This is a look at the very few books I bought for myself in Ukraine. It is really not an English speaking milieu, and I spent a lot less time looking at printed materials than I had anticipated. I was so busy looking at other things, and so tired in the evenings that I didn't read as much as usual, either. Still, I found a few fascinating books: a collection of Taras Shevchenko's poetry (he is the literary god of Ukraine), a guide to Soviet Kiev from the 70's (comparisons are very informative...), my picture book of stories from Ukrainian ballads which I bought the first day I arrived, and The Case of the General's Thumb, a new book by Andrey Kurkov, the It writer in Kyiv, whose Death and the Penguin I recently read. And then some touristy information, including a wonderful English map of the city which I am enjoying poring over. But that's about it. I know I'll be suffering from "I wish I'd bought that" syndrome for a while...
As for books I took with me, I ended up deciding on 5:
The Master and Margarita / Mikhail Bulgakov
I didn't quite finish it; I will be doing that soon, and then sharing my thoughts. This annotated site may help me.
The Church of the Dog / Kaya McLaren
I read this one quickly as it's very light. Left it behind for the next resident of my sister's flat, another English speaking teacher. Also to be reviewed shortly.
The Sister / Poppy Adams
By the time I finished the one above and read most of Bulgakov, as well as many Kyiv Posts and various other papers, I only got to Chapter Two of this very intriguing book. Must finish...
Anne of Green Gables / LMM
On the plane and on various evenings when I couldn't stay awake long enough to read much, this old favourite comforted me.
Empire of the Stars / Arthur I. Miller
I thought I might need some solid nonfiction. But newspapers did the trick for that; I only read part of the intro to this! It looks fantastic, though. I'll definitely be reading it sometime soon.
And I also loaded 10 books onto my MP3 player, of which I listened to half of Orson Scott Card's Enchanted. I am not a big audio book fan, but it was wonderful for the plane, especially the trip over, which was a redeye and thus had the lights off for half of the flight. I just have to find time to finish the book now that I'm back -- I just might pick up the actual book and read it myself.