Saturday, October 29, 2011

Mixing it up.

Thanks to the wonder that is Goodreads, I got interested in reading the classic The Island of Doctor Moreau by H.G. Wells. It was found among the recommendations for me based on previous Science Fiction and Classics that I have rated. At the same time, I have too many "ordinary" books to read so this one would have to wait... unless I read it in another language!

So I thought Ukrainian. But, if I read it in Ukrainian, it will take me a year. So why not French? A bit too easy perhaps. Russian? Yes, that would do it. Although Hungarian, which would take me five years, would be cool as well.

So I decided to mix it. A couple of pages in each language here and there, and I will print the whole thing piece by piece and mix it together in all my languages (which is why I need it as a text document). I wonder what this will do to my overall feeling of the book, how I perceive it once read, and in what language I will remember it. It will be a nice experiment.

The problem? I only have the book in Ukrainian and French. A friend has been looking for it in Hungarian for me, but haven't been able to find it. Even though the original is out of copyright, the translation may not be, etc. If anyone with awesome Hungarian searching powers is out there and can find it in the depths of the Internet, please (please) do. I figure finding it in Russian will be easy. Oh! German! I will include German! Any German e-book sites out there?

Monday, October 17, 2011

Popping by to say hello.

This is a poor excuse for a post, but I'm incredibly busy these days and never find the time to write about anything. There are some things that must be said though.

1) Ukrainian is a very sweet language, and I really enjoy writing semi-retarded texts in it.
2) Linguistics has the potential of being interesting.

Furthermore, I have discovered the site Goodreads thanks to Thom. I find it very practical and it further motivates me to try to squeeze in some reading every now and then. If you sign up, feel free to add me. I am especially hoping to discover some new french literature soon. Hopefully that means discovering that some book I already own is awesome.

I'm quite happy to announce that there is a new very impressive Swedish author out there, and her name is Åsa Linderborg. If you get the chance to read her debut novel, do it. There's actually a Russia-Soviet link in it that I had no idea about when I bought the book.

Åsa Linderborg. Foto: Scanpix

With regards to reading, I read this article today, "Zoran Živkovic and the plight of non-English authors", which was very interesting. The title says it all. Luckily, I'm quite sure I don't conform to the norm ;)

Thursday, September 15, 2011

Oh Kiev...

This blog is turning very hard-core Slavic... It's quite natural since I nowadays don't have much time for anything else. I visited Kiev during the last week together with a friend. Since going to Russia is such a hassle, and since a friend from Russia wanted to meet up in Kiev, we decided to go there for a couple of days. I fell quite in love with the city, which has an absolutely fantastic monastery area and a huge book market! I was hoping to find an OCS dictionary (preferably Старославянский Словарь by Цейтлин) but... no, it's Russian apparently and even though they had tons of other books related to OCS, the place wasn't exactly drowning in dictionaries. I did find one single (full) dictionary, but it was outside of my price range. I got myself several grammar books though, both in Russian and Ukrainian, several decorative items for my study (I may end up looking like I'm highly religious!) and an old book in old church Slavonic (that one wasn't expensive!). I'll leave you to the pictures.

This and the two following are photos from inside the Lavra, the monastery area in Kiev. This area was built by Yaroslav the Wise's sons in the 11th century and includes caves where monks lie "buried". The old man's tomb, however, is found in the Saint Sophia Cathedral (where, unfortunately, you aren't allowed to take photos).

Books bought at the book market at Petrovka metro station. My pile is the one to the left.

This one I bought in a store with... random old stuff! I don't really know how old it is, if it is really very old or not, but it wasn't expensive and it's fun to have something that feels authentic.

