Results 1 to 11 of 11
Like Tree4Likes
  • 1 Post By Paul G.
  • 1 Post By Paul G.
  • 1 Post By Throbert McGee
  • 1 Post By Throbert McGee

Thread: Reading project--- would appreciate advice!

  1. #1
    Подающий надежды оратор Чайковская's Avatar
    Join Date
    Aug 2010
    Location
    Вирджиния, США
    Posts
    14
    Rep Power
    5

    Reading project--- would appreciate advice!

    Hello all!
    I am trying to take up a Russian reading project for the summer. However, I am having some trouble choosing a book to read! I have been searching for some time, but have not really found anything that meets my criteria. Perhaps someone here could point me in the right direction?
    Allow me to explain my situation: I have been studying Russian for almost 4 years (two of those at university)... my grammar is reasonably solid, but of course vocabulary is always the undying problem.
    My ultimate goal is to read Преступление и Наказание completely in Russian. I have already tried to do this, of course... however that did not go well; although I could understand it, the amount of time and effort needed to decipher even a paragraph just made it far too difficult for me at this point! Maybe sometime, but I hate to admit that right now it is just too hard...
    I have recently finished Дядя Ваня, which I loved. It was pretty straightforward and easy to read, with help of a dictionary, of course! I thought it was very helpful because it uses a fairly standard, not-too-extensive vocabulary, and there are not too many complicated sentence constructions. I have also enjoyed some of Chekhov's short stories for the same reasons. But as much as I love Chekhov, I would like to branch out a little bit!

    Anyhow, here is what I'm looking for with my next project. First of all, I'm interested in 18th-early 20th C literature in general. As I said already, I love Dostoevsky... but his writing is just too complicated for now. Tolstoy is good too, but I've heard that he uses a very extensive vocabulary, which I would also like to avoid. I've enjoyed Gorky and Turgenev's writing in English, but I'm not too sure what their writing in Russian is like.
    I am not really against modern writing, I just don't know a lot about it... one of the only contemporary Russian authors I know of is Boris Akunin, but from quickly looking through his writing it looks like he is attempting to imitate an older writing style; that is, he uses a lot of vocabulary which isn't really mainstream. Not really a problem, but I don't want to wear out my dictionary! If I have to look up every other word, it becomes more "deciphering" than "reading." Basically I'm looking for something for adults (tired of fairy tales), book-length (need to get away from short stories!), easy to read (not too complicated grammar), common, useful vocabulary (not too much bad language and slang though).

    If you have any suggestions I would be very appreciative!

  2. #2
    Ali
    Ali is offline
    Новичок
    Join Date
    Jun 2013
    Posts
    1
    Rep Power
    0
    Почитайте М.Ю.Лермонтова, например "Герой нашего времени"

  3. #3
    Paul G.
    Guest
    Hi,
    You should try Bulgakov. He's one of the best Russian writers. Indeed. But he's unappreciated by the westerners.
    Throbert McGee likes this.

  4. #4
    Paul G.
    Guest
    Quote Originally Posted by Ali View Post
    Почитайте М.Ю.Лермонтова, например "Герой нашего времени"
    Советовать начинающим (даже 4 года изучения русского - начинающий в чтении литературы) писателей из 19-го века - это без всякой причины отправлять людей на пытку. Слишком витиеватый стиль, особый язык, много устаревших слов. Это почти как читать Стивенсона в оригинале. Даже хуже.
    Throbert McGee likes this.

  5. #5
    Старший оракул Seraph's Avatar
    Join Date
    Apr 2010
    Posts
    782
    Rep Power
    12

  6. #6
    Завсегдатай Throbert McGee's Avatar
    Join Date
    Jan 2010
    Location
    Fairfax, VA (Фэйрфэкс, ш. Виргиния, США)
    Posts
    1,592
    Rep Power
    34
    Quote Originally Posted by Paul G. View Post
    Hi,
    You should try Bulgakov. He's one of the best Russian writers. Indeed.
    Absolutely!

    I might recommend starting with Роковые яйца ("The Fateful Eggs"), even though it's not Bulgakov's most famous work. But since it's a novella rather than a full-length novel, as a non-native reader you don't have to keep track of a large cast of secondary characters or multiple subplots.

    In summary, it's an early anti-Soviet satire (from 1924) in the form of a science-fiction tale partly inspired by H.G. Wells' Food of the Gods, in which scientists attempt to solve food shortages by growing farm animals to enormous sizes, but the giant creatures escape and cause havoc. As in some of Bulgakov's other works, the humor is mixed with just a bit of Stephen King-ish graphic violence -- giant snakes biting people in half, blood spurting in fountains, etc. -- which, for my money, makes for much more entertaining reading than the problems of aristocrats trapped in boring marriages.

    Also, both the original text and a good English translation (for "reading in parallel") are available free at the lib.ru site.

