30 June 2011


I know that June has been the blogging desert here, but I am out of town for the next week!  I will spend the end part of next week finishing up my Country Spotlight week...those posts are a doozy to write.

For reading material, either browse through my archives or look at the blogs I listed on the "Featured Blogs & RSS" page.  Eastern Approaches and Emerging Europe are excellent blogs from well respected sources.

If cultural analyses interest you, visit Sociological Images.  I am highly addicted.  I must warn that it is focused on American culture, so it is fairly unrelated to the subject matter of this blog (a regrettable detail the prevents me from featuring it!). 

For people interested in female/feminist perspectives, there is Her Blueprint, which I also follow religiously.  With their recent post on female emcees, you can probably see why.  Regardless, I'm a feminist.

Those are my suggestions in addition to an old one: read a book.  Preferably about Eastern Europe or by an author from the region.  I'm currently holding How The Soldier Repairs the Gramophone by Saša Stanišić, The Foundation Pit by Andrey Platonov, and The Joke by Milan Kundera.  I have book reviews on this blog for those who need some guidance (click on the word "books" or "review" in the Topics word cloud).  There are 15 featured books, so one is bound to capture your interest.  Have at it, readers.

28 June 2011

The Future of Europe

Yesterday I had the privilege of attending The Chicago Council on Global Affair's program entitled, "The Future of Europe".  This was in cooperation with the Transatlantic Academy, with Executive Director Stephen F. Szabo moderating the panel.  Steffen Kern and Hanns W. Maull were the featured panelists, the former an economist and the latter a foreign policy and international relations specialist.  I was notified of the event by a family member and after attending the 75 minute panel discussion, I was sufficiently impressed with the content.  I look forward to next year's programs from the CCGA, especially if they include European topics.  I would definitely like to become a member once I earn a slightly higher pay grade.

27 June 2011

Monday Book Review

Calypso Editions has put out a new book this month and I'm reviewing it!  The book is entitled Of Gentle Wolves: An Anthology of Romanian Poetry translated and edited by Martin Woodside.  I've been excitedly waiting for it since I saw it on Calypso's publishing queue and the wait was finally over.  Who said that birthdays come only one a year?  Mine come every time I get a book I'm excited about, meaning I often have a birthday.

I must begin by stating my general unfamiliarity with Romanian poetry.  I'm pretty sure this book was compiled for the new as well as the familiar.  The list of Romanian poets is rather long, but captures a great breadth of style and substance.  In the preface, Mr. Woodside writes,
The poems here present a snapshot of Romanian poetry, one that gestures to a single truth: Romanian poets have been re-inventing poetry for as long as they've been writing it.  And that spirit unifies the poets here, a group of writers from various generations working in various modes who all combine a strong grounding in tradition with the desire to innovate and the will to preserve.

21 June 2011


This week is COUNTRY SPOTLIGHT Week.

I've wanted to post on Lithuania for weeks since I realized, to my great horror, that this Baltic country hasn't been featured at all.  I guess I kept thinking I had posted about Lithuania when it was in fact Latvia.  I want to establish that I do know they are not the same country, but their names became conflated in my mind for reasons unknown to me.  To correct this horrible error and befuddling oversight, I am dedicating a post to Lithuania the country.

20 June 2011

Monday Book Review

I'm back in the saddle with a new book to expound upon.  I just finished reading Ismail Kadare's The Siege.  It was recommended to me by a friend who is far more educated, well-read, and cultured than I may ever hope to be.  And by recommended, I mean very urgently recommended.  He told me to drop whatever I was doing and read this book.  However, I was in the middle of another book and had to wait for it to be mailed to me because I bought it used online.  My thought at the time was, "It better be good because I spent $5 and will have to lug it around when I move."  And it was!