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View Poll Results: Which region should we use for nominations this month?
Ireland & The U.K. 2 18.18%
North & Central Europe 2 18.18%
Portugal, Belgium, The Netherlands, Spain & France 0 0%
Southeast Europe 3 27.27%
North Africa & The Middle East 3 27.27%
Sub Saharan Africa 3 27.27%
Central Asia, East Europe & Russia 4 36.36%
South Asia 1 9.09%
The Korean Peninsula, Mongolia & China 2 18.18%
Japan 2 18.18%
Southeast Asia 3 27.27%
The South Pacific 3 27.27%
Canada & The U.S.A. 3 27.27%
Multiple Choice Poll. Voters: 11. You may not vote on this poll

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Old 11-01-2012, 01:02 AM   #1
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Region Nominations • November 2012

Help us select what the MR Literary Club will read for November 2012!

The nominations will run for up to three days until November 5 or until five works have made the list.

Final voting in a new poll will begin by November 5, where the month's selection will be decided.


The category for this month is:

Region
Central Asia, East Europe & Russia, as chosen in the poll


This month is a two-part process:

The first part begins with a ONE-DAY POLL to determine the region we will use. It is multiple choice and you may choose as many options as you like when voting. This voting is separate from your nominations. There are no nominations during the poll, only voting. I will not vote in the poll, and if there is a tie, I will break it.

As soon as the poll is over and the region is determined, then the second part (nominations) starts and you can begin nominating like normal. Nominations can be set in any region, but they should be written by an author from that region.





Notes:

-Regions are named in the poll and colour-coded on the map. Region names are generalities and not exact.

-If a country or territory is too small to show regional colour on the map, it will be part of the region closest to it physically and culturally. If you are unsure, just ask.

-I had help making the regions list that was much appreciated.

-Previously chosen regions currently ineligible: Latin America



Once the poll is over and nominations begin:

In order for a work to be included in the poll it needs four nominations - the original nomination plus three supporting.

Each participant has four nominations to use. You can nominate a new work for consideration or you can support (second, third or fourth) a work that has already been nominated by another person.

To nominate a work just post a message with your nomination. If you are the first to nominate a work, it's always nice to provide an abstract to the work so others may consider their level of interest.


What is literature for the purposes of this club? A superior work of lasting merit that enriches the mind. Often it is important, challenging, critically acclaimed. It may be from ancient times to today; it may be from anywhere in the world; it may be obscure or famous, short or long; it may be a story, a novel, a play, a poem, an essay or another written form. If you are unsure if a work would be considered literature, just ask!



The floor is now open!


*


Nominations are now closed. Final results:


We by Yevgeny Zamyatin, Russia - Fully nominated
Spoiler:
In favour - caleb72, Billi, paola, Hamlet53


This book has been called the grandfather of dystopian fiction, directly influencing George Orwell's 1984, Aldous Huxley's Brave New World, Ursula Le Guin's The Dispossessed, Ayn Rand's Anthem and Kurt Vonnegut's Player Piano.

Although the Russian work is probably in the public domain, the English translations are (probably) not. However, there are 3 different versions that seem commonly available at different prices.

Amazon US (1)
Amazon US (2)
Amazon US (3)

B&N (1)
B&N (2)
B&N (3)

Kobo (1)

There is also a German version of "Wir" in our MobileRead library:
http://www.mobileread.com/forums/showthread.php?t=41815
(other formats also available)


Purge by Sofi Oksanen, Estonia - Fully nominated
Spoiler:
In favour - issybird, sun surfer, Hamlet53, paola


A 2008 novel by Estonian author Sofi Oksanen. Available in ebook.

Briefly, Purge is a story of two women forced to confront their own dark pasts, of collusion and resistance, of rape and sexual slavery set against the backdrop of the Soviet occupation of Estonia. (from Wikipedia).

A review from The Guardian.


Doctor Zhivago by Boris Pasternak, Russia - Fully nominated
Spoiler:
In favour - sun surfer, Hamlet53, paola, caleb72


From Amazon-

First published in Italy in 1957 amid international controversy, Doctor Zhivago is the story of the life and loves of a poet/physician during the turmoil of the Russian Revolution. Taking his family from Moscow to what he hopes will be shelter in the Ural Mountains, Zhivago finds himself instead embroiled in the battle between the Whites and the Reds. Set against this backdrop of cruelty and strife is Zhivago's love for the tender and beautiful Lara, the very embodiment of the pain and chaos of those cataclysmic times...A classic of world literature.

