Audience participation

Thus far I have been very fortunate to have a very astute following on this blog. Whereas comments sections on many blogs and internet sites resemble fantasy dungeons filled with unholy horror, many of the commentators here clearly have real life experience with the issues being discussed and their contributions bring insight. I’m not trying to pander here, it’s just that I realize that the future success of this blog will inevitably bring in let us say, not so insightful comments. So while I have the attention of the chosen few, I’d like to make a special announcement.

I am going to be beginning work on my first book very soon. The working title is “A No-BS Guide to Russia,” but that is highly subject to change. Obviously I have my own ideas for the book, but I want to give others a chance to share ideas they would like to see me cover in such a book. I’d like people to feel assured that there’s at least one thing in this book that truly speaks directly to their experience. If there’s something about other guides to Russia, expat literature, or Russia coverage in the media which still grates on your eyes and ears, feel free to share it in the comments. Here are some topics I plan to cover:

-Expat literature like The Element, Moscow Times, etc. Are there any particularly terrible examples you would like to share?

-Ridiculously romantic prose in guidebooks about Russia

-Americans or other Westerners who blog about Russia without having been there or without having spent any significant amount of time in Russia.

Rest assured that anyone contributing something really good will be listed in the Acknowledgements section.  


6 thoughts on “Audience participation

  1. Estragon

    I’ve mentioned this before, but one topic that really needs to be covered is people who do know Russia pretty well, speak the language, and have spent time there, but STILL get it wrong. Example, Richard Lourie who you analyzed in an earlier entry. This is far more puzzling than people who get Russia wrong while knowing nothing about it, and I would like to see an intelligent attempt to elucidate the phenomenon.

  2. Jim Ferby

    I think it’s important to include all of the wonderful things about Russia that most foreigners don’t know about like pelmani and kvass. Also important things of Russian culture like passing out on a playground after having one too many cans of Gin & Tonic while watching your kids play. Doubt forget about the importance of church and how every Russian goes there once a week to pray (most foreigners think that Russians are godless athiests).

  3. Pat

    I’d like to humby submit the Go Eastern Europe page at I think it hits the latter two of your criteria nicely. To be fair, she writes less about Russia these days because I think so many actual Russians have let her have it in the comments about her cluelessness. Now it is merely awkward that it’s an Eastern Europe page without Eastern Europe’s largest country…

    I’ll give you an example because I worry about your health and the constant danger you’re in from vodka there…

    1. Big Bill Haywood Post author

      Wow that’s gold, thanks. I never knew how close I must have come to drinking bootleg vodka. It’s so easy to run across in those aisles full of clearly labeled vodka. Also, LOL at Eastern European hospitality.

  4. Bandersnatch

    Jesus Christ, she could have just said, ‘Go to grocery stores and buy there only’ and ended the article. Too bad there isn’t a feminist writing nonsense about Russia…double whammy.


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