It began with the first line, where, waiting to drop off my own visa application, I spent the 3 hours reading Maxim Shrayer’s Waiting for America about his summer as a refugee in Italy. My own Italian paperwork – proof of a citizenship removed – was tucked safely away in my bag. Then it was Olga Gershenson’s forthcoming The Phantom Holocaust (more on that later) while waiting to pick up the visa a couple weeks later.
I’m reviewing the list of books I think I can read in a two-week family vacation-down-memory lane, and the situation is not improving. Highlights include:
- A Century of Ambivalence: The Jews of Russia and the Soviet Union, 1881 to the Present (Zvi Gitelman)
- The Doctors’ Plot of 1953: A Survivor’s Memoir of Stalin’s Last Act of Terror, Against Jews and Science (Yakov Rapoport)
- Less Than One: Selected Essays (Joseph Brodsky)
- HIAS myStory (collection of Soviet-Jewish immigration stories from HIAS)
Oh, and a re-read of a gulag memoir from a family friend.
They don’t still pay attention to what people are reading over there, right?
Perhaps I should just give up and go for something simple. Like this.