Booknik on August, 18 —31

In the past weeks, Booknik killed time by reading mystery novels, preferred Hebrew to Esperanto, tried to become a vegetarian yet he found himself unable to resist the lure of kielbasa; he travelled through Estonia by streetcar, read sentimental love stories, and quoted Bible profusely. Meanwhile, Booknik Jr. watched Western reruns, and re-read Kafka.

A Family Takes Snapshots in Front of Pushkin
Aksyonov, by Alexander Kabakov and Yevgeny Popov
There is an old popular joke about Comrade Stalin who leafed through the book ok love poems by Konstantin Simonov, titled “With and Without You.” At some point, he asked how many copies of the book they had printed. When told, he said gloomily, “I think, two would have been enough. One for her, and one for him.” Booknik’s guest literary critic Sergey Soloukh believes that in this case, one copy would have been more than enough.

A Murder, for Instance
Mystery novels are a way to kill time, cure spleen, and calm guilt down. Like, you are not as bad as you might think; there are more terrible people or more irreversible acts. If, for instance, you are still going somewhere, or you have just arrived and you still cannot negotiate the reality around you, mystery and crime novels are everything for you. Booknik’s staff literary reviewer Masha Tuuborg reviews the new crime series from the Gesharim | Bridges of Culture Publishers.

…and many other mysterious mistakes in the Books & Reviews section.


Now, Hebrew, That’s the Language for You! An Interview with Iosif Begun
The famous dissenter and refusenik Iosif Begun did time for “anti-Soviet agitation and propaganda.” In his sentence, it was stated that he did what he did “with the purpose of undermining and weakening of the Soviet Power,” “under the guise of dissemination of Hebrew language, and introducing national culture to Jews.”

…and many other dissenting disseminations in the Articles & Interviews section.


This year, Locarno did not surprise anyone, it just did not happen somehow. All festival winners are sweet little films, nor masterpieces. The Golden Leopard went to the film La fille de nulle part directed by Jean-Claude Brisseau, that is something of a video diary of an aging French intellectual. A math professor is haunted by ghosts, and besieged by a vague young blonde who turns up at his door. The art-house film clichés are still clichés. Booknik’s film critic Xenia Rozhdestvenskaya selected three films for her overview, the ones with life, death and everything in between in them. There is nothing intellectual there, you do not have to worry.

Five Stories on Touchiness from Linor Goralik
Let us say, there is an artist T. and her husband F. Recently, they have become ideological vegetarians, and the life is seriously hard for them, especially when T. returned home from her vacation, and found a piece of kielbasa under her husband’s sofa. F.’s male friends suggested he should claim that he had eaten kielbasa, and his female friends believed he should say that he had entertained women while his wife was away.

Hot Estonian Guys in Cold Jerusalem
Let that futuristic-looking piece of iron gadgetry the population of the metropolis has more or less grown accustomed to in the past year, roll on without stopping through the city. However, The Jerusalem Streetcar within Booknik’s cultural sphere that has been running there for over a year, should be derailed, at least just once. So, with the silent approval of its driver Mikhail Korol, slightly mad from all this August heat, it goes to Estonia, the country dear to our hearts.

…and many other derailing detours in the Columns & Columns section.


Belle du Seigneur by Albert Cohen. An Excerpt
The Fluid | FreeFly Publishers have prepared the Russian translation of Albert Cohen’s magnum opus, Belle du Seigneur. It is the one thousand pages long novel, and in 1999, according to Le Monde, it made the 32nd spot in the 20th Century Best Books list.

…and many other grandiose grandeurs in the Stories & Essays section.


The Little Red Bible Book
Many of us like to colorize our speech with Holy Scripture quotes. Do you want to test how well you remember them? Not in original, mind you, the synodical translation into Russian at least. Are you ready? Then, restore the quotes.

…and many other testing tests in the Contests & Quizzes section.


The New York Crossroads, Conversation #13
What is a Jewish man? Alexander Genis knows this firsthand. In the soviet times, a Jew was usually born with a well-defined fate, and he was destined to be excluded from the socially useful life. This experience is rather expensive to obtain. Nevertheless, the life of a typical Jewish bookworm did not lure Alexander. He had a sure means to avoid the fate of a Jewish intellectual in shabby clothes and fishbowl spectacles. It was a traditional Russian method, tested by time.

…and many other wayward ways in the Video Blog section.


Westerns We Choose
Booknik’s editor-in-chief Sergey Kuznetsov made a list of real and true Westerns, the ones that take place in the Wild West of the 19th century. He tried very hard to include only the films that could present the genre in all its variety, yet he selected only the classics that are a necessary basis for the introduction to Westerns. This is why there are no more modern films, however excellent, like Dances with Wolves, Tombstone, or The Assassination of Jesse James by the Coward Robert Ford. In any case, this selection is highly subjective, so we shall be grateful for any additions and corrections you might want to contribute in your comments to this publication.

Tea with Kafka, Coffee with Kafka. Ten Facts about One of the Principal Authors of the 20th Century, a Jew, and a Denizen of Prague
Franz Kafka could have remained an unknown author if his friend would listen to him, and burnt everything he had written. Anyway, his books were published, and a quarter of the century after his death, he was famous all over the world.

…and many other unfulfilled wills at Booknik Jr., also known as Family Booknik, our own web site for kids and their parents.


Leave me alone, Baldrick. If I wanted to talk to a vegetable, I would have bought one at the market. Booknik and Family Booknik are supported by the AVI CHAI Foundation.









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