Russian Books and Bookshops – Learning Russian with Audiobooks

Russian Books and Bookshops – Learning Russian with Audiobooks
13 May 2016

Bookshops are true sanctuaries, for Russians are a reading nation! They are proud of both their literary heritage and of how much they read and know about books, written by both national and foreign authors. Engaging a conversation on books may sometimes be a safe option when, as a foreigner, you are introduced to Russians. Also, in my experience, Russians tend to think very positively of foreigners who show some knowledge of and interest in Russian literature.

For us, students learning Russian, literature books are therefore of great value for at least three reasons:

  1. They test our command of the language, expand our vocabulary, and give us useful examples as to how the author, a native speaker, structures his or her expression in the language.
  2. Books help us to understand Russian culture and the social community which is behind it.
  3. As already mentioned, to have some background in Russian literature may make it easier for us as foreigners to interact with locals.

I hope that the reasons above have convinced you that at some point during your stay in Russia you should go to a bookshop. Often, precisely because of the role books play in Russian society, bookshops are housed in magnificent buildings in the city centre, as the Book Houses in Moscow (on Arbat) and in St Petersburg (on Nevskii Prospekt). Of course, there are other smaller bookshops which better preserve the atmosphere of the old merchants and which are definitely worth exploring. However, for the purposes of today’s post, I advise you to pick a big bookshop where you would be able to find both paper books and their audio version.

Audiobooks in Russia

Why do I strongly advise you to buy a number of audiobooks, while you are in Russia? First, listening and simultaneously reading the same text will develop greatly your listening and comprehension skills and will expand your vocabulary. Indeed, when texts are read by native speakers and thus there is no risk of mispronunciation, we as learners are in a better position to make associations among words and to guess the meaning of a previously unknown concept.

Second, audiobooks teach us the melody and the structure of the language.

Third, when listening to an audiobook you can be sure that the source of what you listen to is a trustworthy one and its quality is guaranteed. Nowadays, Russian language audio materials are easily accessible on the internet but often their accuracy and quality is not optimal.

Finally, you can listen to an audiobook on your car or ipod on the way to university or work or even while doing some house chores.

I wish you a great reading and listening experience!


Garbis, currently studying Russian at Liden & Denz Moscow 

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