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Blog posts tagged with 'russia'

Sixty Degrees North
Shetland IslandsThe Shetland Islands are a Scottish archipelago located to the northwest of Great Britain. Visitors to Shetland are told that the island lies upon the 60th parallel, as though this means something. And to many locals, it does. For them, the 60th parallel signifies that the archipelago is more than just isolated islands—it is connected to the larger world in a meaningful way. When Shetland native Malachy Tallack was 16, his father died. “It was the kind of quiet, ordinary day on which nothing extraordinary ought to happen. But it did,” he writes. Shortly after the funeral, he found himself staring out the window of his house in Lerwick, Shetland, imagining the 60th parallel unfolding before him into the distance.
Restless Empire
All countries are in some way shaped by their geography, and certainly this applies to Russia, “a nation whose sheer size and diversity have challenged rulers and shaped its identity,” according to the editors of Restless Empire: A Historical Atlas of Russia. This ambitious atlas proves an invaluable resource for both Russian scholars and less-informed readers looking for an illustrated overview of how the country’s size and shape has morphed throughout its tumultuous history. Even those who know nothing about Russian history can point to the mammoth nation on the wall map, but this helpful atlas transforms the complex, enormous nation into digestible pieces through colorful maps and illuminating text.
Monument to Peter the Great
Assistant Editor Ashley Bergman Carlin describes a favorite spot she discovered in Moscow, though it took her several passes to see it.
  I probably looked at the giant statue before I saw it. Standing just over 320 feet tall (15 feet taller than the Statue of Liberty), it sits where the Moskva River meets the Vodootvodny Canal to the west of Moscow’s city center and can be seen from far away. The first time I registered the statue as I walked across the Bolshoy Kamenny Bridge, I saw only the top of it, noticing the mast and three furled sails. Squinting, I asked my husband, “Is that a ship?” then realized that I’d seen this mirage modestly listed on my city map as “Monument to Peter the Great.
Best of 2014
Planning your travels for the new year? Dream of new destinations with the best travel books of 2014. Here are, in our humble opinion, the Year's Best Reads for the traveler -- carefully culled and reviewed for your reading pleasure -- including cultural portraits, memoir, photography and, of course, travelogues. The Broken Road.
Midnight in Siberia
“I struggle awake and there she is,” begins David Greene’s Midnight in Siberia. “Russia.” “Russia,” to NPR’s morning programming host and former Moscow Bureau Chief, is Aunt Nina, the diminutive silver-haired relative of a Russian colleague, who starts his travelogue off by offering Greene some water as panacea to the several rounds of vodka he was subjected to the night before.
And the Winner is...
It's that time of year again, when the international literary community bestows honors upon its favored authors. This year’s Nobel Prize for Literature went to the French writer Patrick Modiano, "for the art of memory with which he has evoked the most ungraspable human destinies and uncovered the life-world of the occupation.” Suspended Sentences, Three Novellas. Although originally published separately, Patrick Modiano's three novellas (Afterimage, Suspended Sentences and Flowers of Ruin) form a single, compelling whole.
Dolman Travel Book Award Winner
The Dolman Travel Book Award is Britain’s prize for the best travel book of the year. Last year the prize was split between Kathleen Jamie’s Sightlines and Robert Macfarlane’s The Old Ways. This year the French author Sylvain Tesson, author of The Consolations of the Forest, took home the prize, or will do so as soon as he has recovered fully from his latest adventure.
Secret Lives of the Tsars
Why suffer through dry political policies and unbearably long winters when you can delve right into the scandals with Michael Farquhar’s Secret Lives of the Tsars, a crash course in Russian history that reads like a sophisticated and educated gossip magazine? Farquhar outlines his goal with his subtitle: “three centuries of autocracy, debauchery, betrayal, murder and madness from Romanov Russia,” and he delivers admirably.
Dolman Travel Award: Short List
The short list for Britain's 2014 Dolman Travel Book Award contains one posthumous publication (The Broken Road), two books about Russia (The Last Man in Russia and Consolations of the Forest) and three books whose authors explore a past era through the travels of the Beats, six Englishwomen and the Romans (American Smoke, O My America! and Under Another Sky.) The winner will be announced in September. Which book has your vote?