Saturday, December 8, 2007

Russian Reading Challenge 2008

Are there four Russian novels, plays, story collections, or other books that you've always meant to read but never found time for? I'm sure there are! 2008 is your year.

The Russian Reading Challenge 2008 blog encourages visitors to read four Russian-related books between January 1 and December 31, 2008. The best part about the challenge format is that nobody will be alone -- dozens of participants should mean lots of discussion.

I'm going to use the Challenge as a way to assuage my guilt about missing these classics for too long:

Fyodor Dostoevsky’s Бесы (The Possessed)

Nikolai Gogol’s Ревизор (Inspector General) plus stories I haven’t read in Вечера на хуторе близ Диканьки (Village Evenings near Dikanka -- not the video game!) and Миргород (Mirgorod)

Vasilii Grossman’s Жизнь и судьба (Life and Fate)

Andrei Platonov’s Котлован (Foundation Pit) or, as a backup, Ювенильное море (Juvenile Sea)

For now I'm reading and enjoying Sergei Dovlatov's Компромисс (The Compromise), a very funny-but-sad autobiographical novel about working as a journalist in Soviet Estonia. A friend lent me four volumes of Dovlatov -- t0 be sure I'd find something I liked! -- and I may be reading it all cover-to-cover if everything is this good.


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