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Great books I recommend
And Quiet Flows the Vodka: or When Pushkin Comes to Shove: The Curmudgeon's Guide to Russian Literature with the Devil's Dictionary of Received Ideas Chudo, the pen name of Gary Saul Morson (Slavic languages and literature, Northwestern Univ.), has written a satirical survey of Russian civilization that is pure fun. Readers should not seek information here, for the book presupposes a good knowledge of Russian history and a thorough dislike of the pretentiousness of official interpretations. The author first gives a history of Russian literature in which most of the names and titles sound just a little different from those readers will remember but now have often ironic meanings. For example, Galicia becomes Garlicia, and the Russian scholar Vinogradov (meaning from the vineyard ) appears as Vinopianov ( wine-drunk ). Chudo analyzes such literary masterpieces as War and Punishment and Nose from the Underground. Despite an underdone potato or two, this rich comic serving of borscht will be deemed savory by many a Department of Russian Studies.