Sunday, March 30, 2008

Today’s “Times”: Pushkin (x2), Women’s Vodka, and Prague

Did you ever dump a date for not knowing about Pushkin? Rachel Donadio’s essay, “It’s Not You, It’s Your Books” addresses this and other sensitive questions of literary taste in today’s New York Times Book Review. The Times added a blog entry from Donadio, “Literary Dealbreakers,” which already has 124 comments about the (un)importance of books in relationships. 

Meanwhile, nobody can accuse Russian baritone Dmitri Hvorostovsky of not knowing Pushkin: he sings Pushkin’s words in Eugene Onegin and recently recorded an album of music with Pushkin texts. The article: “The Power of Russian Birthright

As for the vodka. The Style section included a piece called “Russian Vodka With a Feminine Kick” about, yes, vodka for women. The ad pictured in the Times features the phrase “между нами, девочками” (between us girls), a common phrase I particularly enjoy hearing from men. When I searched the brand, Дамская водка (Ladies’ vodka), the first Google result was an article called (in my translation) “’Ladies’’ Vodka Worries Doctors.” The first line: “A new drink especially for representatives of the weak sex appeared in Russia at the beginning of the year.” I just report this stuff.

Finally, it’s not about Russia, but this Travel section article on Milan Kundera’s Prague is Slavic and literary in theme. Franz Kafka even makes a cameo appearance.


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