Part of my new interior decoration ;)

Wednesday, July 27, 2011


This is a post about many things. First of all, I don't really feel I can write anything without saying something about the massacre that took place here recently. Everyone knows everything about it already, so I thought I would just mention the spontaneous march of roses that took place the day before yesterday. I think it is what most people would prefer to remember from this week, and it was truly impressive. Some guy started a Facebook event, encouraging people to join in a march in honor of the victims. When I signed up, the same day the event was started, we were 37,000. The next day at six, 150,000+ people showed up. Oslo has 500,000 inhabitants. Shops, even grocery stores, closed so that the staff could participate. Of course, there could be no march, because the entire city was jammed with people, so there was no space to actually march on. I don't know how long it took us to even get from the City Hall to the Cathedral (usually a five-minute walk or so), where a great collection of flowers had been started day before. When we got there, we had to spend perhaps 10 minutes trying to get to the front row in order to put our roses down (that someone had given to us at the City Hall since we did not have any of our own). People also had sunflowers, orchids, lilies - there were no more roses to be found in the city. Flowers were put everywhere around the city, on police cars, on statues, along the roadblocks put up around the bombed area, etc. You should really have a look at the pictures presented here ("A City of Love"), it's quite impressive. I wonder who's going to clean it up. Especially the sea of flowers at the cathedral makes me wonder (Check out no 25). I will just add one pictured here.

UPDATE: This is the link you really want to go to! 360 degrees panorama of the sea of roses in front of the Cathedral of Oslo (there's actually a trafficated road there!).

Now - other things.

Rita and Zhenja, the second generation of the series.

I finally finished И всё-таки я люблю. In the beginning, I thought this was going to be a cheerful, cute kind of series. How wrong one can be. If something sums this series up, it's "shit happens, life goes on and then you die". Somewhere around episode seven everything started going to hell, and continued to do so until episode 25, with some brief periods of hope in between. I always thought things would just fix themselves, but quite obviously Russia is not Hollywood, and things do not necessarily end happily. Still, I'm quite impressed with this series. The actors got better and better, the setting is extremely well done, and you really get drawn in, more so than by many other series I've seen and enjoyed. The story is very complex and so are the characters. A lot of them are frighteningly unsympathetic, and then all of sudden show some sort of humanity - and you start liking them. The main characters (on whose side you are) also have moments of... "weakness". In the first part, which deals with Vera, I actually started thinking about Justine (which I still haven't finished!). Again and again she is fooled into something, deceived by people she trusts, driving her deeper and deeper into misery. I'm really happy I'm finished with this series now, cause it was a bitch to watch and kept me up too late some evenings, but I'm also very glad I got to see it. I regained some respect for Russian TV and I got lots of listening practice. And I fell completely in love with Zhenja.

So how about Tadoku and old church Slavonic? Well, I haven't been reading a lot the last couple of days, and since finishing my last Russian book, I have somewhat lost motivation for the competition. After trying a couple of different books I am now finally reading Раковый Корпус (Solzhenitsyn). Most of all I want to read something in Norwegian or English, but I guess that has to wait a couple days. After seeing the new version of Jane Eyre yesterday (I really liked it!) I want to read some more Brontë, because there are actually a couple of books I haven't read yet. Staying Russian/German is veeeery difficult right now.

The reason I haven't been posting a lot is that I'm constantly busy working (I never seem to have time off, and when I do, I have to go somewhere or do something). More and more Russians have been coming to Oslo, meaning I get to speak more Russian at work, and when I get home I have to try to analyze some sentences for the university project. I'm really hoping I will benefit from it when I start my old church Slavonic class, because I don't really feel like I have any time to actually study the language now.

The second Russian book I read for the competition was Реки by Гришковец. It's more like novella, and it didn't take very long to read. I can't really say it has touched me greatly, even though it has some stylistic things I like. I was sometimes annoyed by the narrator's narrowmindedness, his failure to relate to things as long as they touched upon another reality than his. He did have some interesting remarks on identification and group mentality.

I've also been listening to some Russian music lately. I find Anna German very soothing and somehow uplifting.

Tuesday, July 12, 2011

Another attempt at modern Russian literature.

I finally feel like I have actually read a novel in Russian. Not that I haven't read many books in Russian before, but either they have been classics or I haven't liked them. This book I actually like. I don't like it as much as I like the books of Magda Szabo, who also writes these kinds of books (dealing with life in all its variations), because I feel like Rubina sometimes just goes a little bit too far. It is still within what is plausible (most of the time) - you don't necessarily start thinking about how improbable the story is or something like that, but you aren't too far from doing it.

