Author Topic: What are you currently reading?  (Read 1125422 times)

0 Members and 1 Guest are viewing this topic.

Offline Artem

  • Veteran member
  • *
  • Posts: 1100
Re: What are you currently reading?
« Reply #10820 on: April 26, 2021, 10:38:52 AM »
politically I am a staunch and unrepentant Russophobe, culturally I am a staunch and unrepentant Russophile.  :D
As a Russian I would cosign this. Fully agree with you sentiment.

What I meant about the early 20th century, is that so much artistic talent had been suppressed in the second half of that century.

Offline Florestan

  • Veteran member
  • *
  • Posts: 22133
  • Ion Minulescu (1881-1944), Romanian poet
  • Location: Bucharest, Romania
Re: What are you currently reading?
« Reply #10821 on: April 26, 2021, 10:56:56 AM »
As a Russian I would cosign this. Fully agree with you sentiment.

I'm only too glad, Artyom (that's the right transliteration, ain't it?  8) )

Quote
What I meant about the early 20th century, is that so much artistic talent had been suppressed in the second half of that century.

Tentatively suppressed yes, agreed --- but never succesfully so. The Russian spirit, just like any other nation's spirit, can never be suppressed. Tyrants come and go --- artists, especially great ones, let alone geniuses, always remain.

Здраствуйце, мой друг! --- and rest assured this is not mere Google Translate at work; I've studied Russian for 4 years in my secondary school --- I can fluently read, if not always completely understand, Russian --- but the above greeting has been in my vocabulary for a long time! I can even sign my name in Russian --- see here:

https://www.good-music-guide.com/community/index.php/topic,304.msg1345220.html#msg1345220

 :-*
« Last Edit: April 26, 2021, 11:00:16 AM by Florestan »
“I love melody, I love to sing. I refuse to compose music only intended to be discovered and understood by future generations.” 

--- Carlos Guastavino (1912-2000), Argentinian composer

Offline Artem

  • Veteran member
  • *
  • Posts: 1100
Re: What are you currently reading?
« Reply #10822 on: April 26, 2021, 11:00:56 AM »
That's really cool, Florestan.  :)

Offline Florestan

  • Veteran member
  • *
  • Posts: 22133
  • Ion Minulescu (1881-1944), Romanian poet
  • Location: Bucharest, Romania
Re: What are you currently reading?
« Reply #10823 on: April 26, 2021, 11:17:12 AM »
That's really cool, Florestan.  :)

My Top 20th Century Russian writers, no particular order:

Yevgeny Zamyatin
Mikhail Bulgakov
Boris Pasternak
Nadezhda Mandelstam
Aleksandr Solzhenitsyn
Bulat Okudjava


Have not read yet but on my wishlist: Mikhail Sholokhov, Chingiz Aitmatov

“I love melody, I love to sing. I refuse to compose music only intended to be discovered and understood by future generations.” 

--- Carlos Guastavino (1912-2000), Argentinian composer

Online Brian

  • Veteran member
  • *
  • *
  • Posts: 22489
    • Brian's blog
Re: What are you currently reading?
« Reply #10824 on: April 26, 2021, 03:20:43 PM »
I've started to eye the humongous novels of Vasily Grossman. Someone talk me out of it! ...or into it?

Offline Artem

  • Veteran member
  • *
  • Posts: 1100
Re: What are you currently reading?
« Reply #10825 on: April 26, 2021, 09:43:09 PM »
You should definitely read it. Life and Fate is a great book, one of my favourites.

Offline Florestan

  • Veteran member
  • *
  • Posts: 22133
  • Ion Minulescu (1881-1944), Romanian poet
  • Location: Bucharest, Romania
Re: What are you currently reading?
« Reply #10826 on: April 27, 2021, 12:09:00 AM »
You should definitely read it. Life and Fate is a great book, one of my favourites.

+ 1. It's the 20th-century War and Peace.
“I love melody, I love to sing. I refuse to compose music only intended to be discovered and understood by future generations.” 

--- Carlos Guastavino (1912-2000), Argentinian composer

Offline vers la flamme

  • Veteran member
  • *
  • Posts: 2933
  • Location: Atlanta
Re: What are you currently reading?
« Reply #10827 on: April 27, 2021, 12:39:22 AM »
Yes, I read We by Yevgeny Zamyatin for my Russian literature in translation class back in college, but it's been about 7 years now. I probably owe it a reread.

Edit: Currently reading The End of the Affair, by Graham Greene.