“One of the very great books of our time.” —The New Yorker

“A welcome opportunity for anyone who has already read Dr. Zhivago to revisit it and experience a richly rewarding fresh take on an epic tale. For those coming to it for the first time it is a chance to read one of the greatest novels of all times.” —New York Journal of Books

“As well as a gripping story, Doctor Zhivago is a work of meditation and quiet challenge. Pasternak meant every word of it. I believe he would be pleased with the powerful fidelity of the translation now before us.” —Angela Livingstone, The Times Literary Supplement (London)


About the Author:

A poet, translator, and novelist, Boris Pasternak was born in Moscow in 1890. In 1958 he was awarded the Nobel Prize in Literature but, facing threats from Soviet authorities, refused the prize. He lived in virtual exile in an artists’ community near Moscow until his death in 1960.


The First Circle by Aleksandr Solzhenitsyn, Russia - 1
Spoiler:
In favour - Hamlet53


This is available as an e-book.

The First Circle of Dante's Hell -- where the souls of the pre-Christian philosophers are doomed to exist throughout eternity -- stands in this novel as a metaphor for certain penal institutions of Stalin's Russia. Set in Moscow during a three-day period in December 1949, The First Circle is the story of the prisoner Gleb Nerzhin, a brilliant mathematician. At the age of thirty-one, Nerzhin has, like the author, survived the war years on the German front and the post-war years in a succession of Russian prisons and labor camps. His story is interwoven with the stories of a dozen fellow prisoners -- each an unforgettable human being -- from the prison janitor to the tormented Marxist intellectual who designed the Dnieper dam; of the reigning elite and their conflicted subordinates; and of the women, wretched or privileged, bound to these men. As we follow Nerzhin's fortunes, we become familiar with the inner paths of an entire society -- one vast Inferno -- and the diverse ways in which different men and women managed, or failed, to live within it.While Solzhenitsyn portrays the exercise of moral and political authority at all levels of the hierarchy (even devoting a few chapters to a portrait of a failing Stalin), the novel's principal setting is a special prison where inmates conduct scientific research. Through his treatment of the prisoners, the secret police, and the non-prisoner Muscovites trying to lead honest lives during this difficult period, Solzhenitsyn explores the problems of complicity and conscience, ends and means. Included are many reflections on Soviet history of the sort Solzhenitsyn expanded in The Gulag Archipelago.


Off the Beaten Tracks: Stories by Russian Hitchhikers by Irina Bogatyreva, Igor Savelyev and Tatiana Mazepina, Russia - 2
Spoiler:
In favour - sun surfer, jemc


From Amazon:

By and about Russian hitchhikers, these stories take the reader along the endless roads of central Russia, the Urals, the Altai, Siberia, and beyond. In energetic and vivid prose they depict all sorts of curious Russian types: exotic adventures in far-flung places, the complex psychological relationships that develop on the road, and these hitchhikers' inexplicable passion for tramping. "In via veritas" is their motto. The authors are all winners of the Debut Prize, and will present the book at BEA in 2012 in New York.

Igor Savelyev was born in 1983 in Ufa (Bashkiria). He holds a degree in Philology from Ufa University and is now at work on his Ph.D. A short novel based on his experiences hitchhiking was a finalist for both the Debut and Belkin prizes in 2004. Critics have noted his “masterful, finely chiseled style based on brilliant counterpoints like a virtuoso music piece” and have said of his writing “Here realism is bordering on phantasmagoria, a striking sample of new-generation psychological prose.”

Irina Bogatyreva, born in 1982 on the Volga, is widely published in the leading literary magazines and has won several literary prizes, including the Debut Prize for her novel AUTO-STOP. She also has several other books to her credit.

Tatiana Mazepina is the latest winner of the Debut Prize for her travelogue about her Eastern travels. She is a member of the "Society of Free Travellers". She works as a journalist writing on religious matters.


The Silent Steppe by Mukhamet Shayakhmetov, Kazakhstan - 3
Spoiler:
In favour - paola, sun surfer, issybird


The Silent Steppe is an enthralling story of a family living through one of the most traumatic periods of Soviet history, as seen through the eyes of a young boy growing up in a family of Kazakh nomads. It encompasses the horrors of political persecution and famine in the 1930s, and culminates in the author's first hand account of the Battle of Stalingrad and his long trek home through freezing winter conditions after being wounded and discharged from the Red Army.

