Hello, my name is Miles Clark and I’m the CEO/Founder of SnowBrains.
I read a ton and I admittedly skew towards the classics although I enjoy anything well written in any genre.
During this Coronavirus crisis, I’ll be sharing some of my favorite reads from my reading experience of the past 25-years or so.
Today, I’ll be sharing my 5 favorite Russian novels.
The main reason I’m doing this is that my very favorite book in the world is “The Master & Margarita” by Mikail Bulgakov and the best-written book I’ve ever read is “Lolita” by Nabokov.
“The Master & Margarita” is intense, spell-binding, tells 2 stories at once, and you’ll never know what is going to happen next.
If you have a book you think should be on this list, please let me know in the comments.
SnowBrains Top 5 Russian Novels
“The Master & Margarita” by Mikail Bulgakov
- My favorite book of all-time
- You’ll never see what’s coming next
- 2 stories at once
- A masterpiece of magical realism
- A main character is a giant, talking cat
- Premise: The devil comes to Moscow and causes all kinds of hell – and maybe the devil isn’t such a bad guy afterall…
“Lolita” by Vladimir Nabokov
- The most eloquently written book I’ve ever read
- The subject matter is very challenging
- Reading this book will make you a better writer or at least show you how bad a writer you currently are
“One Day in the Life of Ivan Denisovich” by Alexander Solzhenitsyn
- Eye-opening book that reveals the inner workings of a Soviet work camp in Siberia
- One of my favorite lines in any book ever when they call the moon “the wolf’s sun”:
“What are you scared of you idiots? Never seen the Siberian frost before? Come outside and warm yourselves by the wolf’s sun. Give us a light, uncle.” He lit his cigarette at the door and moved onto the porch. “Wolf’s sun,” that’s what they’d called the moon in Shukhov’s village. – One Day in the Life of Ivan Denisovich, page 59
“War & Peace” by Leo Tolstoy
- Often called the “greatest novel of all-time”
- I tried to read this book right after college and only made it 16-pages…
- I read it in its entirety this year and was impressed with the book’s flow, nimble back and forth between aristocratic life and Napoleon’s invasion of Russia, and powerful character development
- The book is, for the most part, historically accurate, so you also get to learn about how Napoleon took Moscow, how he lost this war to Russians, and how he marched into Russian with 685,000 soldiers and limped back into France with only 22,000 soldiers
- It’s also fun to hear Tolstoy repetitively bash Napoleon and discredit his “genius”
“Crime & Punishment” by Fyodor Dostoevsky
- To be honest, I didn’t love this book, but it is one of the most classic books on Earth and in reading it, you’ll go through Rodya’s mental torment as he tortures himself to no end via a myriad of bizarre circumstances – and it’s the best of the rest of the Russian novels I’ve read
- And Fyodor Dostoevsky’s personal history is absolutely INSANE:
- “On December 22, 1849, Dostoevsky was led before the firing squad but received a last-minute reprieve and was sent to a Siberian labor camp, where he worked for four years. He was released in 1854 and worked as a soldier on the Mongolian frontier.” – History.com
- “Arrested in 1849 for belonging to a literary group that discussed banned books critical of Tsarist Russia, he was sentenced to death but the sentence was commuted at the last moment. He spent four years in a Siberian prison camp, followed by six years of compulsory military service in exile.” – Wikipedia