About the time the movie Nicholas and Alexandra came out (1971 — available to watch on YouTube), I became very interested in all things Russian centred around the time of the Russian Revolution. I read quite a few historical accounts as well as the historical novel the movie was based on which led me to books about the Kaiser, Princess Louise, Queen Victoria, and, naturally, Rasputin. Recently I read and commented on two related books, Rasputin, the Man behind the Myth, written by his daughter Maria Rasputin, and The Kitchen Boy, by Robert Alexander, an historical fiction account about the Romanov family’s last days in Ekaterinburg as prisoners of the revolution. (I’m also re-watching Dr. Zhivago while I’m riding my bike in the mornings.)
I’m now reading a 2nd historical fiction book by Alexander called Rasputin’s Daughter. So far it hasn’t revealed anything new about this controversial, larger-than-life figure, and seems to be taking the tack that he was a drunken and debauched character taking advantage of everyone he could. It does, however, give a rich spin on the city of Petrograd during the war with Germany, the living conditions of Rasputin’s family, a somewhat middle ground between the extreme wealth of the royal Romanovs and the extreme poverty of the peasants, the workers, the wounded soldiers, and the masses of deserters. I hope to be ready to comment more fully on the book towards the end of the week or early next week.
I also am still digesting Agostino Scafidi‘s 2nd book of poetry. Fancy Pants Volume 2 will be familiar in style to those who have read the previous edition. His writing continues to be somewhat dark, deeply reflective, and somewhat unsettling. But always an interesting read. He is also returning to his first love, music, and publishing an album. You can give a listen to several tracks free at his bandcamp website and also listen to his review of other music he has ‘discovered’ that might interest you on his blog.
I’m also hoping to find time to finally read The Color Purple, Heart of Darkness by Joseph Conrad (which I’m sure I read in high school many, many years ago, but don’t remember too much about), and Echoes of Narcissus in the Gardens of Delight by South African author Jo Robinson. Still on my list along with quite a few others! What are you reading?