Friday, November 26, 2010

15 Authors- Russian Month Edition

Part of Russo-Biblio-Extravaganza
The Rules: Don't take too long to think about it. Fifteen authors (poets included) who've influenced you and that will always stick with you. List the first fifteen you can recall in no more than fifteen minutes.

I picked Russian/Soviet and Russian/Soviet-American authors and books that I love for different reasons. There are so many more I could list!
  1. Tolstoy's The Death of Ivan Ilych was the first really amazing work literature I read. I have a battered paperback I picked up for less than a dollar in a used bookstore when I was a kid and it will always, always be my favorite.
  2. Dostoevsky- a teacher in high school encouraged me to read The Idiot and Crime and Punishment, both favorites and amazing books.
  3. Vladimir Voinovich- his Monumental Propaganda is one of the funniest and best satires I've read.
  4. Ellen Litman's The Last Chicken in America is a wonderful and under-appreciated collection of short stories on the Russian-Jewish immigrant experience in this country at the end of the 20th century.
  5. Ludmila Ulitskaya- another wonderful novelist whose beautiful Medea and Her Children is a heartbreaking, gorgeous family saga.
  6. Vladimir Nabokov- It just doesn't get any better than Nabokov.  Read him. Please. I recently reviewed The Real Life of Sebastian Knight but anything will do.
  7. Elena Gorokhova- A Mountain of Crumbs, her memoir about growing up in the 1960s and 1970s is a fluid, fascinating tale from the perspective a child through that of a young woman.
  8. Nikolai Maslov's graphic novel Siberia is simply amazing.
  9. David Benioff- I still tear up thinking about the wonderful twist at the end of his entertaining thriller City of Thieves.
  10. Ekaterina Sedia's urban fairy tale The Secret History of Moscow is a wonderful, light tale of the power of love in a world of chaos.
  11. Tina Grimberg's memoir Out of Line: Growing Up Soviet covers some of the same ground as Gorokhova's but for a young-adult audience. It's also unforgettable.
  12. Gary Shteyngart's Absurdistan will always be one of my all-time favorite novels with its lively voice and lovable, flawed and crazy Mischa.
  13. Sergei Lukanyenko's vampire novel Night Watch, first in a series of four, was a well-crafted and fun break from ordinary litfic reading for me.
  14. Yevgeny Zamyatin's We is a classic of dystopian literature.
  15. Mikhail Bulgakov's The Master and Margarita is an amazing satire of religion, politics and more. I recently added a first edition of the English translation to my collection!
I found this meme on Facebook; if you want to give it a go I'd love it if you commented with the link!


    Meytal Radzinski said...

    A very interesting collection of Russian/Soviet books! While I wasn't so fond of The Death of Ivan Ilych, I can see how it might be influential to other people... And so many other books here to think about. Very cool.

    Erin said...

    Ohhh, City of Thieves was magnificent! I listened to the audiobook of that one and absolutely loved it. Great list -- it'll be a nice resource for next time I need a good Russian/Soviet recommendation!

    ImageNations said...

    1. Ayi Kwei Armah (Two Thousand Seasons; The Healers and The Beautyful Ones are Not yet Born)
    2. Chimamanda Ngozi Adichie (Half of a Yellow Sun)
    3. Buchi Emecheta (Joys of Motherhood)
    4. William Golding (Lord of the Flies)
    5. Toni Morrison (Song of Solomon)
    6. Martin Egblewogbe (Mr Happy and the Hammer of God)
    7. Chinua Achebe (Things Fall Apart)
    8. Franz Kafka (The Castle)
    9. Stephen King (Salem's Lot)
    10. False Memory (Dean Koontz)
    11. Ngugi wa Thiong'o (Matigari, Weep Not Child)
    12. Atukwei Okai
    13. Andre Brink (Praying Mantis)
    14. Walton Golightly (AmaZulu)

    Bellezza said...

    Sadly, I know I could not come up with fifteen authors, even if you gave me more than fifteen minutes. But, I love your list and will keep it for reference! Happy Thanksgiving one day late. xoxo

    Anonymous said...

    I'm not going to attempt a list of fifteen author. I'll be overwhelmed :) But thanks for yours. Bulgakov is a one of my favorite authors. But there are some on your list that I've not heard of. Will check them out.

    Zibilee said...

    You are so much more well versed in Russian lit than I am. I am so impressed with your list and hope to catch up some day!

    Kathleen said...

    I love memes like these because they always bring about a whole list of books for me to consider. I'm ashamed that I haven't read some of the classics in the Russian lit genre.