Saturday, June 5, 2010

Literary findings

Russians have interesting ways of getting rid of old books.

Sometimes you see someone by the side of the road selling some books that have been laid out on a piece of newspaper. Just doing a little decluttering and trying to make some money...

Sometimes, they are in the stairwell of a house. And they might even be free!

If I had a bigger living space, I would be more tempted to collect these treasures. Indeed, many are even out of print! But I suppose they would collect some dust in my possession.

The other day, we paid a visit to a museum, which happened to be located in an apartment building. In the stairwell was a selection of books. We inquired of the museum and they said that the books were free for the taking. Read more/-

I almost didn't take anything since I didn't recognize any of the authors. But at the last minute, my eyes locked on the title of "Полезные советы." (Helpful Tips)

I knew that it would be not only an interesting cultural gem, but a fun housekeeping resource. It's interesting to note that the book was published in 1960, around the time when "Hints from Heloise" were appearing in U.S. newspapers.

Here you find advice on everything from darning socks to setting the table for lunch.

The funny thing is that in this case, the divide was more generational than cultural. I didn't even feel like I was reading a Russian book. I just felt transformed to the days when my mother was growing up and my grandmother would have been the housewife.

It's a pity that many of these tips belong to a lost art...


  1. I think it is JUST AS WELL that I can't make the title photo large enough to see what books were available! I'd otherwise be disappointed not to have had that opportunity. I grew up with some idea that books have a sacred quality, and I have both a hard time giving them up, and a difficult time not taking any on offer. I'm quite envious of the one you picked up! Just my cup of tea!

  2. What a cool book! Congrats! : )

  3. Thanks!

    I do hold some books dear, particularly if they have an interesting design or are out of print. But there are others that hold no sentimental value for me.

    The photo was taken with my cell phone. I'm actually glad it doesn't show the titles, because I might have looked them up later and regretted not capitalizing on the opportunity!


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