Even though I like it, I have some comments to make. Firstly, the author is a bit too fond of using metaphors, something that may turn out to be a bit tiresome. Describing something does not always have to imply comparing it with something in order to get your message across.

Another thing, which is much more serious, is that I have some trouble keeping up with the different parts of the book. Some are in the first-person, some in the third, and for a great part of the book I was sometimes confused, believing I had misunderstood who I was reading about. It does become clear in the end, but somehow this still felt unsatisfying. At one instance, I thought I was reading about the character in the female first-person narrative that had previously appeared (a woman connected to the United States) when all of a sudden I realized that past tense verbs were all in the masculine... I'm still not really sure who it was or about. It doesn't help that the author tries to interweave these stories, the destinies of different people, by the means of introducing characters that appear in the separate parts. Common friends, people randomly met on the street, etc. Perhaps it's because I'm not Russian, but I can't remember the random names mentioned here and there with intervals of perhaps 50 pages. Often I know I'm supposed to recognize the name, but among the perhaps five female names that have popped up somewhere along the way, I just can't remember which one it is.

Somewhere in the middle of the book, something weird happened. I think I lost focus for a while, and this may have been somewhat detrimental to my continued understanding of the book. All of a sudden, one of the characters starts telling the stories of different people that she or he has somehow been connected to. I found this both a bit boring and confusing.

I'm guessing the main problem I have with this book is that it tries to be a bit too complex. It could have dropped a lot of the "let's make this an epic drama"-attempts and been none the worse off for it. This is what I feel is the difference between this book and Magda Szabo's books - Szabo doesn't try so hard. She keeps it rather simple. All the people in this book have fantastic destinies, accomplish great things and go through huge changes in their lives. As such, they kind of come across as not really... real people.

Still, this was a very nice read. It wasn't necessarily very easy, and sometimes, when the author strayed away from the ordinary narrative - even though I was understanding what it was reading - I could read three pages without getting anything substantial out of it because of the metaphysical (or whatever) character and endless metaphors. So what do I like? I absolutely love that it's about Tashkent, so that I get some insight into other parts of the Soviet world. I also like how different people perceive Taskhent differently, and how there seems to be so much hospitality and so few connections to ordinary subjects often touched upon in books set in the Soviet Union (and there is a hint that that towards the end of the book). There is no lack of interesting characters, and it's interesting how, in changing from one generation to the next, the first becomes through and through evil, whereas you previously did have sympathy with it. There is, as a matter of fact, no lack of unsympathetic characters.

Now, the ending... I think I'm just going to forget about that one. It was not at all what I expected, and not in a good way, more of a "oh please, don't go there, don't ruin it now". So I'll just forget about it. It didn't add anything to the story and was completely irrelevant.

Of course, there's a movie. And I must see it, even though it doesn't look very good (poor acting). The actor playing Vera is a very good match. The one playing Lenja, on the other hand...

Thursday, June 30, 2011

Read More or Die.

Since I haven't been extremely active on language forums and blogs lately, or let's say during the whole spring, I have kind of missed out on things. For once I did actually manage to catch something on time though and signed up for the Read More or Die July challenge. Of course, I hereby encourage everyone else to also sign up. It starts tomorrow.

It's a rather simple thing. You read as much as you can in the languages you have signed up for and you post your results regularly on Twitter, and the challenge-bot calculates the scores.

My languages will be Russian and German. For Russian I'm reading На солнечной стороне улицы by Дина Рубина and for German Märchenprinz by Marian Keyes.

Keeping away from part three of Abercrombie's trilogy may prove extremely difficult. Which is why I'm going to read as much as I can of it now.