    Another personal recommendation: Although Lewis Carroll's two "Alice" books obviously aren't "native Russian literature," they were translated with great faithfulness and skill by Nina M. Demurova in the 1960s. (Ms. Demurova was inspired to undertake a completely new translation of the books after reading Martin Gardner's classic The Annotated Alice, and her edition translates many of Gardner's explanatory notes in addition to Carroll's complete texts.) If you're a fan of Lewis Carroll, the Demurova translations are wonderful for "parallel reading," and they're free at the lib.ru site. (Of course, the original English texts are public domain and can be found all over the place.)
    Vita9589 likes this.
    Говорит Бегемот: "Dear citizens of MR -- please correct my Russian mistakes!"

  7. #7
    Завсегдатай Throbert McGee's Avatar
    Join Date
    Jan 2010
    Location
    Fairfax, VA (Фэйрфэкс, ш. Виргиния, США)
    Posts
    1,592
    Rep Power
    34
    Yet another suggestion: В стране невыученных уроков ("In the Land of Unfinished Homework"), by Liya Geraskina. A 1965 children's novel with a not-too-completed plot, and lots of natural, idiomatic dialogue. Somewhat similar to Norton Juster's The Phantom Tollbooth (boy who slacks at school visits a magical country where words and numbers come to life) but without all of the elaborate Carrollish wordplay of Juster's book -- which of course makes it easier for you as a Russian learner.

    Once again, the full text is available on lib.ru, but there's no standard English translation to help you in this case. On the other hand, the 20-minute cartoon version by Союзмультфильм became an instant classic in its own right, and you can easily find it on YouTube to give you the basic outline of the plot.
    Vita9589 likes this.
    Говорит Бегемот: "Dear citizens of MR -- please correct my Russian mistakes!"

  8. #8
    Властелин maxmixiv's Avatar
    Join Date
    Dec 2011
    Location
    Omsk, Russia
    Posts
    1,456
    Rep Power
    21
    First of all, I'm interested in 18th-early 20th C literature in general.
    Советовать начинающим (даже 4 года изучения русского - начинающий в чтении литературы) писателей из 19-го века - это без всякой причины отправлять людей на пытку.
    Если человек хочет читать русскую классику, то Лермонтов -- возможно, лучший вариант. Что здесь не так?
    "Невозможно передать смысл иностранной фразы, не разрушив при этом её первоначальную структуру."

  9. #9
    Властелин
    Join Date
    Jul 2010
    Location
    Russia
    Posts
    1,004
    Rep Power
    18
    I wouldn't rule out Tolstoy (for example, 'Anna Karenina' is considered by Nabokov as one the greaters novels). His style and prose are often not so convoluted, he seems to like simplicity sometimes, I would say he is the easiest to read of all Russian 'giants'.

    Bulgakov is a good choice too (as a 20th century author).

    Lermontov, Pushkin, Saltikov-Tschedrin, Goncharov, Turgenev, Gogol, Dostoevsky are giants. But it seems they would be difficult to read due to vocabulary (sometimes outdated), literary devices. It is good to read them while keeping in mind that there are hundreds of outdated words (requires time to check the meanings).

    Modern writing in Russia is moslty represented by entertainment type fiction or documentary prose. (maybe Веллер could be an option).

  10. #10
    Paul G.
    Guest
    Quote Originally Posted by maxmixiv View Post
    Если человек хочет читать русскую классику, то Лермонтов -- возможно, лучший вариант. Что здесь не так?
    Вроде бы я уже написал, что не так. Человеку будет тяжело, неужели непонятно?

  11. #11
    Подающий надежды оратор Чайковская's Avatar
    Join Date
    Aug 2010
    Location
    Вирджиния, США
    Posts
    14
    Rep Power
    5
    Thanks very much everyone for your input! I think, then, it's a toss-up between Лермонтов and Булгаков. Герой нашего времени sounds quite interesting and promises that brilliant Russian philosophical writing I crave from Tolstoy and Dostoevsky. I was also looking at Белая гвардия by Булгаков, to which I'm attracted because of its historical and autobiographical nature.
    I think I will just spend some time reading a bit of each and see which will be more useful/educational for me at my current reading level.

Similar Threads

  1. MR.com manga reading project-part 2
    By ST in forum Japanese
    Replies: 326
    Last Post: May 20th, 2007, 07:00 AM
  2. The Cheburashka Project
    By laxxy in forum Japanese
    Replies: 4
    Last Post: February 3rd, 2007, 07:36 AM
  3. MR.com manga reading project
    By laxxy in forum Japanese
    Replies: 1000
    Last Post: January 23rd, 2007, 08:57 PM
  4. Project Чебурашка
    By kalinka_vinnie in forum General Discussion
    Replies: 40
    Last Post: December 30th, 2006, 03:10 AM
  5. Art project
    By TriggerHappyJack in forum Arabic
    Replies: 0
    Last Post: September 19th, 2006, 12:19 PM

Posting Permissions

  • You may not post new threads
  • You may not post replies
  • You may not post attachments
  • You may not edit your posts
  •  


Russian Lessons                           

Russian Tests and Quizzes            

Russian Vocabulary