Russian Mom Reads

Somehow I missed this book during the Perestroika era.  It was a time of a big change in Russia – the newspapers started criticizing everything they were praising just a day before; new stories were written, new books published … Strangely enough the same faces remained in Kremlin pushing the new politics…

I was a naive and still well brain-washed 10-year old, wearing my red pioneer scarf against all the new propaganda.  Even though I was the hugest fan of Rybakov’s famous children’s novels “The Dirk”, “The Bronze Bird, and “The Shot”, I completely ignored all the fuss about Children Of The Arbat.  

Finally, I set down and read this story of the Moscow intellectual youth during the Stalin’s rule. The novel was written in 1966 and 1983, and published only in 1987.  If you open this book, you will understand why publishing it earlier was unfeasible.

It’s almost impossible to comprehend how a regime, where you could be exiled for a tiny thing, like not publishing an article in a school newspaper, was tolerated by so many people.  Even stranger to know how well the country was brainwashed.  My babushka still remembers crying when Stalin died…

Russian Mom Reads

We are planning a huge Russian Easter brunch on Sunday, so I went on a hiatus from blogging this week busy with cleaning, planning, and shopping.  It also allowed me to catch up on my reading. 

I just finished The Slynx by Tatyana Tolstaya.  One of my favorite bloggers, Come Due Maiali, recommended the author. 

The modern Russian writers that I came across lately sounded to me like they wrote high on weed and mushrooms,  that they were immensely sarcastic, and enjoyed to swear like sailors…  Tolstaya appeared to be hit with the Blast, the one that destroyed the world we know and created another one full of occasionally drugged up, ignorant, swearing mutants with … consequences.  

I couldn’t put the book down – it was so enthralling and different! Tolastaya’s language skills are remarkable, and even the harshest jargon I typically would be disgusted with, seemed absolutely beautiful and appropriate.  If you are into Russian literature, I would highly recommend visiting this bizarre Moscow 200 years after the Blast.  

Natasha, thank you again for the advice! 

Russian Mom Reads

Within the last 7 days I managed to finish 4 books.

Granted, the first one had only a few chapters left. Mastretta’s “Tear This Heart Out” is a fictional story set during the times of Mexican revolution. The novel is about Catalina Guzman, who throughout the book transforms from a naïve young girl into an independent and exceptionally strong woman. I found the sharp yet humorous writing style very refreshing – the author didn’t hesitate to openly draw violence, blunt sexuality, shocking political and social norms of the period. The book definitely keeps you on your toes!

After this Mexican story I jumped right into the magic world of young adult fiction, “The Hunger Games” trilogy by Suzanne Collins. Of course, as most such books, it was much easier to dive into. How did I manage to finish 3 books in less than a week, all while chasing the kids? Easy! Even though, unlike my previous read, it had absolutely unrealistic setting, the story gave me serious nightmares! Hence, since I couldn’t sleep because of the damn books anyways, I decided to get over and done with them reading till 3 or 4 am almost every night.

I’m not about to sum up ” The Hunger Games”. They are SO 2010! It’s almost like if I were to write a review on “Harry Potter” at this point – everyone knows it’s a whole a lot of awesomeness, and you are not going to learn anything new from this Russian mom!

On my part, I think I’m going to take a little break from reading, catch up on my sleep, and remind the husband, that my place is in our bed, by his side!

Ta-ta!

Crunchy Granola

A stay-at-home mom with the most contagious smile I’ve ever seen, who lives on our block, made a New Year resolution she won’t regret.  She decided to hang out with the neighbors more.  It’s understandable, we are pretty awesome…  I was so excited I got a new friend!  She loves pastries, and I love to bake!  She has a cleaning lady, I hate cleaning too!  Our daughters bonded over a puddle by our house right away!  It was meant to be!

Imagine my surprise when the husband disapproved of the relationship! Apparently she is a bad influence.   He is afraid she’ll corrupt me with all the cleaning lady business!   

I married an exploiter!  He doesn’t deserve this healthy and delicious breakfast! Not one little bit!

Well, unless he buys my dream KitchenAid of course.  Wink-wink! Honey! It’s finally on sale!!!

Print this recipe

CRUNCHY GRANOLA

INGREDIENTS:

  • 2 cups rolled oats
  • ½ cup wheat germ
  • ½ cup sunflower seeds
  • ½ cup pumpkin seeds
  • 1 cup walnuts coarsely chopped
  • 4 tbs sesame seeds
  • 2 tbs flax seeds
  • ¼ tsp brown sugar
  • ¼ cup honey
  • 1 tsp ground cinnamon
  • 1 tbs pure vanilla extract
  • 2 tbs vegetable oil
  • ½ cup raisins

DIRECTIONS:

Preheat the oven to 325⁰ F / 170⁰ C.

Line a large baking sheet with parchment paper.  Mix all the ingredients but raisins and lay flat on the baking sheet.

Bake for about 20 minutes.  Mix the raisins in.  Voilà! 

It’s been quiet here, as I’ve been planning a huge birthday party for my now 3 year old, playing a hostess to my father-in-law, and trying to finally finish this book… while chasing the kids, of course.

I’m finally done with the Inheritance Cycle by Christopher Paolini.  My old flight instructor in Paradise Valley, Montana told me about his grandson who wrote a book about a dragon, and when I stumbled upon it in Borders I couldn’t resist.  That was years ago.  The 4th and final book was recently published.  I was pretty excited, but it just seemed to be dragging on forever!  May be I finally got too old for dragon books.  May be they got too bloody for me, but it just wouldn’t click…  So, this week I decided to get over and done with it for good!  

You know how iPhones have this new feature where they color-code SMS blue or green if it was sent via special iPhone network or as a usual text message.  As a user I really don’t care as long as my message was received.  Same was with this book.  There were too many runes neither Eragon nor I comprehended, too many doors that shouldn’t have been opened…   Nevertheless, I love Christopher’s language.  It’s reach and beautiful, and even this Russian, gets mesmerized by it! So, if he writes another book, I will give it a try.

2011 – Reading Favorites

My top 15 reads this year starting with the absolute favorite:

  1. Wuthering Heights  by Emily Bronte
  2. Tess of the D’Urbervilles by Thomas Hardy
  3. Great Expectations by Charles Dickens 
  4. The girl with the dragon tattoo by Stieg Larsson
  5. The girl who played with fire by Stieg Larsson
  6. The girl who kicked the hornet’s nest by Stieg Larsson
  7. The Iron Queen by Julie Kagawa
  8. The Night Circus by Erin Morgenstern /Book Club/
  9. Дикая собака динго или повесть о первой любви Фраерман А.
  10. Little Women by Louisa May Alcott
  11. The imperfectionists by Tom Rachman /Book Club/
  12. Percy Jackson and the Olympians by Rick Riordan
  13. The Iron Knight by Julie Kagawa
  14. City of Fallen Angels by Cassandra Clare
  15. Наедине с океаном Сержио БАМБАРЕН
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