Monday, June 27, 2011


I had the feeling that I was supposed to remember that French book I read some time ago when I wrote my last post. Today, a couple of friends came over and we made an apple pie. One girl told us about how her grandmother had been somewhat ahead of her time when she was young, being already engaged to another man when she met her husband and all, and therefore naturally considered a somewhat loose woman. My friend exclaimed "I wish someone would think of me as a hussy" (makes complete sense in our little group, and in this country), and I all of a sudden remembered what book it was. In the book, the main character is afraid of being perceived as a slut if she has more than one boyfriend. The story probably takes place around the same time as when my friend's mother was young, not as far back as her grandmother.

I really can't believe I actually forgot I read this book, since the author is one of my favorites.


Anyway, this book is just as good as all the other Ernaux books I have read. I could have underlined half of it to use as quotes. It's really a quite sad story. The narrator tells the story of her life, of how she started out as an ambitious little girl who did very well in school and who had great hopes for the future. She came from an unusual family where the mother worked in a café and the father did all the cooking at home, so she never learned how to be a good wife. Then as she grows older, her prospects grow poorer and poorer, and all of a sudden she has a husband, who at first supports her a great deal and seems to be very much in favor of the liberation of women. But then he becomes more and more important, and she has to step down. She is but a woman, after all. All of a sudden there's a baby, and the narrator has no life anymore. All she sees of the town she lives in is the sidewalks where she pushes the baby's trolley. She lives, briefly, when the child is asleep. And when he comes home, he is tired from work, and needs other distractions outside of the home (perhaps just once a week, at first, then more and more often). He cannot be expected to take care of the baby then, so she is stuck with it. More or less, this is the story of how joy and thirst for life are slowly quenched by traditional family life, and how the narrator ends up being one of many frozen women.

I love quotes, so naturally, I'm going to fill this post with a couple of them. How many cannot recognize this one, for example? Puis l'enthousiasme s'effiloche, je n'ai pas de vocation, découverte consternante. You know how everything seemed so simple when you were a kid, how you were so certain that when you grew up you would just magically end up having a job that you liked? How you would just magically know what to do with your life? Mmm. Right.

A lot of the book is about how she feels unjustly treated by society. How she can't feel that there is something different between herself and the boys that would somehow make them superior.

Ne pas vexer les garçons, tu ne sais donc pas ? Ce que je ne sais pas, c'est cacher à un garçon qu'il me plaît. Les hommes aiment choisir, ma vieille. Que m'importe, moi aussi j'aime choisir, je ne comprends toujours pas la différence. La bourde, l'inversion des rôles, tout de suite taxée des fille facile, dans la poche. Il n'existe pas de garçon facile.

And this I absolutely love. Même silence en histoire, aucune voix mâle, de celles qui braillent dans le couloir, n'interrompt le soliloque triomphant de Froinu, ça ne les gêne pas plus que les filles d'être traités en demeurés par le prof. A moins qu'ils n'aient peur de se faire remarquer, examen first. Pour le conformisme et la passivité, l'égalité des sexes était parfaite à la fac. Mais je découvrais qu'il existe des études pour femmes et des études pour hommes, « la littérature, les langues, rien que des nanas », j'entends ce mot pour la première fois aussi. « pour un homme il vaut mieux faire des sciences », c'est une fille qui me l'assure. Je ne voyais pas pourquoi, toujours le même mal fou à admettre les différences que je ne sentais pas. J'en entendais des phrases étonnantes, « la création littéraire ressemble à une éjaculation », prof de lettres, cours sur Péguy, « tous les critiques sont des impuissants », assistant de philo, l'écriture cent fois ramenée à l'activité du pénis, mais je n'y attachais pas d'importance, je traduisais, ou plutôt ça m'arrivait tout traduit, la création littéraire était orgasme sans distinction mâle ou femelle et quand je lisais Éluard, « moi je vais vers la vie, j'ai l'apparence d'homme » c'est à moi que je pensais.

Friday, June 24, 2011

Berlin, Norway, Books and Work.

I finally consider summer to truly be here. Not because of the weather, but because the last exam results are in and the spring semester can finally be called a closed chapter. I've already had the time to squeeze in two vacations, even though one was more of a work thing and quite exhausting. Pictures from both will naturally be presented in this post!

