I am translating somewhat unknown Soviet literature and want to know what people think.
I’m a translator from the United States who has been living in Russia for the past several years. I’ve launched a project called Soviet Literature in English in which I plan to bring popular literature from the Soviet period to English-speaking readers who might be interested in learning more about what people read behind the Iron Curtain.
I hope to bring these texts to a readable, modern English while also attempting to explain certain cultural aspects that may appear.
I am beginning my project with children’s literature. I have already posted a translation of the story Dubravka (1957) by Radiy Pogodin, and am currently working on the translation of Arkady Gaidar’s 1938 novella The Fate of a Drummer Boy.
As for now the pieces, as they are a bit long, will be posted in installments of no more than 6,000 words at least once weekly.
I am open to suggestions, requests, and feedback, especially from those who know the works in the original.
I don't know any Russian, but I think this is an interesting project. Upvoted for visibility.
Yes, there was in fact quite a lot of sci-fi and fantasy produced in that era, including the book on which the Tarkovsky film Stalker was based, Roadside Picnic by the Strugatsky brothers. To be honest, I haven't read too much of these genres, but I have a few books on my shelf. I'll check them out.
Was there any Sci-Fi produced during the Soviet era? I would be especially interested in that.
That or swords-and-sorcery style Fantasy.
Thank you for the upvote. I hope you enjoy and am looking forward to feedback. I'll post the next part very soon.
How five years without reading books changed my life.
I'm not sure if this is the right sub to post this, but I'm pretty sure this is a good one.
As you read on the title, this is what happened to me after I stopped reading books 5 years ago. A little backstory, I come from a third world country, and I come from a household that didn't have a television till 2013. Mostly because I never demanded one, because since I was born, I had huge collections of books handed to me by my elder sibling, also a literature fanatic. Now, I used to read so much, it affected my sleep as a kid. The better side of this, however, was that I had a marginally better understanding of English, which forged a path to a really successful middle-school and early high school experience. Now, I was fluent in English and had a vast vocabulary, immaculate grammar and creative thought process than my peers, which led to my downfall. I believe I was reading one book a day in my prime, when I was in 8th grade. Everything went downwards from there. Pressure to memorize school books, lack of free time due to extra curricular studies, teenage love interests, and following artistic passions eliminated all the free time I used to have, and I gradually stopped reading. We got a television at home pretty soon after. And the internet didn't help. I stopped reading altogether round about 5 years ago, and some recent events have given me some insight as to what my brain has evolved into without exercise.
The first thing that suffered was my spoken English skills. I used to be fluent, often conversing in English more than my native language, and I could hold up debates for hours, switching to English whenever necessary without stammering or stopping.
I'm unable to hold long conversations in English anymore, and I often feel like I'm not confident enough to speak in English. Most of it is because I'm scared of sounding stupid if I mispronounce a word or speak in broken grammar. Didn't have these problems before.
Expressing myself. I used to prefer English as a language when I needed to converse my liberal ideologies (not liberal in the American fashion, I come from a very, very conservative society, so debating about topics like superstitions or my beliefs in god), but ever since I stopped reading, not only have I stopped debating as much, but I have started actively avoiding debates all together. So much so that I have lead some friends to believe I'm a closet conservative (again, not in the American way, a conservative in my country is one who believes homosexuality is a sin and actively practices racism)
Broken grammar: This is by far the greatest change I feel that has occurred in me. I don't have immaculate grammar anymore. The event that triggered me to write this whole thing in the first place was a grammatical mistake that I made which led me to lose a freelance project. I think good grammar is the only thing I miss about my past self.
Broken attention span. Oh boy, this is the worst one. Today, I sat to read one of my favorite books, The Blue Umbrella by Ruskin Bond after MANY years. I couldn't concentrate, desperately wanted to pick up my phone and the total time I spent reading was less than 20 minutes. Now, this is a huge problem. I knew my attention span was short, but I didn't know it had become this bad. There was a time when I used to read so much that I didn't sleep at nights because I didn't want to put down a book before it was finished. Horrifying.
Well, I hope gradually increasing my reading time over some months will let me read more in one sitting, but I'm not sure if I'll be able to stick to this routine. Oh well.
I think I have definitely outlined the problems that come with not exercising your brain by reading books. So take my story as a cautionary tale, and keep reading.
Speaking as an English person, I went through a few years where I definitely didn't read as avidly as I once had. I'm picking up again in this last three or four years, but yeah you definitely see a change in your abilities with the language, I find. Spelling for just a dull example - I used to be excellent. I find myself questioning my judgement more than I used to on that. Way more.
The attention span one got me! That is exactly me. I grew up reading voraciously and could sit for hours at a time mainlining words. But now, as an adult, not so much. I check my phone or get up to do something. I miss that whole hearted attention.
hah! As a Slovak native I must say that my ability to write in Slovak after reading eight Witcher books in Czech in a row went pretty much down and now I sometimes am not even sure which rule is making sense in mine language and which in Czech. Same goes with ENG, but this is at least much more different, so it is easier to see a difference. But ENG language is using commas quite differently so... this went downhill a bit as well :D (and I think Im mixing it)
I read more than ever before. I was an avid reader before the internet, but I might even be more so now. Except, my attention span has dropped, and the majority of my time reading is spent on Reddit and Facebook and similar fora...
There are some objectively bad authors. Lee Child is one of them.
I am aware reading is usually subjective, but I do believe that some authors are just bad at what they do for a living. Matthew Reilly is one, EL James another, but the king of bad writing is Mr Child.
The following quotes are from just one of his books.
Omaha was not New York or D.C., but it was not a Bureau backwater, either.
Not a new car, but not an old one, either.