(from here)

Available as pbook here

In the US, libraries that borrow from WorldCat shouldn't have a problem obtaining a copy.

Last edited by sun surfer; 11-05-2012 at 08:59 AM.
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Old 11-01-2012, 10:24 PM   #2
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If Central Asia, East Europe & Russia wins the nomination, I have an awesome nomination from Russia. No - it's not Dostoyevsky this time.
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Old 11-02-2012, 09:24 AM   #3
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I would like to nominate We by Yevgeny Zamyatin.

This book has been called the grandfather of dystopian fiction, directly influencing George Orwell's 1984, Aldous Huxley's Brave New World, Ursula Le Guin's The Dispossessed, Ayn Rand's Anthem and Kurt Vonnegut's Player Piano.

Although the Russian work is probably in the public domain, the English translations are not (as far as I know). However, there are 3 different versions that seem commonly available at different prices.

Amazon US (1)
Amazon US (2)
Amazon US (3)

B&N (1)
B&N (2)
B&N (3)

Kobo (1)
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Old 11-02-2012, 11:05 AM   #4
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I would second "We".

If any other Germans are reading or lurking in this thread: there is a German version of "Wir" in our MobileRead library:
http://www.mobileread.com/forums/showthread.php?t=41815
(other formats also available).
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Old 11-02-2012, 12:04 PM   #5
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Billi, I will take your "would" for We as a "will".


I'll nominate Doctor Zhivago by Boris Pasternak. I've never read it and would love to, and think it'd be a good book to discuss.

Spoiler:
First published in Italy in 1957 amid international controversy, Doctor Zhivago is the story of the life and loves of a poet/physician during the turmoil of the Russian Revolution. Taking his family from Moscow to what he hopes will be shelter in the Ural Mountains, Zhivago finds himself instead embroiled in the battle between the Whites and the Reds. Set against this backdrop of cruelty and strife is Zhivago's love for the tender and beautiful Lara, the very embodiment of the pain and chaos of those cataclysmic times. Pevear and Volokhonsky masterfully restore the spirit of Pasternak's original—his style, rhythms, voicings, and tone—in this beautiful translation of a classic of world literature.

“One of the very great books of our time.” —The New Yorker

“Pevear and Volokhonsky have done a masterly job translating what ought to be considered the definitive English edition of Doctor Zhivago.” —The New Criterion

“A welcome opportunity for anyone who has already read Dr. Zhivago to revisit it and experience a richly rewarding fresh take on an epic tale. For those coming to it for the first time it is a chance to read one of the greatest novels of all times.” —New York Journal of Books

“As well as a gripping story, Doctor Zhivago is a work of meditation and quiet challenge. Pasternak meant every word of it. I believe he would be pleased with the powerful fidelity of the translation now before us.” —Angela Livingstone, The Times Literary Supplement (London)


About the Author:

A poet, translator, and novelist, Boris Pasternak was born in Moscow in 1890. In 1958 he was awarded the Nobel Prize in Literature but, facing threats from Soviet authorities, refused the prize. He lived in virtual exile in an artists’ community near Moscow until his death in 1960.

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Old 11-02-2012, 02:53 PM   #6
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I will second Doctor Zhivago. I have seen the film several times, but I have never read the book. Actually I have never read anything by Pasternak I am ashamed to admit. I have set a goal for myself that I will read at least one book by every winner of the Nobel Prize in Literature, and this would further that goal.

For the same reason I would like to nominate The First Circle by Aleksandr Solzhenitsyn. This is available as an e-book.

