“Nothing More Familiar to the American Landscape Than Highways and Religion”

Review: Roadside Religion: In Search of the Sacred, the Strange, and the Substance of Faith, by Timothy Beal Perhaps you take to the road with the explicit aim of [...] discovering the world beyond your world. But what you end up discovering may be something more profoundly transformative and re-creative: yourself beyond yourself, in other... Continue Reading →

Cover Judging: Russia and Translated-from-Norwegian Edition

I'm guilty of sometimes buying a book because I like the cover. I'm not proud of this at all, but there you have it. Who isn't susceptible to some artistic influence from time to time? I also choose my edition on Goodreads based on the cover, even if I actually read a different one. So... Continue Reading →

Russia, In the Words of Its Neighbors

Book review: The Border: A Journey Around Russia, by Erika Fatland, translated from Norwegian by Kari Dickson I turned and looked out at the grey ocean. Here, right here, is where Asia and mighty Russia end. In The Border: A Journey Around Russia, journalist and Sovietistan author Erika Fatland embarks on an ambitious nine-month journey... Continue Reading →

What Pianos Mean to Siberia, And More

Book review: The Lost Pianos of Siberia, by Sophy Roberts (Amazon) There is no dramatic curtain-raiser to the edge of Siberia, no meaningful brink to a specific place, just thick weather hanging over an abstract idea. It is a modern economic miracle, with natural oil and gas reserves driving powerful shifts in the geopolitics of... Continue Reading →

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