I'm not very far into the book but I am liking it so far.
« Last Edit: April 27, 2021, 12:43:36 AM by vers la flamme »

Online Brian

  • Veteran member
  • *
  • *
  • Posts: 22489
    • Brian's blog
Re: What are you currently reading?
« Reply #10828 on: April 27, 2021, 07:55:17 AM »
The Mel Brooks movie is worth watching!

Offline vers la flamme

  • Veteran member
  • *
  • Posts: 2933
  • Location: Atlanta
Re: What are you currently reading?
« Reply #10829 on: April 27, 2021, 12:34:05 PM »
My Top 20th Century Russian writers, no particular order:

Yevgeny Zamyatin
Mikhail Bulgakov
Boris Pasternak
Nadezhda Mandelstam
Aleksandr Solzhenitsyn
Bulat Okudjava


Have not read yet but on my wishlist: Mikhail Sholokhov, Chingiz Aitmatov

Of these I've only read Zamyatin and Bulgakov, strongly preferring the latter—Master & Margarita is a brilliant book, as is the shorter Heart of a Dog which I read for the aforementioned Russian lit class. (Coolest class in college, one of the few I remember in much detail.) Would love to read Pasternak, Solzhenitsyn and Grossman who you didn't mention in this post but did elsewhere. Can't say I know of the others you mentioned. I'm a budding literary Russophile though I've only read the biggest of big names: Tolstoy, Dostoevsky, Chekhov, Turgenev, and Pushkin. Though my big focus of this year is Japanese literature I would love to spend a year doing a deep dive of exploring all the great Russians I have yet to read. The Brothers Karamazov is one of my most memorable (re)reads of 2021 so far. What a book.

Online Brian

  • Veteran member
  • *
  • *
  • Posts: 22489
    • Brian's blog
Re: What are you currently reading?
« Reply #10830 on: April 27, 2021, 04:20:59 PM »
Read Gogol!!

I have read some Pasternak and Solzhenitsyn but it was a long time ago. Gogol's stories and unfinished novel are spectacular. Last year during the early pandemic I decided to jump right in and read all of War and Peace.

Another dissident fiction writer during the Soviet years who deserves attention is Andrey Platonov. Some of the short stories are powerful indeed.

Offline Artem

  • Veteran member
  • *
  • Posts: 1100
Re: What are you currently reading?
« Reply #10831 on: April 27, 2021, 09:37:22 PM »
For Platonov I'd recommend his novel Chevengur from the 1920s. It's really dark and wild.

Petersburg by Andrei Bely
Cynics by Anatoly Marienhof
Novel With Cocaine by Mark Ageev

Bely's writing is more on the symbolism, mysticism side of things, but it's really great. Mariengof and Ageev are super gloomy in that pre/post revolutionary doom, death and disintegration.

The best contemporary writer to me is Vladimir Sorokin. I think NYRB had some of his books published. Earlier ones are the best.

On another note, here's a cool list for book lovers: https://www.dw.com/en/buddenbrooks-to-hooligan-links-to-100-german-must-reads-and-their-publishers/a-46289646
« Last Edit: April 27, 2021, 09:39:34 PM by Artem »

Offline Florestan

  • Veteran member
  • *
  • Posts: 22133
  • Ion Minulescu (1881-1944), Romanian poet
  • Location: Bucharest, Romania
Re: What are you currently reading?
« Reply #10832 on: April 27, 2021, 11:19:45 PM »
Read Gogol!!

Seconded. Dead Souls and The Government Inspector are absolute masterpieces and so are some his novellas and short stories.

Another great Russian book is Ivan Gontcharov's Oblomov, one of the most fun and melancholy books I've ever read. Dostoievsky, Tolstoy and Tchekhov held this writer in high esteem.
“I love melody, I love to sing. I refuse to compose music only intended to be discovered and understood by future generations.” 

--- Carlos Guastavino (1912-2000), Argentinian composer

Offline Florestan

  • Veteran member
  • *
  • Posts: 22133
  • Ion Minulescu (1881-1944), Romanian poet
  • Location: Bucharest, Romania
Re: What are you currently reading?
« Reply #10833 on: April 27, 2021, 11:35:17 PM »
Of these I've only read Zamyatin and Bulgakov, strongly preferring the latter—Master & Margarita is a brilliant book, as is the shorter Heart of a Dog which I read for the aforementioned Russian lit class. (Coolest class in college, one of the few I remember in much detail.)

I've seen Heart of a Dog dramatized as a play. Excellent. The White Guard, his other novel, is very good too.

Quote
Grossman who you didn't mention in this post but did elsewhere.

