Russian Literature Reading Challenge 2017

*** At the end of this post I've included a very long list of Russian texts from the 12th Century onwards. 

Since my 2016 Ancient Greek Challenge was a success (both personally and for others - but more on that later) I've been thinking about what challenge I want to host in 2017. Ever since I first picked up One Day in the Life of Ivan Denisovich many years ago I've been charmed by Russian Literature and I've been reading A LOT of Russian Literature lately so it was a pretty easy decision. I'm currently making my way through Ivan Turgenev's works so this challenge will collide with that project nicely.

I have many, many Russian Lit novels, short stories and plays I want to read in 2017. I want to continue with my Turgenev Project by reading a few of his novels and most of his short stories. I also want to read War and Peace (I've had an eleven month break from Tolstoy and I think that's long enough), the Brothers Karamazov and maybe another Dostoevsky, Demons by Gogol, Chekov's short story collection, some medieval Russian texts and Pushkin's Fairy Tales. I'm sure I'll think of more as it gets closer to 2017. As I said I'm really into Russian Literature at the moment (always).

I'll just be reading Classic Russian Literature (mostly the 19th Century) but I welcome anyone that participates to read 20th century or contemporary Russian Literature and Non Fiction. I'll be listing the books I want to read on my 2017 Challenges Page.

Like with many challenges there will be four levels (going to make it interesting and name them after my favourite Russian writers):

  • Level One (Tolstoy): 1-3 books 
  • Level Two (Chekov): 4-6 books 
  • Level Three (Dostoevsky): 7-11 books
  • Level Four (Turgenev): 12+ books

You can count short stories, poetry, novels, novellas and plays in your book count. I don't really mind.

If you are going to join me just leave a comment under this post. I made a couple of buttons which you can use to show you're participating if you so desire:

Russian Literature List:
**this is a constant work in progress but if you have suggestions send them my way
*** this is a rough list that obviously doesn't cover every Russian text but I've done my best to include as many as I can
**** works from the 12th-18th centuries are mostly travelogues/religious texts and hard to locate in English but I've included them mostly for my own interest
****** each category and sub category are in chronological order to the best of my ability

12th-17th C:

  • The Tale of Igor's Campaign - Anonymous (12th Century)
  • Praying of Daniel the Immured - Anonymous (13th Century)
  • Life of Alexander Nevsky - Anonymous (13th-14th Century/s)
  • Zandonschina - Unknown (14th Century)
  • Physiologist - Unknown (15th Century)
  • A Journey Beyond the Three Seas - Afanasiy Nikitin (x)
  • Synopsis - Unknown/Innokentiy Gizel (16th Century)

(English translations of some of these can be found HERE)

18th C: 

  • The Essence and Root of Worship - Alexander Susskind of Grodno
  • Poems - Ekaterina Kniazhnina
  • Fables - Ivan Crylov (x)
  • Selected Writings - Boris Kurakin
  • Selected Works - V.I Makov
  • The Comedy of Saint Catherine, Chrysanthus and Darius, Caesar Otto, Saint Evdokia - Tsarevna Natalya Alexeyevna
  • Eneida - N.P Osipov
  • Journey from St. Petersberg to Moscow - Alexander Radishchev
  • Fables, Makbet, Hamlet, Khorev, Dmitry Samozvanets - Alexander Sumarokov

19th C (the Golden Age):

Fyodor Dostoyevsky:
(you can read most of these here

  • Poor Folk
  • The Double 
  • The Landlady
  • Netochka Nezvanova 
  • Uncle's Dream
  • The Village of Stepanchikovo
  • Humiliated and Insulted 
  • The House of the Dead
  • Notes from Underground
  • Crime and Punishment 
  • The Gambler
  • The Idiot
  • The Eternal Husband
  • Demons
  • The Adolescent 
  • the Brothers Karamazov
Short Stories:
  • Mr Prokharchin, 
  • Novel in Nine Letters 
  • A Jealous Husband
  • Another Man's Wife 
  • Another Man's Wife and a Husband Under the Bed 
  • A Weak Heart, Polzunkov
  • An Honest Thief
  • A Christmas Tree and a Wedding 
  • White Nights
  • A Little Hero 
  • A Nasty Story 
  • The Crocodile 
  • Bobok
  • The Heavenly Christmas Tree 
  • A Gentle Creature
  • The Peasant Marey 
  • The Dream of a Ridiculous Man

Essay Collections:
  • Winter Notes on Summer Impressions
  • A Writer's Diary  

Leo Tolstoy: (you can read most of these here)

