Friday, January 27, 2012

What is Rosamund Bartlett reading?

The current featured contributor at Writers Read: Rosamund Bartlett, author of Tolstoy: A Russian Life.

Her entry begins:
I’m particularly pleased to be asked this question now, as I’m currently abroad and having a bit of time off, so have been reading all kinds of things simultaneously. When I am at home in Oxford, I usually have my head in a book, but mostly with a view to writing about an aspect of Russian culture, so these last few weeks I have been enjoying getting away from my usual commitments and reading purely for pleasure, which for me is the best kind of holiday.

In November I was invited to lecture at the University of North Carolina, and was amazed and delighted to discover a second-hand book shop in the departure terminal at Raleigh-Durham Airport. I wonder if it’s unique? The literature usually on offer at airports makes one despair. Naturally I had to buy a book on principle, and to support the cause of reading, and was happy to find a book about the American Civil War dealing with the part of United States I had just been travelling in: Tony Horwitz, Confederates in the Attic (Vintage/Random House, 1998). It’s an amusing read, and...[read on]
About Tolstoy: A Russian Life, from the publisher:
The first new biography in twenty years of the literary colossus, spiritual leader, and icon of the nineteenth century

In November 1910, Count Lev Tolstoy died at a remote Russian railway station. At the time of his death, he was the most famous man in Russia, with a growing international following, and more revered than the tsar. Born into an aristocratic family, Tolstoy had spent his life rebelling not only against conventional ideas about literature and art but also against traditional education, family life, organized religion, and the state.

In this exceptional biography, Rosamund Bartlett draws extensively on key Russian sources, including much fascinating new material made available since the collapse of the Soviet Union. She sheds light on Tolstoy’s remarkable journey from callow youth to writer to prophet; discusses his troubled relationship with his wife, Sonya, a subject long neglected; and vividly evokes the Russian landscapes Tolstoy so loved. Above all, she gives us an eloquent portrait of the brilliant, maddening, and contrary man who has, once again, been discovered by a new generation of readers.
Visit Rosamund Bartlett's website and learn more about Tolstoy: A Russian Life.

Writers Read: Rosamund Bartlett.

--Marshal Zeringue