Joan Crawford reading Edna St Vincent Millay

I have been on a bit of an ESVM kick, anyway, and this reading is amazing.

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WordPress is acting really strangely

I can’t figure out if my computer is having a problem, or if it is because I live in Russia. I have googled “Does WordPress work in Russia” a few times, and apparently some ISPs block this, but I guess mine is not one of them, because now it is working. Anyway, really strange. Will post more in a second.

The charming Chimamanda Ngozi Adichie

I already loved Adichie before I saw her in person at Bookslam. I really loved her book Half of a Yellow Sun – I think I read it before I started writing reviews on Goodreads, so I don’t have a review. Basically, I liked it because I liked Nigeria, and I like the country and the very vibrant people. I thought that book helped me to get in their heads – not just through emotional storylines or “the personal”, but through history.

(I think if you compare her to the author of Ghana Must Go, Taiye Selasi, who I do like and respect, what you get with Adichie is a richer, more multi-layered story of human and political life.)

Anyway, now I can love her even more because she is everywhere this week/weekend. This interview on TinHouse.com, this by Bookdwarf, this in the New York Times… My husband bought this book, and it is in my London flat. Probably I should steal it.

I cannot stop talking about Rebecca Solnit

So I won’t try. I love her, and her The Faraway Nearby is getting tons of great reviews. Like this in The National, this in The Guardian and this in Slate.

I really like it when people I respect are doing well and earning recognition they have earned, if that is not too cheesy of a thing to say on a blog.

What is Russian literature now?

I also enjoyed this article in last Sunday’s NYT (I’m still catching up). I spent last weekend (or 2 weekends ago) at the Southbank Centre, learning as much as I could about art under totalitarian regimes at the Art of Fear weekend, and it was amazing. Things like this – that demonstrate the importance of literature in people’s lives – fascinate me:

Bulgakov’s work helped people recognize one another. “Many people began to speak by sentences from this novel. It was a language,” Ravinskij told me. “There were people who had read ‘The Master and Margarita,’ and people who had not read ‘The Master and Margarita.’ It was two different groups. It was a cultural difference, and at some point it became a political difference.”

Sri Lankan architecture

I loved visiting Bawa’s and Plesner’s architecture in Sri Lanka, so enjoyed reading this piece in the NYRB.

Books going on my to-read list after catching up on Google Reader today