Booknik on October 29 — November 4

Last week, Booknik left the Young Communist League, cleaned the house, cooked a potato soup, wrote a memoir, counted stones and calories, tried the jeans on, and served in the Israeli Defense Force. Meanwhile, Booknik Jr. was on vacation, and that was the reason why he watched cartoons from dawn to dawn, and heads breakfast three times a day.

A Ferocious Beast and a Kind Ruler
Batu Khan, by Alexey Karpov
Batu Khan, the conqueror of Rus and the grandson of Genghis Khan, is mentioned in dozens of Russian, Latin, Chinese, Persian, Arabian, and other sources. Nevertheless, despite the abundance of factual material, the only scientific biography of this ruler was published only before the revolution. This is why Russian readers had to revert to historical novels by Vasily Yan before this monograph by Alexey Karpov. “What do the Jews have to do with it?” you might ask. The Jews always have everything to do with everything, our learned bookworm and reviewer Yevgeny Levin believes.

Probably, the Goal
Cleaning Nabokov's House, by Leslie Daniels
Barbara is forty, she is unemployed, she has no home, friends, and money; since recently, she has no husband either, and her children had been taken from her. So, by the force of circumstance, she resides in the house Vladimir Nabokov used to live. One day, she finds a manuscript of his unpublished novel, and this find turns all her life upside down. “All manuscripts should be published, and all women should be loved,” Booknik reviewer Masha Tuuborg believes.

The Big Life
Miriam, by Mikha Berdichevsky
Berdichevsky was the principal ideologist of the openness and secularity of Hebrew literature. While living in Odessa, he gathered a circle of authors and poets around him who dreamed of the Jewish European literature that could influence the conservative Jewish society. Booknik reviewer Alexander Averbuch is a poet, yet he is also an expert in prose.

…and many other expert experiences in the Books & Reviews section.


Gustav Mahler in Budapest
Mahler arrived at Budapest when the Opera there was on the verge of bankruptcy. This was the reason why a very young man, a foreigner from hated Vienna at that, a Jew, was not only offered the conductor’s position but also given the free rein of the theater. Mahler started with such radical changes that, in the words of one newspaper of the time, “even the sphinx by the entrance was surprised.” Booknik’s own music critic Regina Kon shares its surprise.

…and many other surprising surfaces in the Articles & Interviews section.


The Mosaic Capital
The contemporary art exhibition “The Mosaic Code” in Netanya presents intricate works by leading experts in the trade, including mosaic “tiger’s skin,” and mosaic “carpet” of marmalade. There one can see mosaic pop art, mosaic comics, mosaics of olive pits, and even video art mosaics. Enjoy the pictorial feature by our Israeli reporter Ariel Bulstein.

An Isle of Warmth in the Mad World
In order to arrange this celebration, one does not even need a reason. One can do it just for the hell of it. The Eshkolot Project invited two wonderful musicians, Mark Kovnatsky and Alan Bern, and they had a wonderful event. Even two events, celebrating dance and nigun. Booknik reporter Rachel Dimenshtein was given the task of singing and dancing like nothing on earth.

…and many other dancing dangers in the Events & Reports section.


A Private History
The Communal Apartment at the Bolshaya Dmitrovka. The Memoir by Lyubov Zaytseva, Part 1
We are happy to unveil our new section where we intend to publish the most interesting fragments from the memoirs of the soviet era. They are the reminiscences of usual “people of the streets,” common soviet citizens, both Jews and non-Jews, written for private or family perusal. Their personal histories combined form the grand panorama of the Big History of the country and its “family of nations.” The monumental soviet history with its massive processes and events will be shown through the prism of individual eyes. This look will probably be the most adequate one, and not confined to official evaluations or trends of the perestroika revisions. Your grandparents might have also written memoirs. Mail them to

The Sixth Stone
Our zealous author Alexander Ilichevsky went to different places in search of stones impressions. Here, the denizens of the Biblical Zoo remember his visit with awe.

Letters from the Past: Forgotten Israel
Booknik contributor Anna Isakova remembers her leaving the Young Communist League without enrolling, the Shabbat cholent for the apikoires, and a Japanese terrorist.

…and many other remarkable reminiscences in the Columns & Columns section.


The Goat of Return. An Study in Translating an Unidentified Manuscript
Not only American homemakers but also Israeli intellectuals sometimes find unpublished manuscripts. Booknik contributor Nekod Singer suggests out readers solving the mystery of the unidentified manuscript he had translated.

…and other feasible feasts in the Stories & Essays section.


Perpetuum Schmobile 20: Levi Strauss and the Blue Jeans
Watch this episode yourselves, and show it to your jeans, for we are now talking about their father.

Don’t Grudge the Brew Lite 92: The Counterfeit Vichyssoise
The most intricate diet of all is the one when you eat the same food basically, yet replace the most calorie-rich ingredients of it for the leaner ones. Today, our inimitable chef Roman Gershuni will teach you how to counterfeit the potato soup.

Hebrarium, the Lexicon of Jewish Whatnots: Tz-2
Has our video whiz Kirill Chichayev served in the Israeli Defense Force? Who needs help? Why did Paul Celan die? Watch our Tz-Hebrarium, and you will know it.

…and many other faked fallacies in the Video Blog section.


The Flock of Birds under One’s Shirt
…or, How the Children’s Literature Is Suddenly a Serious Business
“We all are quite smashing people,” the poet Alexander Vvedensky said once at the editorial meeting of the Siskin and Groundhog children’s magazine. “All of us are children’s authors, and we all hate children.” “I did not like them even when I was a child,” another poet, Daniil Kharms, quipped deadpan. However, all kids still adore their works. Kira Sapgir tells about serious fun literature for children.

One, Two, Three Years, Booknik Jr. Counts His Age
See the photo feature of the Booknik Jr. Birthday Party, envy, and join our celebration the next year.

Let the Summer Linger On. Poems by Anastasia Orlova
The young poet from Yaroslavl writes for the smallest kids. She writes her songs and little poems in style, and those not especially grown-up readers who only start reading books will find it easy to like her poetry.

I Would Like to Have Some Cucur Pisang and Soymilk Please
What kids in various countries have for breakfast is widely different. In Israel, it is humus, in China, they drink soymilk, in Belgium, they eat sweet waffles, and in Georgia, they have cheese and lavash. What did you have for breakfast this morning?

A Kitty over Paris
This is the fourth time this year when Moscow hosts the Big Cartoon Festival. It always starts on October 26, on the International Animation Day. 119 years ago, the French artist and inventor Charles-Émile Reynaud showed his “pantomimes lumineuses” to amazed Parisians. The festival will be on until November 7, that is the end of the fall break, and they will screen 450 animation films there.

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


Bazinga! Booknik and Family Booknik are supported by the AVI CHAI Foundation.









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