I am pretty excited! My friend Loral found me this website! It has translated fiction from the soviet era that isn’t widely available in English, AND footnotes AND little historical introductions to each piece!
SO COOL! Right now I am reading ‘The Fate of a Drummer Boy’! Its children’s lit! I am so excited!!!
There are a lot of details about real life in fiction that I am never going to learn about in any other way. So I am pretty excited! One of the things that is frustrating about being an aspiring Soviet History Buff (at least here in the USA) is that I can’t find a lot of people who are writing about things that were cool, or worked, or how ordinary people totally lived through it and had lives that also had happy things in them, and how did that go down?
(I think this wouldn’t be such a big problem if we didn’t ALSO have all the books that were focused exclusively on how horrible the Soviet Union was. I mean, I’m not saying it WASN’T (at least some of the time) but when that’s all the books will talk about you know something is up.
But Elena, I hear you say, what about the NAZIS!!! No one ever says anything good about the NAZI REGIME! Well, first of all, good reader, that is totally false. I have read a good bit of scholarly stuff that talks about the advantages to certain classes of people during certain periods of Nazi-Regime. Also, Nazi-Regime lasted twelve years, and the Soviet friggin’ Union lasted like seventy.
Also, I’m not researching Nazis. If I was, I would be 1. More depressed and 2. complaining about that instead. So shut up, okay?)
Which is basically what fiction is about.
So I’m excited about that.
Thinking about it, people normally write about horrible things, and not about all the cool things that people did to survive them. Unless you think of the horrible things as cool things people did to survive other horrible things, which I guess is a valid interpretation. (Except for the part where you used the word ‘cool’, so now you’ve implied that genocide is cool, which I think is pretty awkward for most common uses of the word cool. Just saying. I don’t like genocide guys. It’s mean. Okay? Okay.)
This book I read, A History of Japan by Conrad Totman, one of the cool things he talked about was that during the 1200s to 1600s central Japan (where the government was) was running out of big, usable wood for construction. The lack of good building wood was one of the things that fueled the transition from the old style fancy people housing to what we think of as ‘traditional’ Japanese housing (with the versatile multipurpose rooms, the portable seating, the paper sliding walls to make rooms different sizes, and the tatami matting).
So that’s cool. Because I had never thought about WHY people build their houses the way they do before. (except for in a ‘the USA is huge which is why we have huge houses’ kind of way.) But also it is cool because instead of focusing just on how all the forests were being changed (and, well, devastated) by human use, he focused on how people responded to the changes they were making in the environment.