Glued to the Winter Olympics?
Between the curling and ice dancing, immerse yourself in stories about the host country on everyone’s mind:
The Winter Palace: a Novel of Catherine the Great
by Eva Stachniak
The story of how wide-eyed German duchess Sophie becomes Catherine the Great, one of Russia’s foremost rulers, and is narrated by a servant who doubles as a royal spy. Proves that the Tudors don’t have a monopoly on marital scandal, royal intrigue, or feminine triumph.
Molotov’s Magic Lantern: Travels in Russian History
by Rachel Polonsky
When the author moves to Moscow, she discovers an apartment on Romanov Street that was once home to the Soviet elite. One of the most infamous neighbors was the ruthless apparatchik, Stalin’s henchman Vyacheslav Molotov, who was a participant in the collectivizations and the Great Purge, and also an ardent bibliophile. In what was formerly his apartment, she uncovers an extensive library and an old magic lantern, which lead her on an extraordinary journey throughout Russia and ultimately renew her vision of the country and its people.
by Randi Barrow
In 1945 Russia, those who own German shepherds are considered traitors, but thirteen-year-old Mikhail and his family are determined to keep the dog a dying man brought them, while his classmate Katia strives to learn his secret.
The Stalin Epigram
by Robert Littell
Osip Mandelstam was Russia’s premier poet of the early 20th century. His verses first supported the Bolshevik Revolution but he turned away in disgust from its bloodthirstiness, and paid a high price for his change of conscience. Littell re-creates the five crucial months that saw his final poem “The Stalin Epigram” emerge, which eviscerated Stalin with lines like “His cockroach whiskers leer – only to condemn its maker to a wretched death en route to the Gulag in 1938.
A modern filmmaker magically finds himself transported to the 18th century. There he embarks on a time-traveling journey through 300 years of Russian history. Filmed with a cast of thousands, three live orchestras and an army of technicians, Russian Ark is the longest uninterrupted shot in film history, and the first feature film ever created in a single take.
The Green Lantern: A Romance of Stalinist Russia
by Jerome Charyn
An acting troupe defies Soviet bans to present a production of Shakespeare’s King Lear, and the prop manager finds himself thrust into the main role when the actor playing Lear becomes ill. His performance becomes the talk of Moscow, and he falls under the direct scrutiny of Joseph Stalin, who controls whether the show will proceed and the actors will live to give another performance.
From Russia, with Love
by Ian Flemming
When Soviet spy Tatiana Romanova declares she wants to defect to Britain, James Bond chaperones her on a journey aboard the Orient Express, but despite his physical attraction to her, Bond does not trust Romanova’s intentions.
Follows five ordinary Russians living in extraordinary times, from their sheltered Soviet childhood, to the collapse of the Soviet Union during their teenage years, to the constantly shifting political landscape of post-Soviet Russia. Together, these childhood classmates paint a complex picture of the dreams and disillusionments of those raised behind the Iron Curtain.
Mastering the Art of Soviet Cooking: a Memoir of Love and Longing
by Anya von Bremzen
Born in 1963, in an era of bread shortages, Anya grew up in a communal Moscow apartment where eighteen families shared one kitchen. She sang odes to Lenin, black-marketeered Juicy Fruit gum at school, watched her father brew moonshine, and, like most Soviet citizens, longed for a taste of the mythical West. When Anya was ten, she and her mother Larisa fled the political repression of Brezhnev-era Russia, arriving in Philadelphia with no winter coats and no right of return.
Red Fortress: History and Illusion in the Kremlin
by Catherine Merridale
Churchill famously referred to Russia as a “riddle wrapped in a mystery inside an enigma.” If so, it is undeniable that many of the components of that riddle have unfolded within the red-tinged, forbidding walls of the Kremlin, the complex of buildings in Moscow that has been at the center of the Russian state apparatus for eight centuries.