Being Told What to Read

No one, including yours truly, likes it very much, but without it, our respective worlds would become incredibly cramped and selfishly narrow. I am personally very grateful tonight for some Russian friends who have been telling me for years to read Russian books by Russian authors, even if I have to succumb [temporarily] to the English translations. For a long time, I fought every Dostevsky novel, every Gogol compendium, every maddening Chekov anthology. Even now that I am married to a Russian, I still resist. But little by little, by obeying the advice of my Russophile friends, my resistance is wearing thin.

And tonight, my commencement of a bestseller that just came out in English but has been flying off the shelves in Russia is making me glad that I adhered to their harassment. Everyday Saints and Other Stories was originally Unsaintly Saints in the Russian edition. I was warned before I began it that it would take up every available moment of my spare time. All that I can say is that I am happy I began it during Christmas break…

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