Sadly, my reading was slowed down significantly towards the end of the semester. I'm slowly getting back to it though, in particular by the help of some fantasy. I haven't read fantasy in years, but a friend recommended some books to me on the basis of our mutual appreciation of George R.R. Martin's A Game of Thrones (2nd season please come quickly). The series in question is Joe Abercrombie's The First Law trilogy, and I have so far read the first book and a third of the second. It's both interesting and amusing. Abercrombie is not hiding the fact that he is borrowing things from all over the place. Some things are actually taken directly out of of Martin's books, some from traditional fantasy, and others from our world. A group of mismatched people setting out on a mission, a center land threatened both by forces from the South and from the North; racism, colonialism, cultural differences, south/North oppositions - you have it all but it does not feel old. I'm reading these books on my Kindle, which suits me fine since they are something like 600 pages each and I prefer not dragging books that size around in my bag.

I really have the impression I read something in French recently. But what was it?

But yes, we went on an unplanned vacation to Berlin. I fell in love with the city and got very much inspired to learn German. Of course, I bought at least one book and a magazine. I thought I'd keep it quite simple and got myself a Marian Keyes book. I'm really looking forward to reading it- whenever I find the time. My two summer jobs - Old Church Slavonic text analysis at the University and Oslo Tourist Information - are proving quite time-consuming. But in July, everyone I know leaves Oslo (including myself - going to Sweden for a couple of days), so then I will have somewhat less to do.

Not only have I finally visited Germany for real, I have also seen the postcard version of Norway. It is somehat odd to have lived in this country for four years without having seen the fjords, but getting to said fjords is a rather expensive affair. It is not when work pays for it. So with a group of 10 people from the tourist information I went on a tour called Norway in a Nutshell. The schedule was very tight, but as you can see from the photos you get to see some quite spectacular scenery (the funniest part of which is that you actually find houses in some of them!). Of all the things we did (various boats, trains and buses non-stop for 2 days) and I would say that that bus trip out of Bergen among the mountains through countless tunnels (which is, as a matter of fact, how you travel across Norway) early in the morning was the most impressive by far. Quite appropriately, most of the members of the group fell asleep :-)

Sunday, May 29, 2011

Just one more exam to go.

I haven't finished a book in ages. But let forget about that, it's only making me depressed. I'm in the middle of four now. Perhaps more. Gngh.

I always kind of envy people who study Japanese, because they have a ton of anime they can get addicted to and thereby get lots of free exposure. I'm never able to find anything interesting in Russian (just like I can't find any fabulous novels in Russian). Buuut, luckily, other people occasionally find things for me. Vera recommended the series И всё-таки я люблю, and finally I have something to watch. I once tried my luck with a modern version of Dr. Zhivago, but I found the horrible overacting insupportable. This series is much better, and even though I have only seen two episodes so far, I think I'm already a bit hooked. Which was exactly what I was looking for.

Try it for yourselves.

Of course, other suggestions for Russian series are very welcome.

Other than that, I can mention that I got my first "Russian" working at the tourist information the other day. Of course, I have never spoken Russian so badly before, but that's life. My job is proving very useful for my French, because I get French tourists almost every day, and I realize that my spoken French is perhaps not what it used to be. Children, never forget the importance of maintenance!

Sunday, May 8, 2011

More cat.

Norwegian has one word that is very cute: ymse. In Swedish, I would use a far less exciting word, notably diverse. This word suits this post very well, because it's just a little bit of everything.

I have almost caught up with my book reading. With almost I mean that I've been cheating a bit. In order to be able to say that I have read anything at all, I decided to throw in the tiny volume Mordre au travers by Virginie Despentes, and since I finished reading Three Sisters in Russian, I will count that as well.

