Sunday, April 29, 2018

Book Updates--The Russian Novel & American Wolf

Thank goodness my copy of Life and Fate by Vasily Grossman arrived on Saturday! A very long wait from Book Depository, but getting the UK Vintage edition was well worth the time it took. I am into it 75 pages' worth of close reading yesterday late afternoon and this afternoon. I am thoroughly enjoying, including the philosophizing, I must say. I have found Grossman's ruminations about the passages of time, to be particularly engaging. Yet because the book involves characters (part of the time) who are defending Russia during the Battle of Stalingrad, I've found it helpful to see what background or historical sources I can dig up to help me understand what is going on during  this battle. I feel a little lost without them.

Antony Beevor's Stalingrad: The Fateful Siege: 1942-1943 (1998) is a paperback I picked up at a book sale for 50 cents--quite a neat copy, too. I also have Andrew Roberts's The Storm of War: A New History of the Second World War (2011), which offers a more concise description of this pivotal battle and what was at stake. You know, all my life I have avoided books about Stalingrad, mostly because of how long and incredibly complicated a siege it was. But, I will say,even the war parts of this book are not only about Stalingrad.

And furthermore, this book is not all about WAR. It is also the story of an entire family evacuated from Moscow to Kazan, a populous city 460 miles to the east, and the family members' lives once they get there. Very interesting! Like War and Peace, this novel is not solely about war. In fact, even the parts that are set in battle areas deal primarily with soldiers' feelings and thoughts and their relationships with each other rather than military strategies.

And for the audiobook that I borrowed from the library and listened to on long drives, I must report on American Wolf: A True Story of Survival and Obsession in the West by Nate Blakeslee (2017). This was a fascinating, heart-rending tale of the wildlife biologists championing the lives of wolves in Yellowstone National Park.


  1. That's some heavy reading, Judith. Just love your new header photo... I want to wander down that path!

  2. Yes, JoAnn, I love heavy reading if only it is really deeply and meaningfully heavy! Which Love and Fate truly is.
    I'd love a walk there, too, but I do end up wondering about all the darling ticks. They have been on my mind again.

  3. I'm astonished that you got that book for 50 cents - amazing! I agree with JoAnn, your new header photo is lovely.

    1. I agree that I was extremely lucky to pick up that paperback! It's a classic and in such sterling shape.
      It's funny how the prices at local library book sales have not changed over the years. I have encouraged our town library to charge a $1.00 for paperbacks, but that price is pronounced to be scandalously too costly. I frankly think that people can afford it, but CHANGE, in any form, is always HARD for people to take.
      Thank you for your kind words about the header photo. Spring green is one of my favorite colors, and it doesn't last. Sigh.