In The First Circle Bookclub!



Jaybird is Birdmojo on Xbox Live and Jaybirdmojo on Playstation's network. He's been playing consoles since the Atari 2600 and it was Zork that taught him how to touch-type. If you've got a song for Wednesday, a commercial for Saturday, a recommendation for Tuesday, an essay for Monday, or, heck, just a handful a questions, fire off an email to

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7 Responses

  1. Avatar Mike Schilling says:

    I think that it’s time to take another week off. I’m at chapter 56, and that’s after making a special effort to catch up.

    I loved the trial of Prince Igor[1], even though I’m sure the detailed references went over my head. It reminded me of M*A*S*H: intelligent, funny, sensitive people inventing wild amusements to help get themselves through a horrible situation. The irony is that the zeks have better morale than most of the people outside of prison.

    1. The tune of the standard “Stranger in Paradise”, is from Borodin’s opera about him.Report

    • Avatar Jaybird says:

      Is that the general consensus?

      I only had the one picture of “Time”. Maybe I can find a shot of Solzhenitsyn holding up a finger as if to say “one second” or something.Report

  2. Avatar Fish says:

    “Surely it doesn’t happen here.”

    Well, no, it doesn’t. And yet…if you write your dissertation and base your research on poorly supported or discredited sources, you’re going to get booted but you most likely won’t get thrown in prison. I listen to a podcast by an astronomer who’s doctoral thesis turned out to be wrong, but that’s ok because the point of her research was the result, not being right.

    One of the themes throughout my reading which has stuck with me was the treatment of returning Soviet prisoners of war:

    “A truly loyal Soviet soldier would have fought to the death, never allowing themselves to be captured, so by returning from a German POW camp, you’ve clearly demonstrated that you are a traitor to the Motherland. That’s ten years plus another five years’ suspension of rights.”

    The amusing and yet tragic farce of the “trial” of Prince Igor explains this contradiction perfectly.Report

    • Avatar Jaybird says:

      In one of the chapters in which we were in Stalin’s head, there’s a short scene where Stalin admits to himself that he doesn’t know how to load a rifle, and can’t ask anybody to show him how because then they’ll know that he doesn’t know how to load a rifle…Report

  3. Avatar MikeSchilling says:

    “Is there anything Lev doesn’t know, except advanced mathematics?”

    “Elementary mathematics!”Report