    1. I expect The Brothers Karamazov to be Dostoyevsky's best. You know, come to think of it, I did read Tolstoy's Master and Man which I really liked. I would love to have someone else to bounce ideas about with regard to The Idiot. So read away! :-)

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  4. I am a re-reading freak. I re-read everything except works I strongly disliked.
    Fathers and Sons is an amazing character study. I definitely think you'll enjoy it.

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    1. I'm happy to hear another good report about Fathers and Sons. In fact, I don't think that I've heard anything negative about it.

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  5. I always enjoy reading your blog and have nominated you for "Inspirational Blogger Award"!
    Here is the link:
    http://ipsofactodotme.wordpress.com/2014/07/05/youre-kidding-right/

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    1. Inspiring?! Am I really?! I might have expected to be nominated for the Long-winded Blogger Award, but not this! ;-) Thank you so much, Nancy! I may take awhile to get around to posting it but, never fear, I will!

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  6. I found this Russian writer: Michail Sjisjkin (Moskou,1961). He is one of Russia's top writers. He lives in Zurich since 1995 and his books have won many prizes. I am reading one of his books just translated into Dutch. Perhaps you can find on of his books in English.

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    1. Thanks for the recommendation, Nancy. I found him under Mikhail Shishkin, who I think is the same guy. He has two novels, at least, that look like they are translated into English. Please let me know what you think of him when you finish his book. I'm now very curious!

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  7. You're right about re-reading.Even though you're already aware of what will happen in the story,the feelings just never fade! I read God of Small Things five times (I had to study it at school) and not once has it failed to move me.

    As far as Russian books are concerned,I have only read two: Anna Karenina and Crime&Punishment.The latter was good,but the former was of an unspeakable grandeur.... A mesmerizing experience it was to read Tolstoy's masterpiece.

    I have Brothers Karamazov at home and really want to read it,but if I do,it'll be last book I'll read before heading to university; it is such a big book that I don't want to rush through it.

    There's also The Master and Margarita,a popular Russian masterpiece,which,like Dostoevsky's book,I'll read most probably next year.

    As for War and Peace,it won't be for any time soon.Book 1 is as big as Anna Karenina!

    Eugene Onegin is on my Folio wish list,but it has not been so much discounted as to attract my attention.I will most likely have to wait for some more years before I'll see it satisfactorily discounted.
    I also hope they will publish Fathers and Sons in the coming years!

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    1. I loved Anna Karenina too. Oh and I did read The Master and Margarita. A very strange book but very fun to read!

      I also forgot about Gogol, he's another that I haven't read and am curious about. About the Brothers K, it's wise not to rush through it. I have the same plan.

      I absolutely LOVE all your Folio editions! I found a few sets on the Renaissance last week at a used book store, but they were around $65 and I just didn't have the money at the time. Nor the shelf space. I'm certainly in short supply of that!


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  8. Well done :D

    And Russian Thinkers definitely counts! After all I included the Virginia Woolf essay on Russian Lit!

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    1. Thanks, O! Oh yes, I'd forgotten about your Virginia Woolf essay. Russian Thinkers will be added. I'm looking forward to reading it once I clear away some books. I'm reading Tender is the Night right now, which is proving very painful and frustrating because I'd really rather be reading something (anything!) else. But I'm determined to push through.

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  9. Crime & Punishment - I liked it more than the Brothers K. I've loved everything I've read by Solzhenitsyn.

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    1. Yikes, I'd forgotten about Solzhenitsyn! And here I was so pleased that I spread out the challenge amount different authors. But now, at least I have a new one to discover!

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