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 →

Nature Writing on the Elusive Owl of Eastern Russia

Book review: Owls of the Eastern Ice, by Jonathan C. Slaght Jonathan C. Slaght is a wildlife conservationist dedicated to preserving and documenting the Blakiston fish owl, a rare species found primarily in Siberia. In Owls of the Eastern Ice, he documents his time in the Russian Far East, and the unique challenges of trying to research... Continue Reading →

Two Narrative Nonfiction Mini-Reviews

I love narrative nonfiction, and in discussing this genre, two titles that inevitably come up as outstanding examples of nonfiction perfectly crafted into a narrative structure are Five Days at Memorial and In the Kingdom of Ice. Let's talk about them! Five Days at Memorial: Life and Death in a Storm-Ravaged Hospital by Sheri Fink  Physician and... Continue Reading →

The Wild, Wonderful World of Couchsurfing in Russia

Book review: Behind Putin's Curtain, by Stephan Orth (Amazon / Book Depository) Hamburg-based journalist Stephan Orth has written several books about his global couchsurfing adventures in unconventional locales. Orth brings a certain cheerful openness and humorous curiosity to his adventuring, and of the touristic method of couchsurfing, he mentions that it offers "the mutual gift... Continue Reading →

Mythbusting Rasputin’s Life and Legend

Book review: Rasputin: Faith, Power, and the Twilight of the Romanovs by Douglas Smith (Amazon / Book Depository) The life of Rasputin is one of the most remarkable in modern history. It reads like a dark fairy tale. An obscure, uneducated peasant from the wilds of Siberia receives a calling from God and sets out in search... Continue Reading →

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