He was wearing a green winter coat, cotton canvas padded and insulated with something, not old, but not new either.
Don McQueen breathing slow, not quite asleep but not quite awake either.
‘Senior?’ ‘I didn’t get that impression. But probably not junior either.'
No panic, but not much patience, either.
‘If they don’t need you any more, they don’t need her any more, either.
Not a great time to run out of gas. Not a great place, either.
This isn’t your trail. This isn’t my trail any more, either.
Not bad news, necessarily, judging by her expression, but not good news either.
'Did they confirm a brother named Alan?’ ‘No. Didn’t deny one, either.'
Nothing like the army, but nothing like a regular civilian establishment either.
She tried his cell from her landline console and got no result on that, either.
Don’t let your prisoner starve, but don’t let him get out of the car, either.
Mitchell drove on in silence, and Dawson didn’t answer either.
A happy man. Maybe he hadn’t had a vacation in years either.
Not rookies, but not old-timers, either.
It wasn’t a particularly big empty box. But it wasn’t small either.
Maybe not yet smarter than the average infantryman, but not any dumber, either.
‘Remember, speed and direction. No deviation from either.'
I wouldn't say the writing is awful, but it isn't great, either.
Not 26, but not 24 either.
Wow. I'm curious about the algorithm that went into determining when to add a comma before "either" and when to not add it.
His books are read for the fast paced twisty plots, most of his readers don't care about writing quality
Whats a book that made you cry?
Where the Red Fern Grows
i was 8 and devastated and i don't want to talk about it anymore.
Flowers for Algernon. One of the best novels I have ever read but absolutely devastating at the same time.
i don't think anyone has ever gotten through bridge to terabithia without crying. i certainly didn't
My bank book.
He also had 'Game Spot Videogame Guide'. They speculate it may have belonged to someone else though.
I like to think that is all he did was play Call of Duty against twelve year olds in America. And whine about how they need a jihad against gaming journalists.
The other commenters seems to think that there's nothing of interest because it's only anti-american and pro-islam books. A lot of them are modern military history books though.
I don't know what's particularly anti-american or pro-islam about these:Oxford History of Modern War by Charles Townsend Obama’s Wars by Bob Woodward Necessary Illusions: Thought Control in Democratic Societies by Noam Chomsky Handbook of International Law by Anthony Aust The Secret Teachings of All Ages by Manly Hall Unfinished Business, U.S. Overseas Military Presence in the 21st Century by Michael O’Hanlon
He's a celebrated American philosopher, linguist, and scientist with many dozens of books on a wide variety of subjects. He was born in the US. He has a doctorate from an American university. He has honorary degrees from over a dozen American institutions (and many more internationally). He's Professor Emeritus at MIT and Professor Laureate at University of Arizona. He still lives in the US.
So, I'm wondering where you are getting "anti-American" from. Is it because he's ethnically Jewish? Is it because he's been called antisemitic for criticizing Israel's policies? Is it because he married a Brazilian woman after his wife of 60 years passed away?
Is it because he has criticized some policies of US politicians? Because man, that definition makes about 99.5% of the US population "anti-American".
I am actually scared by the amount of people in this thread, even though it is only a few right now, who say that this list is all about anti-american books, while most of them are actually just writings about stuff that has happened with knowledge or even ordered by the US-Government (some of it quite horrend stuff), or books that criticize US-policies.
Since when the fuck did it become Anti-American to question and criticize those in authority, especially by stating facts?
That said I have not read all the books, but those I read are certainly not "anti-american".
This book always worked as the perfect way to settle the kids down, lulling them to sleep. The rhythm and the sounds used were perfect. Even though my kids are older, I still have the whole darn thing memorized having read every night for them when they were little.
I always whispered the part about the quiet old lady whispering hush. The second time they say it I get quieter for the rest of the book. It has a perfect gradual winding down rhythm.
Disappointed that none of the facts mentioned the introduction/inspiration for the mouse hidden on each page. That was my kids favorite part.
Yes! By the time I get to "good night noises every where", I'm whispering. It's so perfectly structured for that.
She has 12 boxes of books in her garage, waiting to restock her courtroom shelves. She said she’s trying to talk other judges into taking books and giving them away in their courtrooms. She wants to set up bookshelves in the hallway outside her courtroom.
I wish her so much luck. It would awesome if Cook County were known for truly effective rehabilitation of youth offenders instead of being the home of the first juvenile court system in the country.
edit: Look at this comment from u/realivebathrobe for ways to contribute to the cause if you're in the Chicago area: https://www.reddit.com/sub/books/comments/6xlz0v/cook_county_judge_gives_books_and_hope_to/dmhw5e9/
I've also heard that some inmates have been taught to play chess because it helps them think ahead. It makes sense as a good way to rehabilitate them since many criminals act impulsively rather than thinking things through.
How is this not national news
Maybe I'm just ignorant, but I would assume the first juvenile court system would be a step forward. I mean, if an ignorant kid breaks a law, isn't it better to treat them differently than a hardened adult.
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No questions for you, just wanted to says "Thanks!". I live in a smaller town with a great library, but Overdrive has helped me to gain access to so much more than what's just on the shelves.
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I love using OverDrive when my library had the book. Why can't I buy and donate an e-book to my library?
So you're telling me that Millenials aren't killing libraries? That can't be right!
Yo library is the shit. Free wifi, quiet, chill people, perfect A/C. I hate buying books that turn out to be complete shit so I go to the library to check them out.
Oh don't worry. Somewhere out there, a roundtable of Baby Boomers will spin this story to make it seem Millennials are killing something...
Millenials are killing ignorance and illiteracy! The sick bastards...