  • Childhood
  • Boyhood
  • Youth
  • Family Happiness
  • The Cossacks
  • War and Peace
  • Anna Karenina
  • The Death of Ivan Illych
  • The Kreutzer Sonata
  • Resurrection
  • The Forged Coupon
  • Hadji Murat
Short Stories: 
  • The Raid
  • The Snowstorm
  • Albert
  • Three Deaths
  • God Sees the Truth
  • But Waits
  • The Prisoner in the Caucasus
  • What Men Live By
  • Quench the Spark
  • Where Love Is, God Is
  • Ivan the Fool
  • Wisdom of Children
  • The Three Hermits
  • Promoting a Devil
  • How Much Land Does a Man Need?
  • The Grain
  • Repentance
  • Croesus and Fate
  • Kholstomer
  • A Lost Opportunity
  • Master and Man
  • Too Dear!
  • Father Sergius
  • Work, Death and Sickness
  • Three Questions
  • Alyosha the Pot
  • the Devil

  • The Power of Darkness
  • The Light Shines in the Darkness
  • The Fruits of Enlightenment
  • The Living Corpse

Ivan Turgenev (you can read most of these here):

  • A Sportsman's Sketches
  • Rudin
  • Home of the Gentry 
  • On the Eve
  • Fathers and Sons 
  • Smoke
  • Spring Torrents
  • Virgin Soil

Short Stories: (you can read them all HERE)
  • The Diary of a Superfluous Man
  • Yakov Pasynkov
  • Faust
  • Asya
  • First Love
  • Mumu
  • King Lear of the Steppes
  • The Song of Triumphant Love
  • The Mysterious Tales 
(a complete list can be found HERE)

  • A Rash Thing to Do
  • It Tears Where It is Thin
  • Breakfast at the Chief's
  • A Conversation on the Highway
  • Lack of Money
  • A Provincial Lady
  • Fortune's Fool
  • A Month in the Country
  • An Evening in Sorrento

Alexander Pushkin: 

  • Eugene Onegin (only verse novel)

Narrative Poems: 
  • Ruslan and Ludmila
  • The Gabrieliad
  • The Fountain of Bakhchisaray
  • The Gypsies
  • Poltava
  • The Bronze Horseman

Fairy Tales: 
  • The Tale of the Priest and of His Workman Balda
  • The Tale of Tsar Saltan
  • The Tale of the Dead Princess and the Seven Knights
  • The Tale of the Fisherman and the Fish
  • The Tale of the Golden Cockerel
  • The Tales of Late Ivan Petrovich Belkin
  • Dubrovsky
  • The Queen of Spades
  • The Captain's Daughter
  • Boris Godunov
  • A Feast in Time of Plague
  • Mozart and Salieri
  • The Stone Guest  

Mikhail Lermontov:

  • Princess Ligovskaya
  • A Hero of Our Time


  • Menschen und Leidenschaften
  • A Strange Man
  • Masquerade
Collected Poetry  

Nikolai Gogol:


  • Dead Souls
  • Taras Bulba 
  • The Government Inspector
  • Marriage
  • The Gamblers
  • The Order of Vladimir
  • Third Class

Short Stories:
  • The Fair at Sorochyntsi
  • St. John's Eve
  • May Night, or the Drowned Maiden
  • Christmas Eve
  • A Terrible Vengeance
  • A Bewitched Place
  • The Old World Landowners
  • Viy
  • The Portrait
  • Nevsky Prospekt
  • Diary of a Madman
  • The Nose
  • The Carriage
  • The Overcoat

Ivan Goncharov: 

  • A Common Story
  • Oblomov
  • The Precipice 

Anton Chekov: 


  • Platonov
  • On the Harmful Effects of Tobacco
  • Swansong
  • Ivanov
  • The Bear
  • A Tragedian in Spite of Himself
  • The Wedding
  • The Wood Demon
  • A Marriage Proposal
  • The Festivities
  • The Seagull
  • Uncle Vanya
  • Three Sisters
  • the Cherry Orchard


  • The Steppe
  • The Duel
  • The Story of an Unknown Man
  • Three Years
  • My Life

Short Stories: 

  • The Bet
  • Ward No. 6
  • The Black Monk
  • Rothschild's Violin
  • The Darling
  • The Lady With the Dog

20th C: (alphabetical order): **still working on this list (I haven't read loads from the 20th Century) 

  • The Master and Margarita - Mikhail Bulgakov
  • Heart of a Dog - Mikhail Bulgakov
  • Moscow to the End of the Line - Venedikt Erofeev
  • Mother - Maxim Gorky
  • Life and Fate - Vasily Grossman
  • Lolita - Vladimir Nabokov
  • Invitation to a Beheading - Vladimir Nabokov
  • Pale Fire - Vladimir Nabokov
  • The Gift - Vladimir Nabokov
  • Doctor Zhivago - Boris Pasternak
  • And Quiet Flows the Don - Mikhail Sholokhov
  • One Day in the Life of Ivan Denisovich - Aleksandr Solzhenitsyn
  • Cancer Ward - Aleksandr Solzhenitsyn
  • August 1914 - Aleksandr Solzhenitsyn
  • The Gulag Archipelago - Aleksandr Solzhenitsyn
  • Roadside Picnic - Arkady Strugatsky
  • We - Yevgeny Zamyatin


  1. Count me in! I'm looking forward to putting something together. And that's a very helpful list you've prepared - thank you!