So what do I have to say about Mordre au travers? This is a collection of short stories written in the 90s; most of them in classical prose, two in a semi-poetry format. First of all, I must say that Despentes is not the kind of author that is suited for collections of short stories. Her short stories are always sensational, and they are best enjoyed one by one in some obscure literary journal. When you read them in a collection like this, you get used to the format and you know that whatever the topic is, it's going to end very, very badly. And it does. This collection of short stories contains the most provocative material I have seen from Despentes so far. Sometimes, it's too provocative and it loses parts of its literary value because of it. But some of these short stories contain very good stuff. Despentes is very skilled at creating frantic inner monologues. And she can paint a picture that will stay put in your mind for quite some time. These short stories talk about sex, prostitution, poverty, murder, weird stuff and self-hatred. Sale grosse truie is among the saddest things I've ever read. A terme is definitely one of the most disturbing things I've ever read - but it may be going go a bit over the top (people with children should probably not read it). A little bit less sensational, and it would have been better. I very much like the touch of... fantastique, that she quite unexpectedly threw into two of the stories. I see myself rereading these stories sometime in the future, and that's a really good sign. As I was reading them, I did however feel that something was missing in them, that they could have been better than this. Or other, that they should have been.

And today I happened to visit a flea market.

A friend of mine didn't know who August Strindberg was during our bi-monthly Quiz at University, so for her birthday - as a joke - I gave her one of his books in Norwegian. Since I have been wanting to re-read Röda Rummet (the only novel of his that I have read), I was quite pleased to find it today in Swedish (together with three other works by him). I'm not reading Swedish classical literature in Norwegian. Anyway, I find it quite strange that Norwegians should not know who Strindberg is, when they are so obsessed with Sweden. Now, I'm not sure if regular Swedes know who Hamsun and Ibsen are, but I "always" have. As a funny side note, when the Russian author Aleksej Slapovskij visited Oslo during the Russian days at the House of Literature, he spoke of how Russians are interested in the culture of other countries. He said that they are familiar with Norwegian authors, and listed Hamsun and Strindberg ;) The audience began laughing (it happened to be an educated one, with people who know who Strindberg is and where he comes from) and then he corrected himself with "of course I meant Ibsen". Alexander Kielland is a classic Norwegian realist author, and I have already mentioned Bjørneboe a thousand times. I haven't actually read anything by Rainer Maria Rilke, but I've understood that I should, and I have Lettres à un jeune poète in French.

I got a request for more photos books, and since a cat happened to climb into this particular bookshelf, I couldn't resist taking a photo of it. A second cat came to join it.

Even though I should be preparing for exams and writing essays, I have been flirting with... Lithuanian. It's a very cute looking language, and it is a very interesting one because of its archaic character. I haven't been doing anything serious with it though, I've just done a couple of lessons over at - a great site for easy going introductions to languages. The site happens to be owned by a Lithuanian, so the Lithuanian course is quite extensive, and very much fun!

Monday, May 2, 2011

Busy times ahead.

I promised Vera I would show some photos of my notes from my Slavic language history class. The exam is in a month, so I had better start learning all these rules. I'm not at all worried about the part where we have to read a text in old Slavic, but memorizing rules... not my favorite thing to do, unfortunately. Posting may become somewhat sparse here in the time to come since I have to write two more essays (one includes reading quite a lot), prepare for this exam and the translation exam, pass a smaller literature exam in eight days and somehow try to read some fiction. I have now missed two 1-book-a-week books :S

This is the most recent text I've been reading, on how Oleg took Kiev in 882. Doesn't it look pretty?

And happy news! I got my Bible from the Ukraine a couple days ago. Once again, I love eBay. When exams are over I'm going to have some fun with this one and the old church Slavonic textbook I read through.

I never post photos of my cats anymore. Let's change that.

Also, I kind of have a problem with Blogger. Every time I use the non-HTML version of the text editor, the text changes into some Indian script every time I press space. Anyone know why that is?

Wednesday, April 27, 2011

Novgorod photo post.

I started a OCS language learning log on the HTLAL forum, but since you aren't supposed to post photos over there, I will continue to post things related to that subject here as well. And since there has been some talk of Novgorod in my log, I thought I should post some photos from our one-day trip there last fall. If any of the names are wrong, please feel free to correct.

