Sunday, 27 June 2010

Reading and Music

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.


  1. The Rite of Spring is a great piece!

  2. I love all things Russian! I took more Russian history and literature courses in college than I did American, although I wish I could remember more. Last winter I held a read along for The Brothers Karamazov. Perhaps this winter we could host another read along of a Russian work together. There are so many awesome novels, I love to read them in winter especially, and I think it's great how you're listening to Russian music at the same time. It's how I often feel while reading of another culture, except I want to eat their food! We're going for Japanese noodles on Sunday... ;)

  3. Oh I'd love to have a winter Russian read. I've been really 'feeling' Demons lately by Dostoyevsky but who knows when I'll get around to it.

    Never had Russian food - I'm afraid it doesn't look the most appealing. Pickled mushrooms? Raw garlic? Yuck!

    Yesterday I went and had a (very expensive) snack at the Japanese Yo Sushi place. Food on conveyor belts... there's a term for it but I can't remember what it is now. I would have liked a bit more then what I had, I could easily work up a £50 bill there all by myself I'm sure. Unfortunately I can't afford a £50 snack. What I love about Japanese - or all Asian food - is that it all comes in bits not just one plate full.

    Damn, now I want to go back!



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