In college, I'd wander into the library stacks to write papers only to be distracted by Joseph Frank’s brilliant concatenation of intellectual history, literary criticism, painstaking archival work and soul-searching, which happened to occupy my corner of the stacks. Joseph Frank is the greatest biographer of Dostoevsky in any language; and the academe long viewed with trepidation the prospect that Frank would die before completing his magnum opus. Dostoevsky, the work of thirty-two years and five volumes, seems a worthy use of a life. Now Frank, 91, has overseen a masterful condensation of the 2,500 page original into a single volume fit for popular (albeit of the NYRB sort) consumption. Despite his prodigious literary productivity, Dostoevsky’s life did not lack incident: epileptic fits, the murder of his father, revolutionary intrigue, Siberian exile, gambling away his last pennies in Europe… It all reads a little bit like a Dostoevsky novel.

Dostoevsky: A Writer in His Time Cover Image
$32.50
ISBN: 9780691155999
Availability: Not On Our Shelves—Ships in 1-5 Days
Published: Princeton University Press - August 26th, 2012

To the uninitiated, "Eastern European cuisine" calls to mind a bleak, unappealing spread of heavy, colorless dough, unappetizingly pickled fish and flavorless broths: gulag fare. Not so! Eschew these Dr. Zhivago motifs, because the popular Bulgarian-born London chef, Silvena Rowe, brings out the fresh, delicious and unexpected aspects of Central and Eastern European cuisines. If I could, I would eat only Georgian food (as in, the Republic of Georgia): handfuls of fresh herbs, unexpected savory treatments of fruit (dried and fresh), walnuts in everything and pomegranates to round things off. The cuisine of Central Europe has absorbed the Turkish influences of piquant eggplant, feta, and peppers to original, flavorful effect. The book is brimming with photos of cottage preserves and Georgian street vendors. For autumnal revelry, I recommend the eggplant stacks with feta and pumpkin (page 108) and the pomegranate, pumpkin and lamb stew (page 42). And if you're waxing nostalgic for Dr. Zhivago, there is a dumplings chapter.

The Eastern and Central European Kitchen: Contemporary & Classic Recipes Cover Image
By Silvena Rowe, Jonathan Lovekin (Photographer)
$29.95
ISBN: 9781566566704
Availability: Special Order—Subject to Availability
Published: Interlink Books - March 1st, 2007

The Eastern and Central European Kitchen: Contemporary & Classic Recipes Cover Image
By Silvena Rowe, Jonathan Lovekin (Photographer)
$20.00
ISBN: 9781566566780
Availability: Special Order—Subject to Availability
Published: Interlink Books - October 1st, 2008

Though implausible, the most chortlingly funny book I’ve read in years is about graduate school. Elif Batuman’s story-telling is disarming and her relentless enthusiasm for books is contagious. In the seven essays of The Possessed: My Adventures with Russian Books and the People Who Read Them (Farrar, Straus and Giroux, $15), Batuman, a Turkish-American, recaps her immoderate enamorment with Russian literature and how this love leads her to Stanford’s Comp Lit department and a cohort which she likens to the spiraling madness of Dostoevsky’s Demons (a k a The Possessed). Her love also takes her farther afield, to a mystifying summer in Samarkand studying Old Uzbek epics; to an International Tolstoy Scholars Conference and suspicions of foul play; and to the Neva River to investigate the curiously sinister backstory of an ice palace for The New Yorker. Familiarity with Babel and Bakunin aren’t prerequisites; Batuman’s book is a clever treatise on the reasons we read.

The Possessed: Adventures with Russian Books and the People Who Read Them Cover Image
$17.00
ISBN: 9780374532185
Availability: Not On Our Shelves—Ships in 1-5 Days
Published: Farrar, Straus and Giroux - February 16th, 2010

Pages