“So many books, so little time.” ~Frank Zappa
1. Non-Fiction Stories about Russian People
Russia: A Short History, by Abraham Ascher
A very readable, fascinating overview of Russia’s history from its early age to modern time with a focus on the last 300 years. Updated after Putin’s third election as president it includes very recent history.
2. Stories about the Gulag System
Prisoner of the OGPU: Four Years in a Soviet Labor Camp (non-fiction), by George Kitchin
After hearing from a couple of Russians that they doubt whether it was really that bad in the gulags, or if it did happen it needed to be done for a greater good, I figured I had some reading to do. Unable to buy the above-mentioned Gulag Archipelago, I bought this.
What can I say? It’s a harrowing story and reading it with the critical notes from locals in my mind, I’d argue that even if only ten percent were true and the rest lies or exaggerated, this kind of treatment is still unacceptable for a greater good of a country.
One Day in the Life of Ivan Denisovich: A Novel (fiction), by Aleksandr Solzhenitsyn
In the madness of World War II, a dutiful Russian soldier is wrongfully convicted of treason and sentenced to ten years in a Siberian labor camp. I’d like to read The Gulag Archipelago as well, his most controversial work (non-fiction) but it’s not available on Kindle.
3. Travel Memoirs about Russia
Off the Rails: 10,000 km in fourteen months – Russia, Siberia, Mongolia, and China, by Tim Cope and Chris Hatherly
This story had me captivated from beginning to end. What a feat to cycle on recumbent bikes in all seasons through such wilderness. Kudos to them.
Under the Flight Path: 15,000 kms Overland Across Russia, Mongolia & China, by Simon Pridmore
A similar trip across similar countryside but travel experiences and ways of telling them are unique and so this is a different account that inspires me.
Travels in Siberia, by Ian Frazier
On the Best-Book Lists of the Washington Post, Boston Globe, and more, Ian Frazier chronicles his various trips to Siberia that includes many insights into its history and culture.
4. Fiction Books set in Russia
5. Classic Russian Books
6. Guidebooks for Russia
7. Books about Russia in Dutch
Jelle Brandt Corstius woonde en werkte in Rusland als correspondent voor Trouw en RTL Nieuws. Deze boeken gaan over zijn reizen in Rusland, zijn makkelijk te lezen en vol met leuke anecdotes die bizarre aspecten van het land laat zien op een respectvolle manier.
Tips, Suggestions, Feedback?
Interested in more books about Russia? Check out this list.
Do you have suggestions on books about Russia that I should add to my list? I’d love to hear them. Feel free to share them in the comment section below or send me an email. Thanks!
Originally published in February 2018 / Updated December 2018
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