November 24, 2016

Giving thanks: Russian beauty, culture, and cats


Giving thanks: Russian beauty, culture, and cats

Giving Thanks

Since this week’s TWERF falls on Thanksgiving, I wanted to take a moment to extend a special thank you to everyone in our “tribe” – all our readers, customers, suppliers, writers, photographers, illustrators, and supporters and fans of all stripes. A company like ours does not exist for 25+ years without the support of an avid tribe. So thank you for your continued support, encouragement, challenges, ideas and constructive criticisms. And best wishes for you and yours through the holiday season and into the new year.

Paul E. Richardson
Publisher

The Salt of the Earth

1. See Setomaa: The region of Setomaa straddles the Estonia-Russia border, and is home to a people with a unique culture. Polyphonic singing, Seto-specific royalty, a mix of pagan and Orthodox belief systems are just a few things that set apart the Setos, who blend ancient tradition with new customs to preserve their cultural identity.

nationalgeographic.com

2. Worth its salt? Don’t take it for granted when you flavor up your turkey. Salt is a thing of proverbs and history in Russia, having been a symbol of power, a source of taxation, and a namesake for towns from Solvychegodsk to Krasnousolsk. Find out how salt fits in tradition, superstition, and the kitchen in Russia.

3. Russian roots and branches: As illustrious folks as sci-fi writer Isaac Asimov, co-founder of Google Sergey Brin, and film stars Woody Allen, Leonardo diCaprio, and Natalie Portman come from Russian stock. As for branches, plenty of famous figures from non-Russian background have studied the language, too – whether for a career, like politicians Madeleine Albright and Condoleezza Rice, or just for fun, like Olympic fencer James Williams.

In Odder News

Cat on a hot tin T-34 tank? This innovation in feline fun looks exciting to climb on, but will it lead to kitty militarization?

bbc.com

Sakha, in northeast Russia, can boast the coldest temperatures recorded in the northern hemisphere. But people still live and follow traffic signals, even in the permanent frost.

themoscowtimes.com

Speaking of frost, this fall’s unusually cold conditions made soccer a whole different sport. But who knows? Maybe snow soccer will be the next big thing.

rbth.com

Quote of the Week

“Eat more salt, and your life will be merrier.”
—Russian proverb, which gives helpful life advice and proves the importance of salt in Russian culture.

Now eat up, and happy Thanksgiving!

Want more where this comes from? Give your inbox the gift of TWERF, our Thursday newsletter on the quirkiest, obscurest, and Russianest of Russian happenings of the week.

Like this post? Get a weekly email digest + member-only deals

Some of Our Books

Faith & Humor: Notes from Muscovy

Faith & Humor: Notes from Muscovy

A book that dares to explore the humanity of priests and pilgrims, saints and sinners, Faith & Humor has been both a runaway bestseller in Russia and the focus of heated controversy – as often happens when a thoughtful writer takes on sacred cows. The stories, aphorisms, anecdotes, dialogues and adventures in this volume comprise an encyclopedia of modern Russian Orthodoxy, and thereby of Russian life.
Stargorod: A Novel in Many Voices

Stargorod: A Novel in Many Voices

Stargorod is a mid-sized provincial city that exists only in Russian metaphorical space. It has its roots in Gogol, and Ilf and Petrov, and is a place far from Moscow, but close to Russian hearts. It is a place of mystery and normality, of provincial innocence and Black Earth wisdom. Strange, inexplicable things happen in Stargorod. So do good things. And bad things. A lot like life everywhere, one might say. Only with a heavy dose of vodka, longing and mystery.
Russia Rules

Russia Rules

From the shores of the White Sea to Moscow and the Northern Caucasus, Russian Rules is a high-speed thriller based on actual events, terrifying possibilities, and some really stupid decisions.
At the Circus

At the Circus

This wonderful novella by Alexander Kuprin tells the story of the wrestler Arbuzov and his battle against a renowned American wrestler. Rich in detail and characterization, At the Circus brims with excitement and life. You can smell the sawdust in the big top, see the vivid and colorful characters, sense the tension build as Arbuzov readies to face off against the American.
Murder at the Dacha

Murder at the Dacha

Senior Lieutenant Pavel Matyushkin has a problem. Several, actually. Not the least of them is the fact that a powerful Soviet boss has been murdered, and Matyushkin's surly commander has given him an unreasonably short time frame to close the case.
Fearful Majesty

Fearful Majesty

This acclaimed biography of one of Russia’s most important and tyrannical rulers is not only a rich, readable biography, it is also surprisingly timely, revealing how many of the issues Russia faces today have their roots in Ivan’s reign.
White Magic

White Magic

The thirteen tales in this volume – all written by Russian émigrés, writers who fled their native country in the early twentieth century – contain a fair dose of magic and mysticism, of terror and the supernatural. There are Petersburg revenants, grief-stricken avengers, Lithuanian vampires, flying skeletons, murders and duels, and even a ghostly Edgar Allen Poe.
Life Stories: Original Fiction By Russian Authors

Life Stories: Original Fiction By Russian Authors

The Life Stories collection is a nice introduction to contemporary Russian fiction: many of the 19 authors featured here have won major Russian literary prizes and/or become bestsellers. These are life-affirming stories of love, family, hope, rebirth, mystery and imagination, masterfully translated by some of the best Russian-English translators working today. The selections reassert the power of Russian literature to affect readers of all cultures in profound and lasting ways. Best of all, 100% of the profits from the sale of this book are going to benefit Russian hospice—not-for-profit care for fellow human beings who are nearing the end of their own life stories.
Driving Down Russia's Spine

Driving Down Russia's Spine

The story of the epic Spine of Russia trip, intertwining fascinating subject profiles with digressions into historical and cultural themes relevant to understanding modern Russia. 

About Us

Russian Life is a publication of a 30-year-young, award-winning publishing house that creates a bimonthly magazine, books, maps, and other products for Russophiles the world over.

Latest Posts

Our Contacts

Russian Life
PO Box 567
Montpelier VT 05601-0567

802-223-4955