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Lizok's Bookshelf
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1M ago
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New Translations Published in 2023
Lizok's Bookshelf
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5M ago
Another year, another list of new translations! Though I haven’t been writing regular posts this year about my recent reading, I faithfully started compiling this list in late 2022. Despite this year’s challenges – thinking globally, there are wars and their ramifications and, thinking locally, there’ve epic quantities of water flowing into my street and yard – I’m doing fine and reading a fair bit in Russian, often to determine if I’m interested in translating a book or story. Of course I continue to translate: I even (finally!) have a book on the list again and there’s another coming n ..read more
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Big Book Roundup #1: Vasyakina’s Wound, Polyarinov’s Reef, &tc.
Lizok's Bookshelf
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7M ago
I confess that this year’s Big Book reading has been something of a slog. A bit harsh as a lede, I suppose, but there you have it. On the positive side, my reading did start on a good note, with Eugene Vodolazkin’s Оправдание Острова – often known in English as The History of Island, though more literally it would be something like Justification of the Island – in 2020. Thank goodness for Island! It’s a very good book, funny and wise, where form and content complement each other in very Vodolazkonian ways (previous post). I’m looking forward to translating it in full. But then. Well. The first ..read more
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Déjà Vu All Over Again: The 2022 Yasnaya Polyana Longlist
Lizok's Bookshelf
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7M ago
Another week, another award list. And another award list – this time it’s the Yasnaya Polyana longlist – that repeats many of the nominees found on previous award lists. But I shrug my shoulders (yet again!) since, well, awards and juries do what they do. Which is fine. And so. This list contains thirty-seven books that fit many of the usual patterns. Thirteen of the titles (just over one third) were written by women. Twelve of them were published by Elena Shubina’s imprint at AST. Six of the thirty-seven books – by Belyakov, Danilov, Yermakov, Mamedov, Matveeva, and Sinitskaya – are on the 20 ..read more
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The 2022 Big Book Longlist
Lizok's Bookshelf
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7M ago
The Big Book Award’s 2022 longlist was released about two weeks ago but I’m still sluggish so here we (finally) are! This year’s list truly is long: 48 books. I’ve read three in full, have one in the cart, and am very interested in a bunch more. Only four authors are totally unknown to me, which is a bit of a disappointment since I’m always looking for new authors to read. Even more of a disappointment is that not even quite a third of the longlisted titles are written by women. The shortlist should be announced by mid-June. For now, here’s a sliver of the longlist. I’ll start with three books ..read more
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2021-2022 NOS(E) Award Winners
Lizok's Bookshelf
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7M ago
The NOS(E) Award, run by the Mikhail Prokhorov Foundation, announced 2021’s award winners yesterday, in live debates. Oksana Vasyakina won the jury prize and the critics’ prize for her Рана (The Wound), which I think is very, very good (previous post). Meanwhile, Evgenia Nekrasova won the regional “Wanderer” prize (which wanders off to a new city each year) for Кожа (Skin). Finally, Vladimir Shpakov’s Пленники амальгамы (Prisoners of Amalgam, I think?) won the readers’ choice prize. I think that pretty much sums up this year’s NOS(E) Award. I’d expected Vasyakina to win at least one jury award ..read more
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Potpourri 1: Andrew D. Kaufman on Dostoevsky & Mariengof on Cynics
Lizok's Bookshelf
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7M ago
Now that tax season and a multitude of other annoyances are out of the way, it’s time to get to that book backlog I mentioned in my last post. I’m not quite sure how to start clearing it away, though I suspect words like “messily” and/or “inelegantly” might be appropriate, particularly since I finished these two books many months ago. I think I’ve written before, though, that I enjoy writing about books long after reading them because it’s always interesting to find out  to see what stays with me. And so… Andrew D. Kaufman’s The Gambler Wife: A True Story of Love, Risk, and the Woman Who ..read more
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Alienation, Take #534: Filipenko’s Return to Ostrog and Valitov’s Corner Room
Lizok's Bookshelf
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7M ago
My reading habits have been a bit odd in recent months – Big Book reading and a project have been two of the big reasons – and my thoughts about the books I’ve read seem to differ a bit from usual, too. To be more specific, my thoughts on how to write about the books I’ve read seems to be leaning more toward roundups than posts about single books. That is, in large part, because I’ve been noticing so many common themes. I started noticing certain common themes about two years ago, in early 2020, when I was preparing a talk for Bowdoin College. I found the text of the talk in my “Travel” folder ..read more
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Favorite Russian Writers A to Я: Shalamov and Shklovsky
Lizok's Bookshelf
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7M ago
I wrote my last alphabet post (it’s here!) a little over two years ago, covering the letter Ч (Ch), which was productive but not rich with writers I considered real, true favorites. Today I present to you the letter Ш (Sh), which is highly productive in terms of the sheer number of writers whose surnames begin in Sh… though there aren’t many I yet consider serious favorites. I’ll start with Varlam Shalamovsince he’s probably the Sh writer I (hm, what word to choose?) revere the most, thanks to the beautiful and spare prose of his Колымские рассказы (Kolyma Tales), which document experiences in ..read more
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Closing Out 2022 With a New Translation List
Lizok's Bookshelf
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7M ago
I’m going to end this year on the blog the way I ended 2020 and 2021: with a list of the past year’s new translations. Rather than focus on why I’ve been reading a lot but, well, underachieving on the blogging side, I thought it best to look at something positive. It’s particularly heartening that, despite all sorts of difficulties, this year’s list of new translations is longer than last year’s list. How did we get to 48 over last year’s 39? I guess my easy answer is classics: Chekhov and Mandelstam each have three titles on the list, and Tolstoy, Pushkin, Gogol, Turgenev, and Sorokin (yes, S ..read more
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