Life and Fate is one of the greatest 20th-century books.

Quote
Can't say I know of the others you mentioned.

Nadezhda Mandelstam was the wife of the poet Osip Mandelstam (imprisoned in Gulag on Stalin's direct order, where he died) and wrote two volumes of memoirs about his husband and what life was like in the USSR: Hope against Hope and Hope Abandoned. Worth reading.

Bulat Okudzhava was a Russian / Soviet songwriter, singer and writer of Georgian / Armenian backgground. I've read and very much enjoyed his novel  Nocturne: From the Notes of Lt. Amiran Amilakhvari, Retired (the Romanian title was translated differently and much shorter: The JOurney of the Dilettantes)
“I love melody, I love to sing. I refuse to compose music only intended to be discovered and understood by future generations.” 

--- Carlos Guastavino (1912-2000), Argentinian composer

Offline Florestan

  • Veteran member
  • *
  • Posts: 22133
  • Ion Minulescu (1881-1944), Romanian poet
  • Location: Bucharest, Romania
Re: What are you currently reading?
« Reply #10834 on: April 28, 2021, 12:16:50 AM »
On another note, here's a cool list for book lovers: https://www.dw.com/en/buddenbrooks-to-hooligan-links-to-100-german-must-reads-and-their-publishers/a-46289646

For Robert Musil I'd have chosen The Man without Qualities, for Joseph Roth I'd have chosen Radetzky's March, for Hermann Hesse I'd have chosen Steppenwolf, for Ernst Junger I'd have chosen On the Marble Cliffs.
“I love melody, I love to sing. I refuse to compose music only intended to be discovered and understood by future generations.” 

--- Carlos Guastavino (1912-2000), Argentinian composer

Offline Ganondorf

  • Full Member
  • *
  • Posts: 42
  • Location: Finland
Re: What are you currently reading?
« Reply #10835 on: April 28, 2021, 06:09:43 AM »
Finished re-reading Pride and Prejudice a couple of days ago. What a book!

Online Brian

  • Veteran member
  • *
  • *
  • Posts: 22489
    • Brian's blog
Re: What are you currently reading?
« Reply #10836 on: April 28, 2021, 06:37:23 AM »
Thanks for the Gontcharov rec, I will definitely investigate. Petersburg by Bely is an incredible riot of a book.

Offline steve ridgway

  • Veteran member
  • *
  • Posts: 2222
  • Location: Cheshire, England
  • Currently Listening to:
    The museum of musical modernism
Re: What are you currently reading?
« Reply #10837 on: April 28, 2021, 08:48:09 AM »
Astounding Science Fiction May 1942 from archive.org


Offline vers la flamme

  • Veteran member
  • *
  • Posts: 2933
  • Location: Atlanta
Re: What are you currently reading?
« Reply #10838 on: April 30, 2021, 01:07:48 AM »
Just finished rereading Philip K. Dick's The Man in the High Castle.



I enjoyed it much more this time around. I think the first time around I was expecting more dystopian tropes, like some kind of underground resistance movement that the characters are intimately involved with, but there's nothing of the sort to be found (besides a subversive book-within-a-book which ultimately plays into a very Dickian conclusion). Instead this book concerns itself primarily with the mundane, everyday interactions of a handful of people in an alternate reality. A surprisingly subtle book. Anyway, I need to read more Dick. Fascinating author.
« Last Edit: April 30, 2021, 01:18:37 AM by vers la flamme »

Offline vers la flamme

  • Veteran member
  • *
  • Posts: 2933
  • Location: Atlanta
Re: What are you currently reading?
« Reply #10839 on: May 03, 2021, 03:39:01 PM »
Irène Némirovsky's posthumously published, incomplete epic, Suite Française



I was initially drawn to this book, as one might expect, by the Bach connection of the title, but after learning more of the circumstances behind the writing and publication of this book (some 60 years after it was written), I decided that I had to read this. I'm about halfway into the novel and enjoying it so far. It has an ensemble cast of characters, all involved in one way or another in the exodus from Paris to the provinces during the German invasion of France in World War II. There are some extremely harrowing scenes described here. I'm a bit of a budding WWII junkie and I suspect I'll find something to appreciate in any book on the subject, fiction or non, but I guess I must admit that it doesn't quite live up to what I was expecting. I can comfortably blame this on the fact that the author only had the chance to finish about a third of what she was planning to write before she was murdered in the Holocaust. And, of course, my thoughts may change by the end of the book. It seems that I find about half of the many characters much more interesting than the other half.