Wednesday, August 30, 2006

What I am reading...

One thing I like about this new place is that there is a nice public library very near to where I live. It is a very small library, which is actually good because unlike those public libraries in Chicago or New York it doesn't feel like a Museum. I feel sad I didn't use the Chicago library as much as I should have had (actually, I hardly went there), I hardly read anything last year but this time I am trying not to waste too much time. Although so far I have been using the DVD section more than the books!

So what am I reading...

I have finished reading Stanislaw Lem's science fiction novel Solaris. It is quite good though slightly disappointing or rather it was just very different from what I had expected it to be. I have seen the Tarkovsky and the Soderbergh versions of the novel and I like them both very much but the novel is very different from both those movies, in terms of tone and emphasis on ideas. I will write about it in detail later.

I was pleasantly surprised to see the Russian literature/culture/history section of the library. Apart from the regular penguin classics of Dostoevsky, Gogol, Pushkin, Chekhov, Tolstoy, Turgenev, Lermonotov etc there are massive tomes of biographies (including a five volume Dostoevsky biography), essays and literary criticism. In the history section there are at least half a dozen books on the Bolshevik revolution and massive biographies of Lenin, Trotsky, Stalin and others. Russia is one country that really has always fascinated me and now that all those books are so easily available I do plan to spend my weekends loitering around that section of the library. Will try to write about them on the blog too. It definitely forces you to read more carefully than you otherwise would care to.

This is my current reading list...

The Complete Short Novels by Anton Chekhov
Collected Stories by Anton Chekhov
Sketches from a Hunter's Album by Ivan Turgenev
Eugene Onegin by Pushkin
Russian Thinkers by Isaiah Berlin
Lectures on Russian Literature by Vladimir Nabokov
The Kreutzer Sonata, Hadji Murad, The Stolen Coupon and other short works of Leo Tolstoy
Dostoevsky: The Miraculous Years (fourth volume of the biography) by Joseph Frank
A People's Tragedy: A History of the Russian Revolution by Orlando Figes
The Charterhouse of Parma by Stendhal (this is not Russian but I am going to read it too)


km said...

Off-topic, but "Ugetsu" was brilliant.

anurag said...

Re-read something by Kafka too ;)

Alok said...

km: write about it on the blog :)

anurag: I am thinking of moving westward in Europe. I am starting from Russian, Czech and so kafka will be next :)

Space Bar said...

please post more about solaris. i've read lem's microworlds -- re-reading it again, in fact -- but would like to know more about his most famous contribution.

Alok said...

Will do. I had started writing a post but then got confused. It is a difficult book to write about. Will try.