The Best Russian Books in English

Forget War and Peace: this blog offers reviews of fun and interesting Russian books in English, links to their Amazon pages, interviews with new and upcoming Russian authors, with the emphasis on Russian genre fiction: LitRPG, science fiction, fantasy, thrillers, romance, mystery and other popular reads.

Tuesday, April 24, 2012

Russian Post Apocalyptic Science Fiction: interview with Alex Bobl


Recently, Russian science fiction writer Alex Bobl, a co-author of the S.T.A.L.K.E.R. and TechnoTma post-apocalyptic series, gave me an interview for Suite 101 magazine. Here's the opening and the link to the full story:

Alex Bobl is young, Russian and prolific. A science fiction writer specializing in post-apocalyptic action and adventure, he's written and co-written thirteen novels in the last three years. Today, Alex Bobl speaks about his writing and his last novel, Memoria. A Corporation of Lies, due to be published in English this summer. Read more

Saturday, April 14, 2012

Russian Post-Apocalyptic Fiction: A New Zombie Novel

As promised, more fun and interesting Russian books in English!



Describing the consequences of a Russian zombie outbreak, Call Me Human: A Zombie Apocalypse Novelis a new book from a Russian SF and fantasy author Sergei Marysh which has already received some very positive reviews on Amazon. Readers admit that Call Me Human is "one of the more realistic zombie novels", they "loved the sci-fi/philosophical way this story ended up" and describe it as "a very well written novel and easy to read".

I'm terribly pleased to hear it considering I did the translation and now I'm overjoyed to see Sergei's book doing so well. He is a very special author and a very fine person so he deserves every word of praise for Call Me Human. I recommend it: it's a refreshingly different book that offers a new explanation of a zombie outbreak, as well as a few quite straightforward insights into the human nature. Enjoy!

Friday, April 13, 2012

Across Siberia Alone: a book that can't be missed!


Hi guys,

Across Siberia Alone; An American Woman's Adventureswas originally published in 1914 and offers a unique cross-section of the pre-WWI Russian society. The author, Helena Crumett Lee, gives a rich, detailed and unbiased view of the Russian Empire as she travels from China through Siberia to Moscow. She pays especial attention to money and leaves us a priceless (literally) report about the cost of living in the early 1910s Russia.

This book is a treasure trove for anyone who wants to write about the period. The links here are to the Amazon.co.uk site because, for some reason, the book is muuuch cheaper there than it is in the US. I'm very excited because I collect this sort of first-hand testimonies which are each worth a thousand history books.

Wednesday, April 11, 2012

Read Russian Books in English has gone live!

This new blog offers fun and interesting Russian reading suggestions. So to mark the event (whoopee, we're on Google!), here's a lovely Russian magic realism novel for you.



Danilov, the violist: A novelby Vladimir Orlov is an amazing story of a half-man, half-demon. The unfortunate result of a love story between a human and a demon, Danilov doesn't really belong to either world, although he diligently visits both and has responsibilities both in Moscow and in the offices of hell. When the book first came out in Russia in (I believe) 1987, it became an overnight success, a must-read cult novel. A talented musician, Danilov tries hard to prove that he doesn't need his demonic powers to succeed: he wants to be appreciated as a human being. Lots of adventures as powers of hell put a price on his head... this book is a winning combination of dark horror, wholehearted humor, exquisitely lyrical love pages, all submerged into an otherworldly atmosphere that can only be compared to that of Bulgakov's The Master and Margarita (Penguin Classics) . Danilov, the violist: A novelis a wonderful work of magic realism and I can't recommend it enough.

Tuesday, April 10, 2012

A gorgeous book of Russian folk songs with English translations and sheet music

I knew I'd find it if I looked hard enough! :)

A professional singer and musician in my pre-writing days, I still have a passion for folk songs. This book, A Russian Song Book (Dover Song Collections) has English translations as well as the original Russian lyrics, and the music to go with it. I'm very happy, especially as at the moment, I'm working on my own book of Russian Christmas carols. Those boring conservatoire years are coming in handy, after all :)

Monday, April 9, 2012

Best Russian Fairy Tales in English



On Kindle, with absolutely gorgeous illustrations, the best Russian fairy tales I remember from my own childhood:Russian Fairy Tales - Skazki (Illustrated)
There're lots more of them in Russia but these are the essence of the Russian folk culture, all about magic, talking beasts and cunning evil wizards. For $1.95 it's the bargain of the century. Don't fool yourself thinking there're only seven of them because they're all long -- way too long for a bedtime story but perfect to be told night after night on  those long village evenings... this is the stuff some illiterate but creative people came up with before books and television!

Sunday, April 8, 2012

Read Russian Books in English update: fun and interesting Russian reads

Hi all,

For some reason, my new blog Read Russian Books in English does not come up in web searches, so here's a quick update!

New fun and interesting Russian books added:

Beemby Gavriil Troepolsky, a short novel depicting tribulations of a lost dog looking for his master. If this story doesn't break your heart, nothing will :)

Crimson Sailsby Alexander Grin, a fantasy romance about Soll - a young girl destined to live out a prophecy made by a traveling storyteller. One of Russia's most treasured books ever.

The Amphibianby Alexander Belyaev, a leading Russian pre-war science fiction author. A short novel set in the 1920s Argentina tells the story of a mad scientist who subjects his adoptive son to a revolutionary experiment... then lives with its consequences. Made into a cult movie The Amphibian Manin 1962.

