6 Best Sources for Russian E-books to Light Your Literary Fire
Tolstoy. Dostoyevsky. Chekhov. Pushkin.
These are famous Russian authors and poets that have been studied in Russian classrooms, read in Russian homes and treasured by Russians for generations.
And yes, they may sound like challenging reads.
Luckily, getting your hands on them is the easy part, thanks to the internet’s wealth of Russian e-books.
- 6 Proven Russian E-book Resources to Get You Reading
- Tips for Improving Your Russian with E-books
- And One More Thing...
6 Proven Russian E-book Resources to Get You Reading
The sources below are hand-picked to help you find Russian e-books that are from trustworthy sources. The reading selections below provide a wide array of genres and topics to please even the pickiest reader!
Anyone who owns an e-reader knows how easy it is to download e-books from Amazon. This source offers a multitude of free and paid Russian options for every taste and need!
Choose action & adventure books, comic books, health & family, sports, travel, etc. Entertain yourself while honing your Russian skills, learning about something new or adding an interesting travel destination to your bucket list!
Each selection has an image of the front of the book, the author and a summary (in Russian). The bonus is that some of the e-books have customer reviews that can help you pick the best option for you, or direct you to other e-books of the same genre.
We recommend the following titles:
- “Доктор Живаго” (“Doctor Zhivago”) — The famous novel by Boris Pasternak is set between the October Revolution and World War I. Because of the novel’s critical outlook of the political landscape at the time, it was originally banned in the USSR. Pasternak won the Nobel Prize in Literature after the manuscript was smuggled out of the country.
- “Мастер и Маргарита” (“Master and Margarita”) — Another important novel of 20th-century Russian literature, this novel is by Mikhail Bulgakov. A censored version was published in 1967. It’s critical of the Soviet Union and has supernatural themes, with one of the main characters being the devil.
Russia has a rich culture, and Russians are extremely proud of their authors and poets. Most Russians are very well-versed in the works of their own countrymen and women, and if you’re interested in Russian culture then you should be, too.
Utilize these works to understand the Russian culture, language and history better with these classic e-books. The titles are organized by authors, in alphabetical order by last names. Poets are on the left and authors on the right.
Clicking on the author’s name allows you to choose multiple works created by that person, as well as providing the author’s image, year of their birth/death and a short biography.
Two excellent choices are:
- “Невский проспект” (“Nevsky Prospect”) — See what Nikolai Gogol, a famed Russian novelist and dramatist, had to say about Nevsky Prospect, the most famous street in Russia’s former capital, St. Petersburg.
- “Именины” (“Name Day”) — A story about Name Day festivities by Anton Chekhov, one of the most well-known Russian playwrights and writer of short stories.
One of the most comprehensive literary collections on our list, this website organizes its e-books by genres, including:
- Художественная (general fiction), including classics, contemporary and international literature and poetry
- Фантастика (science fiction and fantasy)
- Специальная (specialized), including works of psychiatry, philosophy, history, economy and more
- Компьютеры (computers)
- Разное (various), including titles that include myths, laws, dictionaries and humor
Select the genre, then click on the author to choose one of their works. Two worthy e-books to check out include:
- “Приключения Незнайки и его друзей” (“The Adventures of Neznayka and His Friends”) — Russian children’s author Nikolay Nosov writes this children’s classic about tiny people who mature and learn about the world. Most Russians have read his stories as children.
- “Словарь культуры XX века” (“Dictionary of Culture of the 20th Century”) — An interesting and challenging read, this is a dictionary that explains popular terms of the 20th century.
4. Project Gutenberg
This resource has over 54,000 titles in multiple languages, including Russian. It publishes e-books for downloading and reading online, plus world-famous literature and other works whose copyrights have expired.
The link above will take you to their selection of Russian books. But if you find yourself on the main page, scroll down and click on “Search and Browse.” You’ll then be directed to a plethora of browsing options, where you can choose “Russian.”
Once you see the list of books, make sure you click on the Russian titles instead of the authors’ names in English. Check out titles such as:
- “Детство” (“Childhood”) — The very first published novel by famed Russian author, Leo Tolstoy, from 1852. The first book of the trilogy, it explores the life of a young Russian boy, Nikolenka.
- “Красавицa” (“Beautiful Lady”) — The most famous Russian poet to date, Alexander Pushkin (who is not as well-known outside of Russia!) shares beautiful words you can learn to woo that special lady in your life.
5. Rakuten Kobo
This website provides access to several Russian e-books on serious topics, such as essays, literary criticisms and more for advanced Russian students.
You can choose to browse only free options or specify the minimum or maximum price of e-books available for purchase. You can also sort the books by highest rated, date added and a few other criteria.
Check out these titles on the website:
- “Московский театр” (“Moscow Theater”) — This is by author Vissarion Belinsky, a literary critic, and it focuses on the functions and purpose of the literary word. He’s considered to be a radical thinker (like many of the people on this list!) and was against a powerful church and state.
- “Проза Александра Солженицына: Опыт прочтения” (“The Prose of Alexander Solzhenitsyn: The Reading Experience”) — This book commemorates the works of Alexander Solzhenitsyn, published on the 100-year anniversary of his birth. Solzhenitsyn was a writer who was an outspoken political dissident of the Soviet Union. One of his most well-known works is “The Gulag Archipelago” and he won the Nobel Prize in Literature.
This is a great online resource that allows you to either download or read e-books online. Some of the titles are completely free, while others cost. You can choose to browse through free or paid books by choosing between the options “free e-books” or “e-books for sale.”
Since BookRix has e-books in many languages, choose Russian under the language section of the menu. You can also narrow down your search by categories, such as drama, fantasy, fiction, philosophy, romance, short story, thriller, etc.
One of our favorite options includes:
- “Запах лаванды” (“Smell of Lavender”) — This book describes the reflections of a Russian woman who’s been cheated on. We follow her thoughts as she ponders her childhood, parents and current situation. It’s a great way to learn Russian words about romance, betrayal and jealousy.
Tips for Improving Your Russian with E-books
We know you’re invested in improving your Russian. Use the following tips to be more successful during the process:
- Pick books for your level so you don’t waste your time with material you don’t understand.
- Take the time to mark unfamiliar words or phrases and look them up.
- Before you become a total bookworm, try to get some audio/visual material in there as well. Try to find Russian audiobooks of the same title so you can also hear how the Russian is pronounced. You could find a YouTube channel that you like, or use a virtual immersion program like FluentU.
FluentU takes authentic videos—like music videos, movie trailers, news and inspiring talks—and turns them into personalized language learning lessons.
Learning Russian has never been more fun, informative and available!
With the help of e-books, you can improve your Russian reading, writing and speaking skills all at the same time!
And One More Thing...
If you love learning Russian and want to immerse yourself with authentic materials from Russia, then I should also tell you more about FluentU.
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FluentU has a very broad range of contemporary videos. Just a quick look will give you an idea of the variety of Russian-language content available on FluentU:
FluentU makes these native Russian videos approachable through interactive transcripts. Tap on any word to look it up instantly.
Access a complete interactive transcript of every video under the Dialogue tab. Easily review words and phrases with audio under Vocab.
All definitions have multiple examples, and they're written for Russian learners like you. Tap to add words you'd like to review to a vocab list.
And FluentU has a learn mode which turns every video into a language learning lesson. You can always swipe left or right to see more examples.
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