God, that book does such a great job of conveying just how fucking bleak and soul crushing the USSR was to the average individual.One Day in the Life of Ivan Denisovich by A Solzhenytsyn
If you like Russian novels and you've not read The Master and Margarita then you must. It's a some of the finest political satire ever written and told through the lens of magical reality.Finished reading The Brothers Karamozov by Dostoevsky. While I did find it an enjoyable and thought provoking read I fail to see why it is almost always cited as his best work. Admittedly I've only read one other novel by Dostoevsky, that being Crime and Punishment but I found it much more enjoyable. While Crime and Punishment is a book with a singular protagonist and a rather linear narrative, The Brothers Karamozov is a book with 4-5 protagonists (potentially more if you count the one off chapters) that while largely focusing on the titles name sake and their father also includes a litany of side stories that tie into the main arc. Each of these side stories is interesting in its own regard, (in fact my favorite collection of chapters is father Zossima's) but they distract from the central narrative of the book. As a result the book seems to drag on much longer than is necessary.
What I believe he set out to do in this book is paint a picture of the type of people, view points, and philosophy's you might find during 19th century Russia. Obviously Dostoevsky did not live through the revolution, but the book much like crime and punishment feels like a prelude of whats to come and provides critic of the socialist philosophy that was slowly creeping its way across Russia during his lifetime. This is not including the numerous religious themes he explores, and also does not mention the psychological aspects of the book that could be talked about extensively.
Over all I did enjoy this book, and would highly recommend it despite my saying that it seemed to drag on too long. Maybe I'm too much of a midwit to grasp the full complexity of the novel, but I would still contend that Crime and Punishment is his best work and is an amazing character study/psychological break down of a murder.
Also: Dead Souls by Nicolai Gogol is a dark and fantastically comical look at Russian culture as it existed in the 1840s which is when it was published.
I presently have three books cooking.
I'm into The Wreck of the Abergavenny which details the personal and cultural impact of a ship that went down which was piloted by Wordsworth's brother John. It's a densely researched bit of concentrated micro-history and I highly recommend.
An Embarrassment of Riches: An Interpretation of the Dutch Culture in the Golden Age. I wanted a book detailing the history, psychology, and events which brought forth that age and this shit is it.
For my trash read I'm into American Gods which I am enjoying much more than I expected I would.