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Exploring the rather wonderful Bulgakov Collection!

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It’s no secret here on the Ramblings that I’m a huge fan of small publishers and there are several whose books I love to read and write about on a regular basis. One of my favourites is Alma Classics, who are always bringing out delicious editions of excellent books (particularly the Russians I’m so fond of) in new translations and with extra material. The publisher has rather wonderfully become something of a champion of the work of Mikhail Bulgakov, producing absolutely lovely versions of his works, and I was very excited to hear that Alma has put together collections themed by author or genre which you can get at very reduced prices! Of course, the Bulgakov Complete Fiction Collection was the one that appealed to me, and it really is a great selection of books:

bulgakov-complete-works-banner-b-format

As you can see there is a wonderful array of titles featured, and the covers are stunning. Alma were kind enough to provide a copy of “The Fatal Eggs” for me to read in the translation by Roger Cockrell (who’s rendered several of the versions here) and I loved getting reacquainted with it! The last time I read the book, I commented on what a strong presence in the book was the city of Moscow:

Moscow was the adopted city of Bulgakov’s heart, and this is very clear from all his fictions. IN FE he captures brilliantly the effect of the events on the populace, utilising all the modern trappings of the city, from newspapers to neon signs. FE is funny, pithy, thought-provoking and unforgettable – highly recommended.

I felt the same again reading this wonderful book, and it really is a treat, painting a vivid picture of the Soviet Union in times of change, with science coming to the fore and the media out of control (somewhat familiar, that last thing….) But all of Bulgakov’s writings are worth reading, and the Alma Collection is a great way to get hold of them, and includes his most famous title, “The Master and Margarita”. The price is pretty good too – although the banner I’ve put in above says £50, when I last looked at the Alma website the price had been slashed so check this out to see if you can snag a real Bulgakov bargain.

The Collections also feature children’s classics, opera, gothic and horror titles, as well as one which appeals to me very strongly – The Complete F. Scott Fitzgerald Collection in absolutely gorgeous covers. It’s so tempting – if only I wasn’t supposed to be buying too many books at the moment… 🙂

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Current Reading – plus we purchase more (whisper it) full price books!

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I have decided to dispense with the current reading widget on the side of this page, for a couple of reasons really: firstly, I was constantly having to change it and it will only point at an image already online; secondly (and mainly) because it’s no good when I’m reading more than one book at once! And I am doing this at the moment, despite my reservations about this type of reading, for another very good reason – I found that I was avoiding reading certain books because I didn’t want to commit to them exclusively at the expense of other volumes I fancy at the moment.

The three current reading books in question are these:

current reading
A few words of explanation – “Don Quixote” is a book that’s been TBR for years (actually, decades) and I was spurred on to pick it up by reading of Bulgakov’s love of it (my favourite character from M&M, Koroviev, is often said to be a knight from DQ). Translation and translators came into play here too – I actually have owned for about 20-odd years the Penguin Classics translation by Cohen, but when I did a bit of online research, the later Penguin volume from John Richardson sounded as if it might be up my street. I know there is a more recent, lauded version by Edith Grossman from Vintage, but I read quite a few negatives and when I compared a couple of pages of both versions, I felt the Richardson was for me. I duly procured a cheap copy from Awesome Books (thanks folks!) and I am 100 pages into what is a 1000 page book! It’s actually so far a very funny, very easy read which I’m enjoying a lot, and I’m not feeling at all intimidated by the length as I know I can dip into my other current reads when I feel like it.

Secondly is “A Buyer’s Market” by Anthony Powell, no. 2 in my monthly reading of “Dance to the Music of Time”. As I’m struggling with motivation again, it’s nice to be able to pick this up, read a few pages and stop when I want. And so far, this is much easier to get into than the first book – maybe as I’ve got used to Powell’s style and the characters are quite familiar. I may be a little later finishing it, but heck! At least I started it in February….!

And finally “Notes off the Cuff’ – simply because I *have* to have a Bulgakov on the go at the moment!

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In fact, the Bulgakov has changed since I came up with the idea of three books on the go at once – it was “The Fatal Eggs” – because Youngest Child and I headed off to Kent yesterday for a day out visiting another University. Boy, was it cold!!! The University was fine, and because we were on the train I was able to read – finished “The Fatal Eggs” and also got through a new translation (Hugh Aplin) of Bulgakov;s “Diaboliad”. I’ll review these together with “Cuff” at a later date, I think.

2 bulg

What was rather nice yesterday was the fact that we went via Stratford and on the way back had a chance to stop and pop into the giant (and very posh and expensive) Westfield Shopping Centre. Apart from the rather wonderful World Food Stalls, what thrilled us most was the fact that there was a little branch of Foyles! (Never mind all that designer clothing nonsense – there’s a bookshop!!)  We had a little browse, and YC spotted a book on Kant she needed for her studies. As it was on 3 for 2, and so were the little Penguin Great Ideas volumes on the stand next to it, I confess I indulged in more full price book buying:

great ideas

I probably have all the George Orwell essays already in one of my collected volumes, but this one did look rather pretty. And the Baudelaire book sounded fun as well – so the TBR will now become even higher and more unstable – oh dear!

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