Spoiler:
The First Circle of Dante's Hell -- where the souls of the pre-Christian philosophers are doomed to exist throughout eternity -- stands in this novel as a metaphor for certain penal institutions of Stalin's Russia. Set in Moscow during a three-day period in December 1949, The First Circle is the story of the prisoner Gleb Nerzhin, a brilliant mathematician. At the age of thirty-one, Nerzhin has, like the author, survived the war years on the German front and the post-war years in a succession of Russian prisons and labor camps. His story is interwoven with the stories of a dozen fellow prisoners -- each an unforgettable human being -- from the prison janitor to the tormented Marxist intellectual who designed the Dnieper dam; of the reigning elite and their conflicted subordinates; and of the women, wretched or privileged, bound to these men. As we follow Nerzhin's fortunes, we become familiar with the inner paths of an entire society -- one vast Inferno -- and the diverse ways in which different men and women managed, or failed, to live within it.While Solzhenitsyn portrays the exercise of moral and political authority at all levels of the hierarchy (even devoting a few chapters to a portrait of a failing Stalin), the novel's principal setting is a special prison where inmates conduct scientific research. Through his treatment of the prisoners, the secret police, and the non-prisoner Muscovites trying to lead honest lives during this difficult period, Solzhenitsyn explores the problems of complicity and conscience, ends and means. Included are many reflections on Soviet history of the sort Solzhenitsyn expanded in The Gulag Archipelago.
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Old 11-02-2012, 04:25 PM   #7
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so frustrating - there are some Kazakh authors that I wanted to read, but their books ar only available in print, and one in particular is so expensive that I cannot possibly propose it.
I am not giving up, but while I keep searching I will third Doctor Zhivago, which I haven't read (nor I have seen the movie).

EDIT: I am also thirding We

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Old 11-02-2012, 04:51 PM   #8
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I'm going to nominate Purge, a 2008 novel by Estonian author Sofi Oksanen. Available in ebook.

Briefly, Purge is a story of two women forced to confront their own dark pasts, of collusion and resistance, of rape and sexual slavery set against the backdrop of the Soviet occupation of Estonia. (from Wikipedia).

A review from The Guardian.

I hope I can say without sounding churlish that I'm a little fatigued by doorstopper Russian classics and that I'd love to see us pick a recent novel from one of the newly independent former Soviet republics and not necessarily this one. Especially if someone has a recent book from one of the Muslim countries, please, bring it on!
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Old 11-02-2012, 08:14 PM   #9
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Quote:
Originally Posted by issybird View Post

I hope I can say without sounding churlish that I'm a little fatigued by doorstopper Russian classics and that I'd love to see us pick a recent novel from one of the newly independent former Soviet republics and not necessarily this one. Especially if someone has a recent book from one of the Muslim countries, please, bring it on!
That's actually a splendid idea. Unfortunately I know of no such books myself. After I saw your post I posted a request for any such suggestions on the Facebook page of a friend. After he retired he joined the Peace Corp and spent a year in Kazakhstan. Since returning here he has regularly taken in exchange students from countries that were formerly part of the Soviet Union. I don't know that he reads that much, but maybe he will be able to suggest something, or one of his many Facebook friends from that area of the world may do so. Not that there's anything wrong with doorstoppers by Nobel Prize winning Russian authors.
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Old 11-02-2012, 10:37 PM   #10
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I'll second Purge.

I had already gone looking for some books in our chosen region not from Russia just to see what was out there. While it was fun and informative, what I found so far were very slim pickings, and the interesting ones I did find were either not translated into English yet or, as paola mentioned, not available enough even in physical form to warrant a nomination.

This region's countries pretty much seem like a case of Davids vs the Goliath, but in this case the Goliath isn't bad, just much more productive and well-known. It'll be interesting to see how rest of the nominations shape up.


ETA -

Also, I'll nominate Off the Beaten Tracks: Stories by Russian Hitchhikers by Irina Bogatyreva, Igor Savelyev and Tatiana Mazepina.

Spoiler:
From Amazon:

By and about Russian hitchhikers, these stories take the reader along the endless roads of central Russia, the Urals, the Altai, Siberia, and beyond. In energetic and vivid prose they depict all sorts of curious Russian types: exotic adventures in far-flung places, the complex psychological relationships that develop on the road, and these hitchhikers' inexplicable passion for tramping. "In via veritas" is their motto. The authors are all winners of the Debut Prize, and will present the book at BEA in 2012 in New York.

Igor Savelyev was born in 1983 in Ufa (Bashkiria). He holds a degree in Philology from Ufa University and is now at work on his Ph.D. A short novel based on his experiences hitchhiking was a finalist for both the Debut and Belkin prizes in 2004. Critics have noted his “masterful, finely chiseled style based on brilliant counterpoints like a virtuoso music piece” and have said of his writing “Here realism is bordering on phantasmagoria, a striking sample of new-generation psychological prose.”