Novgorod is one of Russia's oldest cities, from back in the days when there wasn't even a Russia, but a Kievan Rus' consisting of princely states. Especially in Novgorod the Prince's power was quite limited; the veche (town assembly, prominent in Novgorod) and the boyar duma (council) had considerable power as well. A displeased veche could actually throw out a Prince; there was no autocracy, and because Rus' suffered from political instability this has been used as an excuse for autocracy later on। Rus' can seem quite civilized actually। There was less corporal and capital punishment, less torture and women's conditions were better. Compared to what? To the brilliant West of course ;)

The city was founded in the 10th century - perhaps the 9th according to Wikipedia, but I'm quite certain our Professor claimed it was the 10th. The problem can be that those who wrote about the city did so centuries later (notably Nestor in Kiev, which is quite far away), when Novgorod was already one of the biggest and most important cities. They may therefore have supposed that any important things that took place in their prehistory must have taken place in Novgorod. However, Novgorod is literally "the new city", and there is an even older city not all that far away: Staraja Laduga. So what may have been referred to as Novgorod in later writings can have been Staraja Laduga. Archaeology can only back up claims of the city's existence to the 10th century.

In 1951 a lot of old writings were found in Novgorod, written on birch bark. Someone provided me with a link to photos of these in my log. According to estimations, there may be more than 20,000 such writings in Novgorod, but it's hard to find out since the city is most likely standing on top of quite a lot of them.

Sources: Wikipedia and a book from our university, "Older Slavic texts" by Bjørnflaten (my professor) and Walter G. Moss' A History of Russia.

The Kreml of Novgorod.

Statue inside the Kreml.

Софийский собор. Built in 1045-1050. That's OLD.

(Very cuddly) dogs playing inside the Kreml. :)

Dog in dire need of attention.

Swedes being boiled.

I can't remember exactly where these different churches were, but I think these ones are outside of the Kreml.

Church of St. Paraskeva Piatnitsa on the Marketplace. 1207.

And a monastery close by.

Спасский собор Юрьева монастыря. 1119.

Sunday, April 24, 2011

More on my new infatuation.

(No, it's not the iPad.)

As I mentioned earlier, I have had an iPad2 at my disposal during the last week. Since I am already the owner of a Kindle, I have always had some trouble imagining what I would use an iPad for. Halfway through the week, I realized what they were made for: reading language related PFDs. OF COURSE! The Kindle is no good for this; it can read PDFs, but the screen is too small and you have to flip it over, and each PDF page is then cut up into three Kindle pages. Not ideal when you are dealing with documents containing tables and pictures.

But just look at this...

Incidentally, in this photo you can glimpse a new cultural magazine that is being published in Norway. Yay! The country is not dead yet!

Now I'm sad about having to return this thing :-(

The document displayed on it is a new Old Church Slavonic tutorial that I found. It's meant for people who want to read prayers and such in OCS (cause it's heresy to translate these texts :P), but it seems very thorough and I am just reading through it right now, currently at page 70 or something like that. There are lots of exercises but I'm not doing them now, because it would only get me stuck somewhere and I would most likely not finish reading the actual text. It's a good book though, and the exercises look good, so I will try to do them later.

Delightfully sinister, don't you think?

In order to make preparing for exams somewhat less painful, I have also dug up my old bloc notes from France and done some fiches de révision. These things shouldn't be underestimated - provided you actually look at them after making them. And they kind of make me feel like an actual student again!

I would also like to go ahead and recommend a book that was recommended to me some years ago, К истокам слова.

This is a great book on etymology, for a non-specialized audience. Something that amazes me with many Russian nonfiction books is how easy they are to read. The authors actually go to the trouble of writing complete sentences and of not leaving out a lot of information, supposing you will get it yourself. I don't know how many of the examples presented in this book I will actually remember, but it's fun to read and you get a general picture of how words can be formed and change over time. I have only read half this book, but I hope to finish it before my Slavic language history exam ;)