Top 104 Books Published in English on Russia in 2019

“Hundreds of books about the Russian-speaking world are scheduled to be published in English in 2019. This list narrows that group down to 104 that show exceptional promise — and gives you the tools to find the ones you’ll love in seconds…

…the previews below are largely laudatory, but their optimism can make them a light read in and of themselves: this collection will take you from literary greats to romping counterfactual histories and from dark Soviet humor to gorgeous children’s books.”

—Hilah Kohen, “2019’s top Russia-related books: ‘Meduza’ has your reading list for the next 10,000 years.” Meduza. January 30, 2019.

Meduza in English

“Every day, we bring you the most important news and feature stories from hundreds of sources in Russia and across the former Soviet Union. Our team includes some of Russia’s top professionals in news and reporting. We value our independence and strive to be a reliable, trusted outlet for verified, unbiased information about Russia and the former Soviet Union, as well as a source for sharp insights about one of the world’s most enigmatic regions.”

Meduza in English, and RSS

h/t Electric Eel

Webster’s Revised Unabridged Dictionary (1913) on StarDict on Ubuntu/Debian

So, after reading “You’re probably using the wrong dictionary,” I thought I would give installing Webster’s Revised Unabridged Dictionary (1913) on a Debian-flavor of Linux a try and write it up the process and some observations of its use.

Installation on a Debian-flavor of Linux is straight-forward:

$ sudo apt-get install stardict
$ cd Downloads
$ wget https://s3.amazonaws.com/jsomers/dictionary.zip
$ unzip dictionary.zip
$ cd dictionary
$ tar -xvjf stardict-dictd-web1913-2.4.2.tar.bz2
$ cd stardict-dictd-web1913-2.4.2/
$ sudo mv *.* /usr/share/stardict/dic/
$ stardict

This launches the main application. There is also a mini-window that can be moved to where you like and then you can use it with other applications by highlighting text. Here’s a screenshot of this article:

When you highlight a word, it will automatically be searched for and displayed in the mini-window.

Entries include pronunciation, etymological origin, related words, definition and an example of usage, often from literature. I can imagine this being a very useful tool. It might be worth checking if my writing from this date changes in an appreciable way and whether it is an improvement or not. I suspect it will be very useful.

One Can Not Feel Like An Old Fogey

  1. “A good Christian can not attend church and still be saved.”
  2. “A good Christian cannot attend church and still be saved.”

“Example 1 speaks uncontroversially of the possibility that good Christians may be forgiven for lax church attendance. Example 2, by contrast, states a radically anticlerical claim: that church attendance will wreck your chances of salvation.”

—Geoffry Pullum,”A Moment of Sympathy for the Old Fogeys and Snoots.” The Chronicle of Higher Education. October 28, 2018

Even if general usage would make these interchangable, I cannot abide using can not and cannot as if they were the same.

Crimes Against English: Adulting

Every new generation contends with the no longer relevant advice of the previous generation. After World War II, a booming economy made lifetime jobs with pensions the norm. But, by the time Generation X was born, corporate downsizing, off-shoring and the creation of the 401(k) in 1978, made many of the beliefs of the Boomer generation irrelevant to the contempory workplace. Still, Generation X were called “slackers” both because the environment was different and seeing the materialism of their parents did not bring them happiness, they brought in different values.

I think a similar dynamic is in play with the term: “adulting”, which implies the “[husband/w]ife; children; house; everything. The full catastrophe.” Notions of needing to work 9-to-5, car payments, home ownership and so forth are as out of step with the modern work environment as believing in lifetime employment and pensions. Yet, this standard, which is just as bad as the materialist and consumer values of the Boomer generation, is how younger people — albeit in a seemingly joking manner — are encouraged to think of themselves, a social gaslighting designed to birth an imposter syndrome in the young. So, the use of the term is a bit of a crime against the language — being an adult has nothing to do with mortgages, but it’s really an example of the bad ideas mass culture propagates that harm everyone that comes into contact with them.