Ever since I was little I’d look at this one book on the shelf: Ahha Kareheha, or, that’s how I read it. We also had “CHEKHOV” which is really confusing, since that’s not even Cyrillic (there is no V like that), but some 1950s book editor who thought it’d be funny to print an English word in somewhat Cyrillic letters. Anyways, that mystery solved finally by cracking it and finding it in English, which led me to the really amazing “Three Sisters,” and also, recognizing sometimes book editors make bad calls.
So I read one or two Russian classics in high school, then went to college and read more of them, and learned Russian, and majored in Russian, though I didn’t have the cash- $10,000 – to do a semester abroad in Russia. I changed majors, but continued to read poems and plays in Russian, though nothing so ambitious as Anna Karenina (except for the first line, of course).
Fast forward 15 or so years. Visiting campus a few weeks ago, I walked by my old Russian teachers’ office and saw a poster for a tour through literary Russia. I made a mental note but did nothing about it. Then, a few days ago I got an email for a last ditch “please join our tour, we’re low in numbers…”
So I’m going to Russia in January! I’ve wanted to go since I read those spines of those books. It’ll be fun, and freezing, and expensive (my vacations are usually pretty cheap). I’m going with my college alumns & students, and teachers, and we even have a syllabus to read beforehand (must check in with the library). Neat fact of the day: in French, Pushkin is Pouchkine. I guess when you’re already transliterating one language, each language will have its own spelling.