Three Books to Understand Lithuania I Have Read in 2018

As both Christmas and the New Year are approaching I was undecided whether to post something similar to my 2017 reading list  or to go for something different. Since I was not that accurate in tracking what I have read this year, I thought it would be much more fun to group here three books that caught my attention along 2018.

I have worked a lot on the list but finally find out those three. They may not be the best I have read but let me tell you why I would recommend them:

Limonov, Emmanuèle Carrère
This book was important for me because it let me pair two things I wanted to do in one: having in hands some peculiar view on Soviet Union without reading a history book and practicing my French. There is a lot of his writer in this book, maybe too much in some points, but this funny portrait of the Russian poet and activist Eduard Limonov can make you curious about something behind it, that is to say the historical background where most of the story takes place (and this took me to the second book).

Secondhand Time: The Last of the Soviets
The 2015 Nobel Prize Svetlana Aleksievič is mostly known for Chernobyl Prayer, where she depicts the nuclear accident through the alive voices of the survivors. The same method is applied to Soviet Union and its collapse in this fantastic book, where many absolutely personal stories, all being so different from each other, happen to build a truly unique tale. I have felt there was much more into this book than in many history books I could have read on the matter but I didn’t stop studying since this year my reading path has been lead by the idea of knowing better where I am and understanding the places that surround my daily life.

Vilnius: City of Strangers 

Turned out the best idea was to explore the city I live in first. Thanks to the beautiful initiative Vilnius skaito (which translates into “Vilnius reads”) I had the occasion many times, this summer, to sit on an orange pouf in one of my favourite Vilnius spot  and read (below the prove).

One within the book I enjoyed the most was “Vilnius: City of Strangers”, a history book which depicts Vilnius as being historically a true melting pot built on many cultural layers. Being a stranger myself I enjoyed discovering how modern and insightful were both the dream and the message launched by Duke Gediminas over seven hundreds years ago and I would definitely recommend the whole book for anybody who’s interested in Vilnius but does not speak Lithuanian that well.

To the next!


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