Irina Bogatyreva, born in 1982 on the Volga, is widely published in the leading literary magazines and has won several literary prizes, including the Debut Prize for her novel AUTO-STOP. She also has several other books to her credit.

Tatiana Mazepina is the latest winner of the Debut Prize for her travelogue about her Eastern travels. She is a member of the "Society of Free Travellers". She works as a journalist writing on religious matters.

Last edited by sun surfer; 11-02-2012 at 11:18 PM.
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Old 11-04-2012, 04:55 AM   #11
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I can't find this as a US ebook, but I'll nominate it anyway. I have a paperback and its been in my TBR list for a while now.

The Master and the Margarita by Mikhail Bulgakov.

Spoiler:
Nothing in the whole of literature compares with The Master and Margarita. Full of pungency and wit, this luminous work is Bulgakov's crowning achievement, skilfully blending magical and realistic elements, grotesque situations and major ethical concerns. Written during the darkest period of Stalin's repressive reign and a devastating satire of Soviet life, it combines two distinct yet interwoven parts, one set in contemporary Moscow, the other in ancient Jerusalem, each brimming with incident and with historical, imaginary, frightful and wonderful characters. Although completed in 1940, The Master and Margarita was not published until 1966 when the first section appeared in the monthly magazine Moskva. Russians everywhere responded enthusiastically to the novel's artistic and spiritual freedom and it was an immediate and enduring success. This new translation has been made from the complete and unabridged Russian text.

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Old 11-04-2012, 07:06 AM   #12
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Originally Posted by drofgnal View Post
I can't find this as a US ebook, but I'll nominate it anyway. I have a paperback and its been in my TBR list for a while now.

The Master and the Margarita by Mikhail Bulgakov.

Spoiler:
Nothing in the whole of literature compares with The Master and Margarita. Full of pungency and wit, this luminous work is Bulgakov's crowning achievement, skilfully blending magical and realistic elements, grotesque situations and major ethical concerns. Written during the darkest period of Stalin's repressive reign and a devastating satire of Soviet life, it combines two distinct yet interwoven parts, one set in contemporary Moscow, the other in ancient Jerusalem, each brimming with incident and with historical, imaginary, frightful and wonderful characters. Although completed in 1940, The Master and Margarita was not published until 1966 when the first section appeared in the monthly magazine Moskva. Russians everywhere responded enthusiastically to the novel's artistic and spiritual freedom and it was an immediate and enduring success. This new translation has been made from the complete and unabridged Russian text.

Been done. It was the Literary Club selection for June 2011.
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Old 11-04-2012, 07:13 AM   #13
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So it seems that there are not many books available from any of the Central Asian countries that were once part of the USSR. My friend could only recommend one that would be available in English translation. That one is not available as an ebook and in fact would be difficult to obtain even as a paper book.

Since I have used up two of my nominations I will use the other two for We by Yevgeny Zamyatin and Purge by Sofi Oksanen.
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Old 11-04-2012, 08:16 AM   #14
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drofgnal, that's a great book and great nomination, but like Hamlet53 said it won already so it's ineligible - it was actually this club's very first selection!
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Old 11-04-2012, 08:17 AM   #15
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I am thirding Purge.

Quote:
Originally Posted by issybird View Post
I hope I can say without sounding churlish that I'm a little fatigued by doorstopper Russian classics and that I'd love to see us pick a recent novel from one of the newly independent former Soviet republics and not necessarily this one.
Second that, also because there is a sense in which for these classic the comparative advantage of discussing them in the book club are lower (because of so much written on them) than for less known stuff. The problem is finding English translations (let alone ebook versions). I came across this article in the Guardian, but could not find much. I am not giving up just yet though...

EDIT: I'll nominate The Silent Steppe:
Quote:
The Silent Steppe is an enthralling story of a family living through one of the most traumatic periods of Soviet history, as seen through the eyes of a young boy growing up in a family of Kazakh nomads. It encompasses the horrors of political persecution and famine in the 1930s, and culminates in the author's first hand account of the Battle of Stalingrad and his long trek home through freezing winter conditions after being wounded and discharged from the Red Army.
(from here)

Available as pbook only, I am afraid, and not cheap, e.g. here: wasn't quite sure whether this is too much, but I guess "secondments" will tell!

Last edited by paola; 11-04-2012 at 08:28 AM.
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