I'm fond of reading. Usually I borrow books from the library, but I have a lot of them at home, too. I like to read books about the history of our country, about famous people and the life of my contemporaries abroad. Literature means much in my life. It helps to form the character and the world outlook, to understand life better.
There are some names in Russian and foreign literatures that are very dear to me. In Russian literature I value Ivan Sergeyevich Turgenev highly. For me he is a real intellectual and aristocrat, a man of culture, devoted to literature, music and painting. Though he lived abroad for a long time he didn't stop to be a Russian writer for a moment.
He created a number of national characters in his books. The image of urgency's woman, deeply feeling, faithful and tender is an ideal of a Russian woman for me. It doesn't lose its charm even today. Turgenev's descriptions of nature are delightful too. Take for example his "Byezhin Prairie", "Torrents of spring" etc.
Turgenev's prose is very poetic. His style is perfect; his dialogues are easy-read, interesting, life-like, and yet always significant. One may think that Turgenev is too balanced, too poetic for the new age, but one must admit that these are the qualities we badly lack today.
Of the present day writers and poets I like Eugene Evtushenko, Valentin Rasputin, Valentin Pikul, Boris Vasilyev, Tatyana Tolstaya, Andrei Dementyev. Their books are very humane and realistic. They assert high moral principles into life. And this is very important nowadays.
My favourite foreign writer is O'Henry. In childhood I was deeply impressed by his story "The Last Leaf". Since then I bear in my heart the image of a young girl suffering from incurable illness and her friends doing everything they can to give her hope and bring back to life. The author penetrates deeply into a person's soul and reveals its best qualities. He obviously sympathises with common people, describes their feelings to other people, their warm-heartedness and kindness.