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Russian Book

Original Owner: 
Some Book in Russian
Some Book in Russian
Some Book in Russian

Will's Story that I forced him to send me because he included this extra book in with his Sauce trade shipment:

Like Crazy Moths to A Demonic Flame
My friend from the bar and I hang out ever Wednesday night. We eat dinner and go to the cheap movies every Wednesday without much variance (depending on what might be going on that week). We've been doing this for years, years I tell you. We go to a bookstore sometimes after our movie.

The bookstore is a weird eclectic mix of junk and actual books that have value. The valuable books are kept inside and locked when the store is closed, like when we go to the store. The junk, however, is lined up against the outside wall of the store and they charge a dime for a paperback and a quarter for hardbacks. They have a little donation box for "honest" citizens to put in money. We go there at least twice a month just to see what kind of weird junk books we can score and, usually, I just pick up things that were left in old books that looks interesting, like old cards or letters used as bookmarks, or actual bookmarks.

Related to that, I am the kind of person that attracts people. I have no idea why, but I'm like the bug zapper on a summer night. People are attracted to my light like moths. Not normal people, mind you, crazy people. Crazy people want to talk to me like it's their job and it happens so often that I'm used to it and all my friends and family realize that the downside of hanging out with me in public is that weird people and maybe even crazy people will walk up to me and start talking to me and I must be polite and talk back. I must. It is my job. Maybe crazy is attracted to crazy. I'm not sure why it happens and I've never mentioned what it might reveal about my friends that they also want to talk to me so they may not be that much different from the crazy people. It happens no matter what I look like or what I'm wearing. I've been fat, bearded, long-haired, and homeless looking or, clean cut and dressed up and it will happen either way. I also get the whole, "you look familiar, don't I know you, aren't you that guy" thing a lot and usually from some crazy person before they start talking to me, so maybe crazy people recognize me.

Back to the story... we go to the weird bookstore and there are people there. I don't like this because I want to look at junky books and chat with my friend, not talk to crazies, but we go up anyway. One guy is a normal looking black dude, the other is a freaky looking white chick. Guess which one started talking to me? You know it. It was the white girl. She told me all about how she was meditating and saw a demon and the demon tried to kill her and she went to some Buddhist master who was talking at the university and told him and he laughed at her. There are so many crazy things about the story that I can't even go into them all, but this took like half an hour and I, being polite, acted interested which kept her going and going and finally she asked what I thought it was and I told her as seriously as possible... "I think you fell asleep and had a bad dream." Then I politely bowed out of the conversation.

I got that Russian book from that store and really only put it in there to keep the robot from laying crooked in the box, but I'm glad you like it. I had been thinking of using it for some weird collage art that I like to do, but never got around to it. For some reason, cutting up books that are in a different language is better than cutting up old Charles Dickens. Who knows, I'm a weirdo.

I honestly don't want anything for that book because it's not that awesome, but I wouldn't mind having the Pee Wee. I love surprises, so feel free to surprise me with what have you in addition to Pee Wee. The scarier the better though.

Note from The Sauce: I had to explain to Will that he was being punished for sending the book in addition to his other trade items without express advance permission from The Sauce. I let him know that I would be selecting an item that he will receive in exchange for the Russian Book and that it will certainly not be the Pee Wee since he wants that and if I give it to him it would defeat the purpose of trying to punish him.

That "Russian book"...

Rosalie my Dear One, That "Russian book" is a collection of the short stories of the author Sholem Aleichem. He originally wrote in Russian and Hebrew, but he became famous as a writer in Yiddish. He is best known for the short stories that became the basis for Fiddler on the Roof. In fact, that Jew with his goat on the cover illo might well be good old Tevye himself. I would guess that book is a Russian (or Ukrainian, he was born near Kiev in the Ukraine) translation of some of his Yiddish tales. There's a nice article about him in Wikepedia of course, and tons more stuff online. He is truly a beloved writer, although it would probably be easier to learn Yiddish and read him in the original than to teach yourself Russian. Or easiest, just find his stories in English translation.



Fun facts about Sholem Aleichem: It's originally a greeting in Hebrew meaning "Peace be with you." You maybe knew that. Did you also know it's also a traditional song? Probably. But I'll bet you didn't know it's also the name of a crater on Mercury? How about that? I hope someone who can read the book gets it. (I myself don't know any Russian, but I can sound words out from the Cyrillic alphabet.)



[UPDATE:] I guessed it was a book of his writings from the cover, which just says "Sholom Aleichem" on it. But the page with all the text includes in several places the name "Nachum Rabinovitch" which is a variation of his original name, before he took his famous pen-name. So either that page is from a biographical intro to the stories, or the whole book is a biography. Can't read enough to tell. But I'll bet you could find someone there who could.


You know what would actually be helpful?

A photo of the doggone Title Page, and the publication info page (if there is one). Those would be helpful. Because it's, y'know... a book?