Sunday, August 22, 2010

Lots of Links: Russian-Language Book Review Sites

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:

Individual critics and bloggers:

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:

  • 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).


  1. Thank you for the link to!

    We will restart our meetings in september, but the source of information will be and Vtopku will be left for negative reviews and news only.

  2. You're welcome, beth4ever! It's good to hear about your plans for the fall: the only reason I didn't include on the list was that there hadn't been any new posts. Thanks!

  3. Lisa - excellent подборка of links, thank you!

  4. You're welcome, Steven! I hope the links are helpful.

  5. May I invite you to my Prochital: Among recently reviewed authors are Vassily Grossman, Konstantin Paustovsky, Yan Larri.

  6. Thank you for adding your link, Dmitri. I've never read Paustovskii (other than maybe a short story or two) so will be sure to take a closer look at your entry about his books!

  7. Can anyone recommend a source that lists or reviews current Russian bestsellers, appealing to a mass audience? I know that individual book sellers do this, but an independent source would be appreciated. Thanks in advance!

  8. Shelley F-V, this site lists bestsellers using data compiled by eight booksellers, online and brick-and-mortar.

    The link to the site is on my blog sidebar, under "Russian-related sites," as "Рейтинги продаж".

  9. I wanted to thank you for this list! I'm a librarian who selects Russian language material for our system, and I've been having a hard time finding review sources of Russian fiction (not translations of English language fiction). I don't read Russian, and I love your blog because it's one of the only places I can find translated lists of award winners. Can I ask if you know of any additional review sources in English? Thanks again!

  10. Thank you for your kind comment, Annie. I love my library so am especially happy to hear the blog is helpful for you!

    Unfortunately, I don't know of many sites with English-language reviews of Russian-language fiction. I wish there were more! You probably already know Languagehat, who sometimes writes about Russian books. Another blog that might be helpful is Slawkenbergius's Tales, which sometimes has reviews of Russian fiction. If I think of anything else, I'll add it.

    It looks like you have quite a reading challenge going at your library!

  11. Thanks again, Lisa. I wasn't familiar with either of those blogs, so I'll certainly add them to my list. These look like wonderful resources!

  12. I'm glad those are helpful, Annie! I'm going to try to remember to add ISBNs to future posts about Russian-language books. I think I'm usually pretty consistent about using Library of Congress transliteration but ISBNs might make it even easier for people to locate books.

  13. Oh man, the cafe one! Which ones go in the fire! I so seriously would love to be able to read that website!!! I tried, really. Not. A. Clue. What a great concept though.

    I wish I could do something with this list besides look at the pictures. Have a great weekend!

  14. Thanks for the note, Amy! Yes, the fire site can be fun to read, particularly about books I like. Just for fun, I checked to see what Google Translate would do with the text... oh my!

  15. I can imagine. We have fun with Google translate dh is learning mandarin. LOL

    This week's New Yorker has an amazing article on Siberia that ties in well with Everything Flows. I think I'll include it.

    Hope your weekend was well!