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Stories I Stole

3.8  ·  Rating Details ·  163 Ratings  ·  19 Reviews
Fed up with working for Time magazine in London, Wendell Steavenson moved to Georgia on a whim. Stories I Stole relates her time there in 20 vodka-fuelled episodes drawn from all over the country - tales of love, friendship and powercuts, of duelling (Georgian style), of horse races in the mountains, wars and refugees, broken hearts, fixed elections, drinking sessions and ...more
Paperback, 288 pages
Published July 10th 2003 by Atlantic Books (first published July 9th 2002)
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May 03, 2016 Chris rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Stories I Stole by Wendell Stevenson.

I visited Georgia twice now, in 2014 and 2016, so some fifteen to twenty after Wendell’s visit and some twenty five years after Georgia became an independent country, as far as former soviet republics ever will be independent countries.

The nature is still as impressive as ever, the red wine still flows unlimited and the people are still as warm hearted and talkative as in Wendell’s days and probably ever since the beginning of times. At the same time it is a
May 18, 2008 BoekenTrol rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Recommends it for: everyone with an interest in Georgia
Shelves: stories-of-life
This book brought back all memories that have been lingering in my mind since I left Georgia, now more than 10 years ago. It could have ben me, writing the book, since a lot of what Steavenson writes about, also happened to me.
I read it, re-read it and wondered (hind sight!!) how I ever survived 2 years in the capital of the country without hot water or washing maschine, with electricity put on rations, without an elevator to lift me to the 9th floor with all my kilos of potatoes, onions, carro
Sean Carman
Mar 12, 2011 Sean Carman rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
The following review originally appeared on The Rumpus as a "Last Book I Loved" piece:

The Last Book I Loved: Stories I Stole, by Wendell Steavenson

Wendell Steavenson’s memoir of her time as a freelance foreign correspondent in Tblisi, Georgia, begins in her former Time Magazine office, where she and her friend Nina spin escape fantasies under the world map tacked above their desks. Nina has stuck her pin in Pamplona. Steavenson has chosen Tblisi, capital of the former Soviet Republic of Georgia.
After living with a Georgian, and experiencing (at least on some level) the beauty that is Georgian culture, I had great expectations for this book. On the positive side, it has an expansive bibliography and suggested reading list, which should be useful to any student of the region. I also enjoyed reading a female writer, a rarity in Caucasian literature. I was a bit disappointed by the stylistic merits of the book - the storytelling seems mediocre when compared with the cultural and historic r ...more
Apr 29, 2008 Stuart rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Another jewel of a book proving to me that process is more valuable than product. Steavenson spent 2 years in Tbilisi, capital of Georgia. She was nominally a free-lancer writing about the craziness of living that followed independence there, (and that continues as Abkhasia and other ethnic enclaves wriggle furiously for their own independence).

She chronicles the disparities of modern cities without infrastructure, the mountain villages that remain true (kinda) to tradition, and the inexplicabl
Jan 09, 2008 Denice rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
I almost did my Peace Corps service in Georgia and had been very curious about the Caucaucus after passing it up. This is a great window into that world.
Maria Gambale
Messy, with a few excellent stories. Inexplicably self-involved. I'd be curious if any other readers were interested in her love life interludes. The ending was nothing short of an ego splurge.
Although hers was my favorite story in Wild East: Stories from the Last Frontier, I'm a little lost in this. Maybe if I'd read it all in one go, it'd be different. I have so much to learn about this part of the world. I'll read this again one day.

Shalva was proud of his war but intelligent enough to realize that there was no way to defend it.


Lela gave me a half-smile, "I know. It's ridiculous. I am harboring a fugitive drug addict with a bullet hole in
Feb 29, 2008 Michael rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Recommends it for: anyone thinking about traveling to Georgia, adventurous travelers
Recommended to Michael by: Tricia
I read this book just before departing for a 3-week trip to the Republic of Georgia in the summer of 2007. It's awesome and quite unlike anything I've read before.

Much has changed about Georgia since the book was written - but much also has not. For example, Georgia is now run by a staunchly pro-Western government which came into power in 2003 (touched on at the very end of the book), but some Georgians say this administration is as corrupt as Shevardnadze's, and Tbilisi still has occasional pow
Michael  Malone
Dec 20, 2013 Michael Malone rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Very intriguing look at the republic of Georgia finding its way, or, more often, not, after the breakup of the Soviet Union. No heat, no electricity, just lots of vodka...Steavenson is fearless and endlessly curious. One might skim over the bits detailed internecine political battles in Tbilisi, but the book is most compelling when she shares some of her personal life, such as having her heart broken by a photographer in her circle of foreign correspondents. Informative and fun.
Jul 08, 2009 Susan rated it liked it  ·  review of another edition
Interesting memoire of exploits and peculiarities of a quasi-journalistic life in emerging eastern European countries. Wendell Steavenson has a wry, amusing, sometimes cynical voice and shares some hilarious and some poignant experiences among colleagues and friends.
Jan 05, 2009 Charley rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: travel, non-fiction
A gem of a book, I really enjoyed these stories and laughed my head off about life in Georgia.
Jan 30, 2008 John rated it it was ok  ·  review of another edition
I just didn't enjoy this book. It was well written and informative, but not entertaining, kind of like a text book. It conveys a lot of information, but I wouldn't pick it up just to read it.
Heard about this via Paul Salopek, the "Out of Eden" guy walking the globe. Reaction while reading was more often frustration than enjoyment. Just not my cup of tea (or chacha), I guess!
Nov 27, 2008 Jarrod rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Good insight to Georgia pre-rose revolution. Good insight to the culture. Made me feel like I was back in Georgia, just with more English
Apr 24, 2010 Yana2205 rated it really liked it
Life in Georgia before the Rose Revolution as viewed by an outsider. But why has she no interest in Russia? Seems a bit biased. But it reads well.
Dec 05, 2008 Aaron rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Recommended to Aaron by: Nik Steinberg
Mixing truth and reality. She really did steal the stories, but the book was well done. I would have liked it less if I had been in Georgia first when I read it
Mar 16, 2011 Rebekah rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Alternately heartbreaking and hilarious. Highly recommended to anyone traveling to and writing about the Caucasus, or just traveling and writing in general.
Jun 25, 2013 Fizza rated it it was ok  ·  review of another edition
interesting read.. disjointed narrative which seems a bit out of place for a travelogue
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