This week I have gone a bit Russian. I’m reading a non-fiction book about Russia’s cultural history called Natasha’s Dance by Orlando Figues so I have bought a new album by The Russian Balalaika Folk Ensemble to get me into the right kind of mood. I don’t really know much about Russian history and have always wanted to learn a bit more, especially before reading any more Russian classics. I have read and really enjoyed Crime and Punishment by Fyodor Dostoyevsky but their history and culture is fairly alien to me so this will be good preparation for reading more Russian classics. It’s even made me want to read War and Peace!
It’s quite appropriate for this book too – the title is taken from a passage in Tolstoy’s War and Peace where Countess Natasha, who despite growing up as the nobility with European manners and society rather then Russian – still manages to dance to a traditional folk song, a dance she would never have been taught growing up with the French mannerisms of educated Russian society.
What got me into the mood to read this book probably stems from the fact I’ve become a little obsessed by The Rite of Spring by Stravinsky lately too. I have always liked it since watching the first Fantasia as a kid:
Although this always scared me as a child too – but it was equally fascinating. I guess this video explains why to this day many of my nightmares involve erupting volcanoes, which as equally scare and fascinate me.
I’m also reading Magic Kingdom: For Sale by Terry Brooks and have just been listening to whatever comes up on my MP3 player at the moment – currently a mix of Ayumi Hamasaki, Marilyn Manson and Lady Gaga.