Friday, February 03, 2012

Russian Kindle books and...

...Pilgrim's Progress.

I've had several people ask me questions lately, and I decided to answer them here, so that I can remember my answers.

Last things first, at least if you're going in the order of my title here: Pilgrim's Progress is part of Jaan's school reading this year. AmblesideOnline recommends the original English, which I agree with, so we're working towards that. I'm taking several steps to get there, though. First, over the summer, I gave Jaan a Russian translation of Little Pilgrim's Progress to read on his own. (Note: I haven't read it myself, and I don't know what the translation is like. Jaan loved it, though, and it gave him an understanding of what the story is about.) Now, for this year, he and I are listening a Russian audio version, a translation, not a retelling. Then, next year we'll get the English audio that AO suggests. All this might be overkill for some books--children's version, then actual translation, then the original--but I think Pilgrim's Progress can live up to it. Oh, Russian speakers, please don't miss Pushkin's intro to Pilgrim's Progress!

Then, Russian books for Kindle: when did Russian start working on Kindle? I don't think it did when I was given mine, but now it does. (Since the latest software update?) Anyway, Jaan's been reading on my Kindle quite a bit lately. I've been downloading most from RoyalLib. They have several formats available for each book. I get the HTML version and put it through this converter. The final product is quite readable, and I'm rather picky about how my ebooks are formatted.

Any other comments or questions on these topics? Do you have suggestions for good Russian ebook sites?


May 27: I'm editing this to add that Флибуста has become our new favorite source for Kindle books.

13 comments:

Tracy said...

Do you listen to the audio version ON the Kindle?? This might actually convince me to cave and get an e-reader. lol I'm an old fashion book kind of person, but audio books are so expensive! I'd love to use it in the car if at all possible...

Baba Julie said...

Sounds wonderful, Phyllis! It's exciting to see his proficiency in reading! Love you all!

Майя Джонсон said...

wow, I am impressed - he is reading that in both languages? Good job, Phyllis. Thanks for sharing what you are doing with Russian books for Kindle. So far I have been buying/downloading them for free on amazon, and their selection is pretty limited. Now will go and check into the royalib. Thanks!

Phyllis said...

Yes, Tracy, we often listen to audio books on my Kindle. It has little speakers, but they're enough. Librivox is free, and you can put their audio files on a Kindle. If you do get a Kindle, compare versions, because at least one of them (the current cheapest one?) doesn't do audio. Mine is a little older.

No, Maya, Jaan hasn't taken off reading in English yet. All this book worm stuff is just in Russian. Please, if you have any book suggestions, send them along! I can't keep up with him, and I don't know what to give him in Russian. Right now he's on a Mark Twain kick; at least I know what those books are about.

Elizabeth said...

any kindle english sites you could recommend?

Phyllis said...

Gutenberg is really the only English site that I consistently like.

Heather Powell said...

I checked out the Little Pilgrim's Progress and am impressed with Jaan's reading ability. How did it come about that he reads in Russian? Is he more comfortable in Russian verbally as well? Maya and Sasha are reading well in English, and Maya is beginning to read Russian, but I haven't found many books for her on her level. She is past just sounding out the words, but still reads slow. Do you have any suggestions for a beginning Russian reader?

Phyllis said...

Heather, I usually recommend Chukovsky. We love his books! Also, the audio recordings of him reading them are pretty readily available on the internet. It's great for listening and reading along.

Do you have a children's library there? Our tiny town has the most wonderful family library, and the librarians are very happy to help us choose books.

I teach our children to read in Russian first, because the alphabet is just so much more logical. They speak Russian first and better, too.

Sarah said...

How could I get hold of Chekovsky's works and the audio to go with them, since I can't speak Russian but would love the fun of following along!

Phyllis said...

There are some MP3s to listen to here, and the texts are available, too. I'd look for an actual book, if possible, though. You can buy Chukovsky's stories in any bookstore (in Ukraine or Russia, I mean). My personal favorite is less well known, though: Приключения Бибигона. We had it on a record. Here's an MP3 of it. I love the pictures in the book I linked to; that's the one we have.

Майя Джонсон said...

Phyllis, I am working on converting some russian books onto my kindle, and have a question - if it is a big book, do you open chapter by chapter and convert them? I am stumped so far. About Russian books for kids - we love Чарушин - he writes about animals and the stories are short and sweet and very well written. Also, Волков wrote a rendition of Wizard of Oz - Волшебник Изумрудного города. There are something like 6 books. Another classic is Гайдар - he is a soviet writer and his stories are about the soviet era children - I don't think there is any ideology in them though.

Phyllis said...

Maya, no, I've never had to convert chapter by chapter. What format are you converting from? Lately I haven't even been converting. I just find what I want on that Flibusta site.

Thanks for the book recommendations. Чарушин will be new for us. Hurrah!

Anna Parikka said...

I was looking for a place to purchase ebooks in Russian, and found this post :) I also found that they have somekind of selection of (at least newer) books in Russian in Amazon. But even better: http://www.litres.ru/ which sells kindle format (and several others) and the books are quite cheap. I don't know if you were looking for free books, but at least these are not expensive and by the look of it seem to be formatted ok (I haven't yet read any). Here is quite an extensive list of ebook libraries in Russian: http://www.reeed.ru/libraries.php

Hope this helps :)