Enjoy! There're more books on Read Russian Books in English: not many as the blog is only three days old, but I intend to add hundreds more as soon as I can!

Saturday, April 7, 2012

Fun and interesting Russian books in English (continued)

Get your Kleenex out!  Beemis a story of love and devotion between a dog (Beem) and his owner. When the owner is put into hospital, the pining dog escapes looking for him... a powerful eye-opener into our true selves as Beem meets all sorts of people in his travels, both good and bad ones...

A great review on Amazon from Boris E. Rowe... read this book and you'll never be the same.

Read Russian Books in English: fun and interesting reads

Forget War and Peace: Read Russian Books in English offers information about new, fun and interesting Russian books in all genres, primarily science fiction, fantasy, mystery and romance.

When I started Russia for Writers a few years ago, I meant it exclusively for those fiction writers who needed a bit of help with their Russian research. But over time, I developed the tendency to digress and, rather than speak about Russia, I wrote about new Russian writers instead. So I've decided to separate the two. Russia for Writers will from now on deal exclusively with the Russian history and culture, covering whatever I failed to mention in my book, The 33 Worst Mistakes Writers Make About Russia (Write It Right)

And Read Russian Books in English will be about just that: good Russian books in English, both new and old, which are worth reading and are fun to read. There I hope to interview new Russian writers and offer you lots of good reading suggestions. Because believe you me, the Russian literature is not limited to five or six classic titles, bah! There're lots of good Russian books translated into English, and I intend to cover as many as I can over time.

But I'll still be posting updates here until Read Russian Books in English gets an audience all of its own.  Feel free to pop by and check a few titles you've never heard about before!

Friday, April 6, 2012

A native reader's list of five must-read Russian books in English

Yeah yeah, I know. I'm not going to suggest any of the good old classic titles. War and Peace, Anna Karenina, Master and Margarita, Crime and Punishment, Brothers Karamazov and a few runners-up... you're quite capable of finding them online without me. What I would like to do is direct you towards a few Russian books which are equally good but more fun. Something you haven't heard about. So here goes: a list of my favorite Russian books in English. 

1. Crimson Sailsis a short fantasy novel of love, faith and a life-changing dream that has been nourishing generations of Russian readers. Set in a seaside neverland, it tells the story of Soll: a young girl who lives out a prophecy dreamed-up by a traveling storyteller. A classic in a league of its own, available on Kindle.
  

 2. The Amphibian This is another fun-and-interesting classic, this time from a pre-war science fiction author Alexander Belyaev. His novels and short stories were remarkable for their dark horror side taken with a healthy dollop of humor. Set in the 1920s Argentina, The Amphibian tells the story of a mad scientist subjecting his adoptive son to a rather cruel experiment... which proved to be a total literary success. In the 1960s, the novel was made into a cult movie The Amphibian Man which, while far removed from the original story, is a delightful work in its own right.

  
To be continued!

Thursday, April 5, 2012

Grand Duchess Natalia Alexeyevna, first wife of Paul I

Born Princess Wilhelmine of Hesse-Darmstadt, Grand Duchess Natalia Alexeyevna died in labor when her husband, the future Russian Emperor Paul I, was still a crown prince with little hope to ever lay his hands on the Russian crown.

As I worked on the article about her for Gilbert's Royal Russia Annual, I had to dig deep into lots of first-hand sources: memoirs, contemporary accounts and private letters. They confirmed my initial suspicions that the dirty rumors about Natalia's affair with Paul's best friend, Count Andrei Razumovsky, which many of today's researchers take for a solid fact and spare no bile in condemning the young woman, found absolutely no confirmation in contemporaries' accounts.

Which is more, the rumor itself only started after Natalia's torturous death in labor, and very conveniently served the purpose of removing all of Catherine the Great's ill-wishers, starting with Razumovsky himself, from court.

In fact, contemporary chroniclers, namely D.I. Fonvisin and Chevalier de Corberon, who left detailed accounts of Natalia's last days, unanimously pointed out that the very idea of Natalia's possible adultery hadn't crossed anyone's mind until several days after her death. The news came as a complete surprise to all who knew her.

No one at the time could confirm the existence of the hypothetical "compromising letters" that - as rumors claimed - Catherine had supposedly found in her late daughter-in-law's secret chest. But it's true that they gave Catherine a perfect excuse to get rid of Razumovsky and a few others.

I have unearthed lots of little-known facts so I hope the article will be quite interesting.

Wednesday, April 4, 2012

So! Post No1!

Hello all,

When I started my blog Russia for Writers a few years ago, I meant it exclusively for those fiction writers who needed a bit of help with their Russian research. But over time, I developed the tendency to digress and, rather than speak about Russia, I wrote about new Russian writers instead. So today I decided to separate the two. My blog Russia for Writers will from now on deal exclusively with the Russian history and culture, covering whatever I failed to mention in my book, The 33 Worst Mistakes Writers Make About Russia (Write It Right)

And this blog here will be all about Russian books in English. Here I hope to interview new Russian writers and offer you some reading suggestions. Because believe you me, the Russian literature is not limited to five or six classic titles. There're lots of good Russian books translated into English, and I intend to cover as many as I can over time.