From Russia with the Library

While athletes and tourists from around the world are converging on Russia, many of us unfortunately won’t be able to make the trip to see the games.  While we may not be able to set foot in Sochi, we can still learn a lot about the people and place that’s hosting the Olympics.  From books, to movies, classic literature, and music, WPL has you covered.   (Please note, a link at the end of the blog will take you to the items discussed and more.)

Starting with the background, Russia: A 1,00 Year Chronicle of the Wild East is a great way to gain an understanding of the land.  The Martin Sixsmith work takes a look at the full story of Russia and how it became what it is today.  Covering politics, art, and more, the author “…explores the myths Russians have created from their history and explains the nation’s [personality.]”

If you are lucky enough to be travelling the country now or in the future, you may wish to check out some of our Travel Guides on the country.  Eyewitness Travel can tell you everything you need to know including where to eat, what to see, and where to sleep.   To further help, Lonely Planet has a useful phrase book which can tell you how to communicate, and even has a menu translator if you’re one of those people who likes to know what they’re eating.

If you or your kids just want to know more about the place and people, our children’s nonfiction section has got you covered.  Russia by Nelson Yomtov covers all the basics, and would be a valuable resource for anyone doing a project on the country.  The 947 Dewey number will have more, and we’re always happy to help if you need assistance finding anything.  Other titles found at number 947 include Russia: A Question and Answer Book (intended for younger audiences), and Russia by Martin Hintz is another among the many interesting books on this fascinating country.

If you want to keep it light and share in their cultural heritage, why not check out some Russian music or cook some food as you’d find it in Furmanov.  We’ve got Russian Romance, traditional orchestral and folk songs, and more.  Russian Masterpieces, Oblaka by Garik Krichevskiy and much more to listen to.  Mastering the Art of Soviet Cooking, The Illustrated Food and Cooking of Poland, Russia and Eastern Europe, and Cooking the Russian Way are just some of our Russian cookbooks.

Russian politics have long been controversial in the West, and Windsor Public Library has books which can help you understand the issues.  Russia: Forward to the Past by Marika Pruska-Carroll provides an intimate look at elements of Russian society (including the darker side).  It also takes a look at the generation gap, the search for a new identity that is seeing them reclaim old icons, and the new paths the country is taking.

There are many items which take a look at Vladimir Putin.  The movie Putin’s Kiss is available via Hoopla, and tells the tale of a young woman who joins an “anti-fascist movement”… “whose members are expected to pledge their unwavering support to Vladimir Putin.“  If you want to stick with non-fiction books, Jack Andrew’s Inside Putin’s Russia can tell you a lot about the direction the man is taking the country in.  Steve Levine’s Putin’s Labyrinth touches on many of the same fascinating topics.  If you don’t want to take anyone else’s word for it, First Person: An Astonishingly Frank Self Portrait by Vladimir Putin will tell you how he sees the world.

If contemporary politics aren’t your thing, there are plenty of books that look at the history of the Soviet Union, which shaped much of current Russia.  Anne Applebaum is a definite recommend, and her books Gulag: A History and Iron Curtain contain an in depth look at their respective topics.

There’s plenty to take in from this expansive country, so much so that I can’t possibly fit it into one blog.  Please click the link below which will show you how to find what I’ve discussed above, and more highlights from our Arctic neighbour.  There are also some great databased like Mango Languages which can help you learn a  new language (like Russian) and A-Z World Travel which has travel guides for a myriad of great destinations.

If there’s anything you think is worth sharing, as always please leave a comment below.  We love to hear what you think.


1. Books mentioned in blog: From Russia with the Library

2. More on Russia

3.  Mango Languages 

4. A-Z World Travel

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