The purpose of this book is to allow students of Russian in their first and second years of study to read -- and to enjoy! -- authentic, unabridged, and unsimplified Russian literature. Works chosen for the collection give their reader insight into Russian life from the early 1930s to the end of the 1980s and their difficulty is appropriate for beginning and intermediate students. The protagonists of these texts, as well as the audience for which they were written, seem to grow up and come of age as we move through the decades from one author to the next. Among the authors included are Kharms, Inber, Marshak, Bitov, Zhvanetsky, and Narbikova. The texts include a number of charming poems, as well as prose, and the entire book is liberally illustrated. Word lists provided for every page of the text allow students to concentrate on the syntax and the meaning of the material rather than waste their time and energy digging for words in the back of the book. Each page of word lists offers vocabulary in the order in which it appears. Moving a ruler or a sheet of paper down the list, one can easily find translations for the words which are not usually part of a beginner's or intermediate student's active vocabulary. Frequently used words and their derivatives are listed several times throughout the book in order to enhance memorization and to allow teachers and students to read the texts in any order they choose. On all glossary pages, high-frequency words are marked with an asterisk.
One very important thing about all the texts presented in this collection is the exhilaration of language, the fun and joy of naturally flowing style, the musicality of their rhythm and sound. These texts are wonderful examples that will teach students to play with the language, to play with words as poets always do, as children always do in their native tongue. This collection presents authentic literary works that combine excellent style, humanistic content, and engaging presentation with the degree of difficulty acceptable for beginning and intermediate students of Russian. The book follows the topics, vocabulary, and grammar taught in elementary and intermediate courses of Russian. The grammar of the unabridged texts emphasizes verbs, especially conjugation, aspect, and prefixation. In terms of vocabulary and syntax, it offers good preparation for The Twelve Chairs (Intermediate Russian), based upon the novel by Ilf and Petrov, and for Baranskaya's Just Another Week, both also published by Slavica.