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The Storks' Nest: Life and Love in the Russian Countryside
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The Storks' Nest: Life and Love in the Russian Countryside

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3.66  ·  Rating details ·  35 Ratings  ·  13 Reviews
A memoir of love and nature in the Russian countryside.
Paperback, 336 pages
Published February 1st 2008 by Fulcrum Publishing
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Alan
Jun 08, 2017 rated it liked it
I would rate it 3.9 if that were an option.

I liked it. I liked its simplicity, its straightforward, unvarnished account of life in a poor, small Russian village and the insight it provided into the lives of some very downtrodden yet resilient people, as well as one very talented, versatile conservation crusader (the author's husband).

The book seemed a bit disorganized to me at times, but I sense that is, in part, because it lacked subheadings that would serve as guideposts, as in, "Hey, folks,
...more
Genna
Apr 21, 2008 rated it really liked it
A co-worker mentioned this book to me after going to hear Laura Williams speak at Cornell last year. She told me the author was a graduate of Cornell and now lives in a remote village in Russia with her photographer/naturalist Russian husband and two sons, writing and doing environmental conservation. It sounded really interesting, so I bought the book, but my friend’s review of Williams’ talk was not incredibly enthusiastic, so I kept putting the book at the bottom of my to-read list. Finally, ...more
Rebecca
Sep 22, 2010 rated it really liked it
When I started this book, I thought, this is going to be a ridiculously sappy account of this woman's love affair with a Russian biologist, and I am not interested in reading it. In the course of the first chapter, I rolled my eyes probably twenty times. But despite a few lapses into cheesiness, the book's portrait of life in a tiny Russian village at the edge of a protected area is truly fascinating and compelling. Williams captures the details of the inhabitants, the environment, and the histo ...more
Diane
Mar 13, 2008 rated it it was ok
I have mixed feelings about this book. It was interesting to learn a little about the Russian Zapovedniki, or strictly protected scientific nature reserves system, especially about one that is in western Russia near the border with Ukraine. However, I stress "little" since the book unfortunately is mostly about a young American who is in love and people in love write in a boring self-centered way. I would have really liked to know more about the reserve and its programs and the black cranes and ...more
Yulia Vorotyntseva
Sep 18, 2014 rated it really liked it
Today I have accidentally run into a blog post -- an episode from the Russian country life. The story was written in very "classy" Russian: it reminded me of "Farewell to Matera" -- one of the must-read-at-school Russian/Soviet literature pieces. In the end of the post it was said that the story is a chapter from a book. "Perfect", -- I thought. --"Russian classics is not dead". It came to me as a great surprise that the book is originally written in English (Laura Williams has translated some c ...more
Emily
Jun 11, 2011 rated it liked it
While I liked this book because of the amount of interesting information it contained, I did not like the writing. The author jumped around a lot, and added large amounts of strange details that seemed unnecessary. If it was really supposed to be a story about how she and her husband fell in love, a lot was missing. If it was supposed to be about living in the Russian countryside, I feel like it veered off course many times.

It was enjoyable, but only because I really like learning about Russia.
Heather
Sep 03, 2008 rated it liked it
Recommends it for: conservationists, Russophiles
Recommended to Heather by: Julie Shoemaker (co-worker)
Not "just another ex-pat memoir." Yes, it is an ex-pat memoir, but the difference is that (a) Williams is in a village, which many foreigners visiting Russia never see, and (b) it's real insider's viewpoint.
Suzanne (Doppleganger)
Jul 26, 2008 rated it liked it
Shelves: memoirs
This book read like a collection of short stories or a diary. Even though I would have enjoyed a little more emotion in the book, I did thoroughly enjoy the stories told about remote Russian country life. The recipes were an unexpected bonus.
Cathy
Oct 12, 2008 rated it it was ok
somewhat interesting story of an American woman who goes to Russia to work in a nature preserve and falls in love with a Russian man. Not interested enough to finish it.
Jen
Mar 20, 2009 rated it liked it
This book is pretty badly written but strangely fascinating.
Ann S-V
Apr 07, 2010 rated it it was amazing
Shelves: nature
Great writing! Good combination of wilderness experience, wildlife conservation, and personal narrative. A reminder of the kinds of lives that are available to us if we are willing to take the risk.
Matthew
Mar 06, 2013 rated it liked it
This book can probably best be described as an anthropological study of rural Russia. Overall a good book and relatively quick read.
Mugsymkelly
Oct 20, 2008 marked it as to-read
Possible book club book?
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Note from author 2 12 Nov 05, 2018 08:00AM  
Laura Lynne Williams and Igor Shpilenok met in Russia and connected over a shared interest in nature and the environment. She moved to Russia in 1993 where she opened the World Wildlife Fund's (WFF) first office with the assistance of a Russian scientist. Through her work at WWF, she met the energetic naturalist and photographer Shpilenok, founder and director of the Bryansk Forest Nature Reserve ...more