December 04, 2007

Holiday Gift Ideas


Holiday Gift Ideas

Russian Life Annual Gift Buying Guide

 

It's that time of year again. Time to find something for the Russophile in your life. Or time to find something russophilic for friends yet to be bitten by the bug. So we have pulled together information on some great ideas that are sure to satisfy.

Of course, it goes without saying that you will have gotten Russian Life subscriptions and Wall Calendars for everyone on your list! But that's just a start.

Books always make great gifts. And there never seems to be a shortage of books on Russia. Suzanne Massie's Land of the Firebird is a fabulous introduction to Russian culture and history, and her profile of Pavlovsk palace is an intimate glimpse at an interesting facet of Russian history (207-374-5748).

A new book on the brothers and artists Sergei and Aleksei Tkachev, Masters of Russian Impressionism, has been published by The Museum of Russian Art (952-914-0200). It is a wonderful art book filled with beautiful examples of the Tkachev's art, plus an insightful introduction. The Museum also has another fine book, Soviet Impressionism; be sure to ask about that one as well!

Stanford University Press has a new book out (The Big Show in Bololand) on the little known chapter of Russian history that was the US rescue effort after the Russian Civil War (the period after that covered by our article on page 50).

How about videos? For videos on the Second World War and some little-known chapters in Russian history, you'll want to contact International Historic Films (773-927-2900).

The company Portable Film Festivals (877-477-2835) has rediscovered four interesting Russian films and added subtitling in English. This makes them a great way to study Russian, aside from the fact that these are nice films.

Looking for a broader selection of films in Russian and don't need subtitling? Try St. Petersburg Publishing or RBC. Both also have growing DVD selections. 

Of course, if you have a real Russian film lover on your hands (the technical term is Russofilmophile), you could get them a year's subscription to the Russian Television Network, and they can watch Russian films, news and TV serials-direct from Russia! (800-222-2RTN; a Russian movie channel is available)

What about music? For those with a special interest in Russian choral or church music (including sheet music), check out Musica Russica.

Finally, there are gifts of beauty and color. For lacquer boxes, start with Russian Sunbirds (619-220-7172) and Kremlin Gifts (207-649-7853). Both offer quality crafts and an excellent selection.

At Sunbirds' website you can search by artist, era, subject, price range and more. They specialize in lacquer boxes, but also offer lacquered eggs, matryoshkas, carved gifts, brooches, plates and more.

Kremlin Gifts also headlines with their lacquer boxes, but that is just the tip of the iceberg. They offer fine shawls, Gzhel, matryoshkas, Khokhloma, dolls, icons and more.

Call, email or browse through what both these fine companies have to offer - you are sure to find just the right gift for someone special.

Exclusive Collections offers authentic Russian perfumes and beauty products on its website and in its New York showroom (888-870-5437). They offer everything from colognes for men to body splashes and perfumes for women, to fun shampoos for kids.

Happy Holidays.

-The Editors

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Some of Our Books

Okudzhava Bilingual

Okudzhava Bilingual

Poems, songs and autobiographical sketches by Bulat Okudzhava, the king of the Russian bards. 
Fearful Majesty

Fearful Majesty

This acclaimed biography of one of Russia’s most important and tyrannical rulers is not only a rich, readable biography, it is also surprisingly timely, revealing how many of the issues Russia faces today have their roots in Ivan’s reign.
Murder at the Dacha

Murder at the Dacha

Senior Lieutenant Pavel Matyushkin has a problem. Several, actually. Not the least of them is the fact that a powerful Soviet boss has been murdered, and Matyushkin's surly commander has given him an unreasonably short time frame to close the case.
The Frogs Who Begged for a Tsar (bilingual)

The Frogs Who Begged for a Tsar (bilingual)

The fables of Ivan Krylov are rich fonts of Russian cultural wisdom and experience – reading and understanding them is vital to grasping the Russian worldview. This new edition of 62 of Krylov’s tales presents them side-by-side in English and Russian. The wonderfully lyrical translations by Lydia Razran Stone are accompanied by original, whimsical color illustrations by Katya Korobkina.
Stargorod: A Novel in Many Voices

Stargorod: A Novel in Many Voices

Stargorod is a mid-sized provincial city that exists only in Russian metaphorical space. It has its roots in Gogol, and Ilf and Petrov, and is a place far from Moscow, but close to Russian hearts. It is a place of mystery and normality, of provincial innocence and Black Earth wisdom. Strange, inexplicable things happen in Stargorod. So do good things. And bad things. A lot like life everywhere, one might say. Only with a heavy dose of vodka, longing and mystery.
Faith & Humor: Notes from Muscovy

Faith & Humor: Notes from Muscovy

A book that dares to explore the humanity of priests and pilgrims, saints and sinners, Faith & Humor has been both a runaway bestseller in Russia and the focus of heated controversy – as often happens when a thoughtful writer takes on sacred cows. The stories, aphorisms, anecdotes, dialogues and adventures in this volume comprise an encyclopedia of modern Russian Orthodoxy, and thereby of Russian life.
Bears in the Caviar

Bears in the Caviar

Bears in the Caviar is a hilarious and insightful memoir by a diplomat who was “present at the creation” of US-Soviet relations. Charles Thayer headed off to Russia in 1933, calculating that if he could just learn Russian and be on the spot when the US and USSR established relations, he could make himself indispensable and start a career in the foreign service. Remarkably, he pulled it of.
Chekhov Bilingual

Chekhov Bilingual

Some of Chekhov's most beloved stories, with English and accented Russian on facing pages throughout. 
Marooned in Moscow

Marooned in Moscow

This gripping autobiography plays out against the backdrop of Russia's bloody Civil War, and was one of the first Western eyewitness accounts of life in post-revolutionary Russia. Marooned in Moscow provides a fascinating account of one woman's entry into war-torn Russia in early 1920, first-person impressions of many in the top Soviet leadership, and accounts of the author's increasingly dangerous work as a journalist and spy, to say nothing of her work on behalf of prisoners, her two arrests, and her eventual ten-month-long imprisonment, including in the infamous Lubyanka prison. It is a veritable encyclopedia of life in Russia in the early 1920s.
The Moscow Eccentric

The Moscow Eccentric

Advance reviewers are calling this new translation "a coup" and "a remarkable achievement." This rediscovered gem of a novel by one of Russia's finest writers explores some of the thorniest issues of the early twentieth century.
A Taste of Russia

A Taste of Russia

The definitive modern cookbook on Russian cuisine has been totally updated and redesigned in a 30th Anniversary Edition. Layering superbly researched recipes with informative essays on the dishes' rich historical and cultural context, A Taste of Russia includes over 200 recipes on everything from borshch to blini, from Salmon Coulibiac to Beef Stew with Rum, from Marinated Mushrooms to Walnut-honey Filled Pies. A Taste of Russia shows off the best that Russian cooking has to offer. Full of great quotes from Russian literature about Russian food and designed in a convenient wide format that stays open during use.

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