From The Vaults

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Here is 3/? of my podcast recommendations for the avid listener. These can all be found on iTunes.

If there’s a podcast that hasn’t featured on either of my posts that you think deserves a shout out, let me know what it is and I’ll give it a listen. I’m always looking for new podcasts to listen to, especially fiction.

FROM THE VAULTS:

Soviet Literature

(A guest post by our resident Russia expert hardtobeagod.)

A School For Fools, Sasha Sokolov

The rhododendron, growing every minute somewhere in Alpine meadows, are far happier than we, for they know neither love, nor hate, nor the Perillo slipper system, and they don’t even die, since all nature, excepting man, is one undying, indestructible whole. If one tree somewhere in the forest perishes from old age, before dying, it gives the wind so many seeds, and so many new trees grow up around it on the land, near and far, that the wold tree, especially the rhododendron doesn’t mind dying. […] Only man minds and feels bitter, and burdened as he is with egotistical pity for himself.

Pushin House, Andrei Bitov

Unreality is a condition of life. Everything is shifted and exists a step away, with a purpose other than it was named for. On the level of reality, only God is alive. He is reality. All else is divided, multiplied, canceled out, factored-annihilated.

Doctor Zhivago, Boris Pasternak

I think that if the beast who sleeps in man could be held down by threats - any kind of threat, whether of jail or of retribution after death - then the highest emblem of humanity would be the lion tamer in the circus with his whip, not the prophet who sacrificed himself.

The Gulag Archipelago, Alexandr Solzhenitsyn

If only it were all so simple! If only there were evil people somewhere insidiously committing evil deeds, and it were necessary only to separate them from the rest of us and destroy them. But the line dividing good and evil cuts through the heart of every human being. And who is willing to destroy a piece of his own heart?

We, Yevgeny Zamyatin

I am aware of myself. And, of course, the only things that are aware of themselves and conscious of their individuality are irritated eyes, cut fingers, sore teeth. A healthy eye, finger, tooth might as well not even be there. Isn’t it clear that individual consciousness is just sickness?

And Quiet Flows The Don, Mikhail Sholokhov

The grass grows over the graves, time overgrows the pain. The wind blew away the traces of those who had departed; time blows away the bloody pain and the memory of those who did not live to see their dear ones again—and will not live, for brief is human life, and not for long is any of us granted to tread the grass.

The Fierce and Beautiful World, Andrei Platonov

He walked around all the useless things in the courtyard and touched them with his hands; for some reason, he wished that these would remember him, and love him. But he didn’t believe they would. From childhood memories he knew how strange and sad it is after a long absence to see a familiar place again, for these unmoving objects have no memory and do not recognize the stirrings of a stranger’s heart.

The Master and Margarita, Mikhail Bulgakov

What would your good be doing if there were no evil, and what would the earth look like if shadows disappeared from it? After all, shadows are cast by objects and people. There is the shadow of my sword. But there are also shadows of trees and living creatures. Would you like to denude the earth of all the trees and all the living beings in order to satisfy your fantasy of rejoicing in the naked light?

Life and Fate, Vasily Grossmann

…neither fate, nor history, nor the anger of the State, nor the glory or infamy of battle has any power to affect those who call themselves human beings. No, whatever life holds in store —- hard-won glory, poverty and despair, or death in a labor camp —- they will live as human beings and die as human beings, the same as those who have already perished; and in this alone lies man’s eternal and bitter victory over all the grandiose and inhuman forces that ever have been or will be…

Envy, Yury Olesha

Human life is insignificant. What’s ominous is the movement of the spheres. When I settled here, a sun speck sat on the doorjamb at two in the afternoon. Thirty-six days passed. The speck jumped to the next room. The earth had completed another leg of its journey. The little sun speck, a child’s plaything, reminds us of eternity.

10

The Greatest Female Vaulters of All Time: Elena Produnova, Monica Rosu, Cheng Fei, McKayla Maroney, and Simone Biles