May 192008

I don’t often listen to audio books when I’m on a bike ride on roads where I’ve never been before, but yesterday on the way home from a two-day outing I was slogging into a stiff wind, and besides, some of the roads were already familiar to me. So I listened to more of Liza Knapp’s lecture on Giants of Russian Literature. It’s something I got on MP3 through my library’s Netlibrary subscription.

My hopes were not high when I learned that a book of hers had been selected by Oprah for her book club. But I have to say that I am quite impressed by this lecture. (And my wife now tells me that some of Oprah’s books are good, anyway. She told me that one of them was “Cry, the Beloved Country,” a book that she knew I liked.)

I had “read” only one of the books she had been talking about. Last year I “read” Dostoevsky’s Crime and Punishment. I put the word in quotes, because I listened to it on audio. Well, I had once listened to Notes from the Underground, too.

I don’t read much fiction, anyway, no matter how great. But now I am being inspired to go out and read more of Dostoevsky, AND more of what Knapp has written about them. And maybe to keep learning Russian so I can slog through some of these books in the original.