A big thank you to Steven Lubman for asking (in a recent comment) about Russian-language sources of book reviews. His question gave me a compelling reason to sort through a fat virtual folder of links to old book reviews – I’d been meaning to do this for months.
I’ve listed below a couple dozen sources of reviews. First, a few very big caveats:
- The list comes primarily from existing links that I kept for specific and often irrational reasons, not (heaven forbid!) from comprehensive new searches to find sites with reviews.
- My primary criterion for including a site: book descriptions and/or reviews that offer reading ideas. I made no attempt to find critical excellence or any kind of balance. Inclusion does not imply endorsement.
- I only included URLs leading to current, consistent sources of reviews. Many prominent critics and publications publish lots of online reviews but aren’t easily reduced to one or two URLs.
- I’ve included a combination of paid/professional and nonpaid critics. I like reading a variety of criticism, from book buyers’ quick comments to professional critics’ detailed analysis and reviews.
- My categorization is lousy. I sorted, by category, using the first letter of each entry’s paragraph.
- I know there are many, many more review sites that are worth visiting: please add more links in comments.
Here you go:
Arts or book sites and blogs with reviews and/or critical discussion of Russian fiction:
- Booknik.ru focuses on Jewish texts and themes.
- В топку.ру reports on occasional book discussions held in a real café: participants decide whether the authors’ books should go into the fire or on the shelf.
- I rarely visit these days but Книжное обозрение has reviews and book news; some items are pay-only.
- I read rank-and-file readers’ comments on Ozon.ru.
- OpenSpace.ru was on (financial) hiatus for most of the summer but a new post on the literature section, dated August 17, gives me hope that it will return.
- Textexpert.ru calls itself открытый литературный блог (open literary blog). Recent reviews have included books by Aleksei Ivanov and Elena Chizhova.
- Журнальный зал contains analysis and reviews that I often find by searching book names, either on Google or ЖЗ itself. Big bonus: I often preview books here in journal form before buying.
- Прочтение is a great source of reviews and excerpts.
- Чтение 21, from the Russian Federal Agency on Press and Mass Communications, has reviews.
- Что читать? is a Live Journal blog with threads about all kinds of books.
Individual critics and bloggers:
- Andrei Nemzer on Nemzereski. Nemzer’s year-end summaries are especially useful. (Here’s 2009.)
- Lev Danilkin on Afisha.
- Liza Novikova’s reviews appear on Afisha (sample). Search her name for more.
- Solomon Geshefter’s blog
- Блог любителя reviews books and films. (My link is the tag for “прочитано.”)
- Заметил просто has been reading lots of nominees for Russian literary awards.
Mass media sites with reviews and/or literary news:
- Delfi is a Latvian site with brief reviews of Russian and translated books.
- Russian Rolling Stone’s book section occasionally has brief reviews of Russian fiction, and there are “Что читает?” entries.
- Russian Time Out sometimes reviews fiction.
- Время’s Круг чтения – not all about Russian fiction.
Some writers’, publishers’, and agents’ blogs and Web sites are useful sources of reviews and literary news. A few examples:
- Elkost.com is a huge source of reviews, in many languages, about Elkost writers’ books.
- Literary agency Goumen&Smirnova links to reviews on their Russian-language blog and English-language Web site.
- Two writer examples: Oleg Pavlov’s site has excerpts from reviews, as here for Асистолия; there aren’t links but it’s easy to Google phrases. Vladimir Sorokin’s site has a page with criticism; the site reprints reviews in a plain, readable format.
- Publisher Ad Marginem reposts lots of reviews of its books; Ad Marginem’s simple site design also makes reading easy on the eyes.
Up next: Oleg Pavlov’s Асистолия (Asystole).