Even if you’re not fluent in Russian, anyone interested in the country’s intriguing and tumultuous past or uncertain future will find these books worth a look.
Travels in Siberia by Ian Frazier
Siberia, which takes up fully 1/6 of Earth’s land surface, is a source of perpetual fascination with people around the world. Get up close and personal with the people, land, and history of this region in Frazier’s excellent travelogue. A recent release, (2010), this title gives one of the most readable and up to date accounts of Russia since the fall of the Soviet Union.
Molotov’s Magic Lantern by Rachel Polonsky
British journalist Rachel Polonsky discovers a library of books and a “magic lantern” in an abandoned apartment that once belonged to Vyacheslav Molotov, one time henchman for Stalin. Her findings lead her to investigate the lives of the books’ authors, including such characters as Chekov, Dostoyevsky and Pushkin. A must read for those interested in the literature of the country and the role that it played in shaping its history.
Lost and Found in Russia: Lives in a post-Soviet Landscape by Susan Richards
Nearly twenty years after the fall of the Soviet Union, where do the people of Russia stand? What are their hope and dreams for themselves and their country? Lost and Found in Russia tells the compelling stories of a handful of citizens making their way in a country still trying to find a new identity.
Catherine the Great: Portrait of a Woman by Robert K. Massie
Russia’s most famous empress’ life story, Catherine the Great details with accuracy and style the life of, arguably, one of the most influential women in world history. A highly readable and masterfully told story that is dramatic and sometimes unbelievable.