Tuesday, June 1, 2010

Geek Week:Books

For today's geek week post,I decided to feature one of my favourite pastimes, Reading.Or to be more specific,reading books about Russia.
I have no idea when my geeky fascination with Russia started. I vaguely remember having to do a geography project about it in grade 6,but I didn't actually start reading about it until I started working in a bookstore during my foundation year of college. The very first one I owned was a collection of essays called Vodka,Tears and Lenin's Angel by Jennifer Gould. It was written while she was working in Moscow as a freelance journalist shortly after the fall of communism. I loved that book,and what's more,I  fell in love with the country. Since then I've added several more titles to my 'Books about Russia' collection (24 to be exact), along with some classic Russian literature (War and Peace, Anna Karenina, Crime and Punishment, and The Collected Works of Nikolai Gogol -to name a few.
Another favourite is Lost in Moscow by Kirsten Koza. It is written from the perspective of an 11 year-old Kirsten, who was forced to spend an entire summer at a communist summer camp.I loved it.It perfectly captured the mood of 1980's USSR,and made me feel like a kid again-especially when reading some of the author's more precocious observations.
Despite the fact that I've read a lot about this country,I still  think I don't know much about it.It's a complex nation that is forever in transition.One of the things I admire most about Russia is its indomitable spirit. They've gone through hell as a country (numerous times), but they've maintained their nationalistic pride and have left an awesome cultural legacy.

For this post I chose Quirius Red Square (for obvious reasons) It's a gorgeous vampy red with gold shimmer.Beautiful :)

This is a snapshot of my bookshelf. I've read every book in this picture except Russia:Lost in Translation-it's still fairly new. Black Earth by Andrew Meier is on of my favourite books of all-time.It's a travelogue that reads like a novel.I felt as though I gained a better understanding of Russia as a whole.I didn't realize how much information I'd retained until I had a conversation with my co-worker Sloth.

Sloth: "So why is Georgia so mad with Russia?"

Me:"Well, the short version is; Abkhazia is an autonomous republic that was declared part of Georgia in the 1930's.When the USSR broke apart,Abkhazia wanted to become it's own state.Russia approved of this decision,Georgia didn't.So its autonomy is still disputed,and Russia and Georgia are no longer friends.Don't quote me on that though. I'm only basing it on what I've read."

Sloth: "That was...impressive".

Yes I am a book nerd :)

A funny story about the big yellow book: I was reading it at the bus stop one day when I ran into one of my mother's friends.After we exchanged pleasantries she asked me what I was reading,
"Natasha's Dance" I responded. Her: "What is it about?"  Me: "The history and culture of Russia".
Her:"And you're reading this for fun?"
Her: "You need to go back to university."

Now tell me something I don't know.

*FYI; The yellow book is over 2000 pages long*

Other book obsessions I've had? Books by Indian authors (Arundhati Roy,Jhumpa Lahiri) Books by Irish authors (Maeve Binchy,Frank McCourt) depressing classics (Jude the Obscure,Tess Of the D'Urbervilles...ok, make that depressing books by Thomas Hardy!) and books by Native authors (Sherman Alexie,Louise Erdrich) and fluffy fun reads (Confessions of a Shopaholic,Something Borrowed) It's a good thing I've kept my library card :)

So do you have any weird and wonderful book fixations?

Have a great evening!
Ginger-who just might have to move to another country if I tell one more person that I like Alex Ovechkin better than I like Sidney Crosby.Yeah,I said it.   *ducks*

P.S. I totally freaked out when Niki told me she was reading a book about Rasputin.This confirms that she is my sister from another mister :)


  1. i love autobiographies of musicians-especially Across the great divide the story of The Band. i thought they were all from america-found out only one was Levon Helm(arkansas), the others are from Canada!!!.the i love to read chidrens book to my 3 yr old.i also like franks mcCourt-angelas ashes. ttyl

  2. I'll read most anything. I do find that I read more about politics though. It's fascinating to me. I always read about religious movements and politics in the U.S., never pass up anything about womens' studies, love books about music/bands/cultural movements and then I read the odd bit of fiction every now and again.
    I love the Sookie Stackhouse series, the Weetzie Bat books and I just fell in love with Stieg Larsson's trilogy.
    And there ya have it.

    BTW, I am loving Geek Week. Such a great idea!

  3. Ohhhh. *drools* When I come off of my no buy (which counts for everything, at this moment) I'm totally coming back to this post and making a list of books I need to pick up. Most of my fascination with Russia has to do with the last of the Romanovs - but I'm moving further back into history now. I need a good biography on Catherine the Great.
    The book I'm reading on Rasputin is VERY heavy and it's called The Rasputin Files - it's by the same author who wrote a biography about Nicholas, Edvard Radzinsky. I'm about halfway through it and I have to put it down and come back to it, so it's taken me the better part of a month to work on it. It's JAM packed with information, though! I'm getting better on keeping up with the who's who.
    I started out loving historical books, which then lead into me reading historical fiction. I'm just fascinated with history in general, so I'm all over the place!
    But then again - my reading taste is as well. I have been caught with a romance before. And I utterly adore Janet Evanovich - Stephanie Plum is one of my favorite characters.
    ♥ You know I love you!

  4. aaminah's mom-Angela's Ashes was an amazing book.One of the members of 'The Band',Robby Robertson is pretty much a legend here in Canada.I'll have to check that one out.And I LOVE children's books! I used to be a reading buddy when I was an high school so I've developed a lasting love for kid's books.

    Mighty Lambchop-I really like political and cultural science books.I'm with you on women's studies books,I can't get enough of them! My current fascination is with memoirs.I'm currently reading 'Bright Lights,Big Ass' by Jen Lancaster.I keep meaning to read the Sookie Stackhouse series,but I always put it off.Someday. And I remember Francesca Lia Block from my high school days.Ahhh,memories :)

    Nicole-Love you yoo <3 I like dense reads,but sometimes they're too much.I read 'Crime and Punishment' a year ago,but it took me over a month because it was so "wordy".Still, excellent book. I haven't read much historical fiction but a customer who hated reading recommended Margaret George to me,so I think I'll check her out.Janet Evanovich is hilarious! I was gutted when I found out that Katherine Heigl was playing Stephanie Plum.She doesn't fit the character at all! Under duress I'll admit to reading the occasional romantic comedy novel.And I really like Bret Easton Ellis.Some of his stuff is disturbing (American Psycho-hello!) but he's an awesome satirist.I also read teen novels a lot.

  5. You and Niki are two amazing readers! I love watching movies about Russia and find their history most fascinating. I'm afraid that I get a mental block with Russian names. I lose my senses with all those letters! I feel like such an idiot. I read manily fiction. I also love Irish authors and Maeve Binchy is my favorite. I really get lost in her books. I think about the characters long after I've finished the books. I wonder what they're doing. She makes me feel as if I live in the town and I'm a fly on the wall. I keep reading vampire paperbacks. I'll have to read the ones Niki recommends.


Thank you for reading! I read every comment but I'm not always able to respond to them. I hope you don't mind. Also, don't link-spam. I delete link-spam.
Best Regards, Ginger


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