Nordic noir, self-help, pop science – whatever the genre, Russian readers can’t get enough of them, even (or especially) when they’ve been translated.
In the last decade, the classics of always, 1984 by George Orwell and Fahrenheit 451 Y Summer wine by Ray Bradbury, have led book sales in Russia. Russian readers also adore JK Rowling and remain hooked on the erotic trilogy 50 shades of grayby EL James. But there are other modern authors whose latest translated offers are always hoarded.
1. Stephen King
Pascal Potier / Global Look Press; AST publications
In 2020, The Instituteby King was a bestseller (nearly 70,000 copies sold); in 2019, it was The foreigner… the list goes on. Russians are fond of the world’s most famous horror writer since the 1990s. Book critics in Russia love to repeat the inspiring story of how one of today’s top-grossing authors had his first novel rejected 30 times. When King tweeted praising the Russian series To The Lake, it made headlines.
2. Jo Nesbø
Elena Torre (CC BY-SA 2.0); Alphabet publications
Year after year, detective novels noir from Nesbø climb the sales charts in Russia. By the end of 2020, The kingdomAlthough it was not a leader, it was one of the 10 best-selling books. In 2017, the ranking featured but la, the latest installment in the Harry Hole series, and in 2019 its long-awaited sequel, Knife, sold twice as many copies (almost 90,000 on all media, including the audio version).
3. Gregory David Roberts
EmpathyArts (CC BY-SA 4.0); Azbuka publications
Shantaram, a gripping novel about the adventures of an Australian jailbreaker in India, was published in Russian in 2010, but remains very popular with readers today. In addition, it is among the three most listened to audiobooks in recent years. The long-awaited continuation, The shadow of the mountain, it is not far behind. In 2016, when the book first came out in Russia, the print version topped the rankings with 187,000 copies sold.
4. Jen Sincero
Self-help and self-improvement books are also gaining popularity. The Serie You Are a Badass, by American writer and successful coach Jen Sincero, on the financial mindset readjustment, caused a sensation. In Russian, the second title in the trilogy led the non-fiction market in 2019. All three parts continue to sell well, both in print and electronic, and the audio versions are especially popular.
5. Yuval Noah Harari
Jonathan Nicholson/ Global Look Press; Sindbad publications
The Israeli historian’s cult bestseller Sapiens: From Animals to Gods It was published in Russian only in 2016, but has had several more runs since then. For the past three years, it has been the most listened to audiobook in Russia. In 2018 the second part was published: Homo Deus: A Brief History of Tomorrow. Since the dystopia genus has its roots in Russia, Russian readers are always eager to see what the future holds for our fragile species. In 2019 the latest book by this highly successful author was published, 21 lessons for the 21st century.
6. Elizabeth Gilbert
Erik Charlton (CC BY 2.0); Ripol Classics publications
The world bestseller eat, pray, love It was published in Russia in 2008, two years after the original, and it immediately wowed Russian readers (mainly women). Big Magic: A Creative Life Beyond Fear, Engaged Y The signature of all things are also available in Russian, and the novel City of women, published in 2019, about the New York of the 40s, caused a furor. The Russian audio version of the book was ranked in the Top 3 most listened to in 2019 on Storytel, among other things because of the virtuous interpretation and vocal timbre of the popular journalist Aliona Dolétskaia.
7. Joe Dispenza
Artur Widak/NurPhoto/Getty Images; Bombora publications
Lately, Russians have begun to reflect more and more on their inner world (especially during the period of confinement). The book The power of your subconscious mind, by the American neuroscientist Joe Dispenza, talks about how our thoughts and our subconscious affect our lives and the importance of visualizing what we want to achieve. The e-book version has been a best seller for the past decade. According to the Russian distributor LitRes, the title has sold more than 75,000 copies. The audio version is also very popular, as is a separate book on the meditation method by Joe Dispenza.
8. Fredrik Backman
Albin Olsson (CC BY-SA 4.0); Sindbad publications
The Swedish writer’s novel A man named Ove, about a grumpy but kind-hearted old man, was published in Russia in 2016 and was immediately loved by Russian readers. In 2020, the audio version was one of the most popular in Russia. The author’s next book, My grandmother asked me to tell you I’m sorry, was a Top 20 bestseller in 2018 (over 40,000 copies sold). The novel’s protagonist, an eccentric granny, reminded Russian readers of Astrid Lindgren, Backman’s favorite children’s author, also loved by all Russian children.
9. Mark Manson
Maria Midoes (CC BY 4.0); Alpina Publisher
The book by American blogger and personal development consultant Mark Manson, The subtle art of giving a shit (almost everything) It is among the 10 best-selling books of the decade, according to Russian online retailer Ozon. The book (which critics describe as “Buddhism 101 with a lot of curse words”) is also in the top 5 most listened to audiobooks of 2020. While Russian cultural tradition dictates that suffering is necessary and purifying, the younger generation prefers the philosophy of whateverism, also know as not-giving-a-f*ckism (don’t give a shit about anything). In 2019, the no less eloquently titled sequel, Everything is screwed up: A book about hope, also flew off the shelves, both physical and digital. Interestingly, the blogger’s first book, Models: Attract Women Through Honesty, was published in Russia the last one, but immediately entered the Top 10 of the best sellers of 2020.
10. Jojo Moyes
Amrei-Marie (CC BY-SA 4.0); Inostranka publications
British writer Jojo Moyes’s “female novels” have a loyal audience in Russia. Your book The horse dancer was one of the most read of 2015. The real success (and triple sales) came in 2016 with the novel Me before you, also known for the film adaptation starring Emilia Clarke. The sequel, After You, was another great success in Russia, just like the last part of the trilogy, Still i. One of the most recent works of the author translated for the Russian market, Peacock EmporiumAlthough it was not as successful, it continued to sell well.
READ MORE: 5 Russian novels about growing up and maturing
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