We are going to verbalise and share our impressions, thoughts and insights (if someone lucky gets ones) after reading some Russian books. The previous organiser Ash described very well the core of Russian Literature in his paragraph below. Briefly, it might be summed up in Russian saying: "A poet in Russia is more than a mere poet". So to some extent, Russian Literature means more than a mere literature. I hope our discussions give a clue whether the riddle actually exists or it's only national fashion.
"All happy families are alike but each unhappy family is unhappy after its own fashion". With these words Tolstoy set the stage without dilution for the creation that Anna Karenina was destined to become. So what is it about Russian literature that 'bites' people and transforms them irreversibly into the forever self-exploring, absorbed and mysterious personalities. Raskolnikov's interaction with the cop in "Crime and Punishment" or his deliriums contain that piercing penetration into the sub-psychological processes that modern classics do not and cannot contain. Literature for Dostoevsky was not a mere armchair exposition - it was an instrument to express a reality that he experienced on a daily basis. "Rothchild's Fiddle" is not merely a Chekhov short story; it expresses the bickering life that a pitiable coffin seller leads and childishly hopes for people in his town to die so that his little business can profit. What I often felt about Russian stories is that it allowed me to live through an alternative reality and allowed me to practically steer life because I had intellectually lived the life contained in those stories. Most non-Russian authors just write "stories" but Russian art ceases to be merely art - it is life-like and thus becomes a part of life and thus directs it. Despite having such a fervent following I am almost stunned that not a single specific meetup exists.