I dearly love reading about bookstores I’ll never visit, and Christopher Culver feeds this appetite in a couple of recent posts at his weblog (as he quaintly calls it). Minority-language books in Kazan—”If you visit Kazan and want to buy books in Tatar, the place to go is the intersection of Bauman (ул. Баумана) and Astronimičeskaja (ул. Астрономическая) streets”—has a couple of exterior photos of the bookstore in question, and New Chuvash resources in Cheboksary—”Located on Egerskij bul’var near the intersection with prospekt 9-j Pjatiletki (just across the street from the Šupaškar shopping mall and McDonalds), this bookshop offers seemingly every recent publication from the Chuvash state publishing house”—has an enticing interior shot, along with this depressing conclusion:
Gennady Aigi’s complete poems have recently been issued in a two-volume set. I was able to purchase the second volume, which collects his poems in Russian…. However, the first volume, which collects his poems in Chuvash, is sold out. I heard a rumour from a trusted source that almost the entire print run of that volume went to Chuvash politicians and is gathering dust on their shelves.
Linguistically, though, the most exciting post is Tuqay in Volga-Kama languages, which presents a half-dozen versions of the two-line poem “Kazan” by Ğabdulla Tuqay (1886-1913); here are the Tatar original and a Russian translation, and you can see the Bashkir, Chuvash, Udmurt, and Meadow Mari versions at Chris’s site:
Ут, төтен, фабрик-завод берлә һаман кайный Казан;
Имгәтеп ташлап савын, сау эшчеләр сайлый Казан.
Огнем заводов дни и ночи людей ты жжешь, Казань.
Здоровых погубив рабочих, ты новых ждешь, Казань.
I guess I should give a rough translation into English: “With factory’s fire you burn people day and night, Kazan./ Having destroyed healthy workers, you await new ones, Kazan.”