    1. Glad to have you! I loved your challenge back in 2014 - I read some of my favourite Russian novels/novellas during that year.

  2. I'm in, now I just need a plan. A Plan is a good thing! ;-)

    1. A plan is a good thing no matter how many times in a row we may fail haha. Glad you're participating :)

    2. Here's the link to my sign-up:

  3. My Classics Club list includes Tolstoy, Dostoevsky, and Solzhenitsyn -- so if I read all three in one year I may qualify for this!

  4. Well, I'm going to think about this. I've not committed to anything but my WEM histories, which is long term, but I know I'll read in addition to those titles. Since I love Russian lit, I'll see what I have on my shelf and consider adding it in 2017. I'll be back.

    1. I hope you'll join in! I've created a very long list (updated from the one I included in this post) thats on the right side bar of my blog with shorter texts if you don't want to commit to anything major :)!

    2. I've decided I'm going to do it. I think I'll dedicate 2017 to a Russian Lit focus. Thanks!

  5. Oo oo, me me me!! I'll be back with my sign-up post.

    1. Here we go:

  6. Count me in.

  7. This is a wonderful challenge. I will add it to the challenge directory and spread the word.

  8. Tempting ...very tempting...

  9. Great challenge - and thanks for listing so many possible books/stories/plays to read. I doubt I'll have the time to go full-bore, but maybe I can do a mini 24-short Russian stories challenge for one of the Readathons in 2017.

  10. I'm in!

    Thanks for hosting this! :)

  11. I think I'm in! Just have to negotiate the titles but I'm a sucker for Russian Lit so really do want to do this.

  12. Have posted a couple of books i'd like to read and hope to add others:

    1. I'll head over and check it out now. Thanks for joining :)

  13. I am very interested and have posted my intent on my blog, although I've not yet selected my books. What about history and non-fiction and biographies? Are they permitted? Thank you!
    I am at:

  14. I am in for this challenge. I am wanting to read more Russian literature. I am going to aim for 3 books and I posted about it on my blog here:

    1. I'll check it out now. Thanks for joining!

  15. I'm in! My goal, anyway, is the level 1.

  16. I'm joining in. I'm committing to level one. I hope for three books at least.

  17. I will be joining the challenge and I will post my reviews on Goodreads

    1. Great! I'll be looking forward to your reviews :)

  18. I will be joining and will post reviews on Goodreads. Committing to level 1.

  19. Sorry I missed the last challenge, but will definitely be joining this one! Off to put my list together; thanks for the great suggestions ... aiming for level 2!! will post reviews on Goodreads.

    1. You're welcome! And thanks for joining!

  20. Replies
    1. You totally should (im not bias or anything) !!!

    2. Oh I will be. War and Peace has been sitting on my bookshelf for ages. Your challenge will get me reading it haha.

      Do you have an instagram profile I can follow and a hashtag for your challenge?

    3. I have that one on the cards for this year too!

      I don't but I was going to make one and the hashtag is #RLRC2017. I should have announced that in the post.

    4. Thanks :) I'm looking forward to starting this. Just finishing off my current read first.

    5. Starting off with some "Penguin Little Black Classics" before tackling the bigger books haha. Read "The Queen of Spades" and "A Nervous Breakdown" so far :)

  21. I've read one Russian Novel every summer for the last three and a half years...I gave up on War and Peace last summer. I'm up for Dr. Zhivago this year.

  22. With this year being the 100th anniversary of the Russian Revolution, I had planned to read more Russian Lit... this challenge is perfect for me..I'm in!!

  23. Hello Keely,
    Thank you for the challenge and for a great list of books.
    I will join your project gladly. Check my list, if interested
    I would like to add to your list the works of Ostrovsky, Alexander - a great playwright and maybe Grin, Aleksandr - not a common for Russian literature writer with light and beautiful novels.

  24. Hi Keely, just finished my first book:

  25. I want in!! I am actually a Russian Minor at my University, so I know I will have to read some of these.

  26. I'm in! I'll read Crime and Punishment, The Brothers Karamazov, and Anna Karenina. Excited to get going on these.

  27. I love this challenge! Almost completed level three.

  28. привет, надеюсь, что вы в порядке, я здесь, чтобы пригласить вас посетить мой блог. у него есть интересный контент, связанный с инженерией. PLS сохранить этот комментарий в качестве гостевой пост в вашем блоге. превью моя работа, поэтому я могу сделать больше работы, которые вдохновляют меня. Благодарю. продолжать посещать


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