Sunday, October 23, 2011

A Conversation About Conversations.....

Fun fact bout me, I love my local ABC radio station....more specifically I am seriously into the  "Conversations" with Richard Fidler program....

"On any given day Conversations with Richard Fidler might take you from a remote Chinese village, to inside the cockpit of a space shuttle, to a family home in the middle of a warzone, to a hospital on the side of an African volcano, to the mysteries of the human brain, or to the pitch of the MCG. Conversations with Richard Fidler is funny, provocative and often deeply moving."

Incredibly fascinating, you must check it out! I download the podcasts, and excellently I am currently listening to 'conversations from early 2010 - which means, I have 100's more get through....awwwwesome! :)

I quite often listen to them while I am doing the domestic goddess thing - cleaning, cooking, hanging out washing etc, but also while I feels amazing being intellectually stimulated/inspired at the same time as physically challenging my body (listening to General Conference talks is also most excellent on long runs)

Anyway I have found one of late particularly inspiring - a conversation with Elif Batuman, author of the books "The Possessed: Adventures With Russian Books And The People Who Read Them". This was particularly  interesting for me because, being part Russian (through my mum's side, her parents immigrated to Australia at the end of World War II), I have never read a Russian novel! Whaaat?! Even more shameful is that fact that I was named after a character in "War and Peace" and I have no idea what it is about or who wrote it. I did own a Dostoyevsky novel a few years, a nice hard cover version, but I again didn't read it and no longer have it! *sigh* 

SO....with three weeks to go until an epically long university holiday, I have set two goals for myself - One I will read no less than 5 Russian novels - starting with, of course, 'War and Peace'. Secondly, I want to start learning Russian again - I did one semester when I attended university the first time when I was was awesome, and hard and I hardly remember anything!....and as I sit here totally overwhelmed and inspired by all things Russian - I want to host a Russian Christmas (January 7th) at my house this year - yes!!! That means lots of Russian cooking and craft as well for the holidays - no, no - I am not obsessive at all!! Hahaha.....its going to be wonderful! :) 

Now I would like to slightly veer of topic for a moment, in Elif's conversation she also made reference to the fact that most Russians are not very smiley. (I was also inspired on the topic of genetic characteristics by this conversation with Joe Bageant) It got me wondering what parts of my character are genetically inherited from my Russian background.....hmmm anyway, its all rather interesting, genetic culture -I may delve into this more at another time.

Matryoshka Dolls.....
I want some for my birthday!!! :) I used to own a cute set, but my children loved them so  much when they were babies they destroyed them!

Cue my Russian obsession! :) 


  1. What ever you do, don't start with War and Peace, that is a looooong book... a little overwhelming for your first Russian novel.

  2. Back again... (books are my 'thing')
    The over all impression I get from the Russian reading that I have done is that the theme of suffering is central to all of it... suffering as a means to redemption, or as a mechanism of evil. Suicide is often a major part of the plot, and unsuccessful love affairs abound.
    Some of my recommendations could be watched as movies instead of read... but movies never contain all the depth of a book.

    So in no particular order...
    Pushkin: Eugene Onegin
    Tolstoy: Anna Karenina
    Dostoyevsky: The Brothers Karamazov
    Dostoyevsky: Crime and Punishment
    Chekhov: Lady with Lapdog
    Nabokov: Lolita
    Solzhenitsyn: One day in the Life of Ivan Denisovich
    Solzhenitsyn: The Gulag Archipelago
    Pasternak: Doctor Zhivago

    Don't get into these if you are feeling bleak... I loved than as an angsty depressed older teen... but YMMV
    <3 Libby