100 books like East of the Sun

By Benson Bobrick,

Here are 100 books that East of the Sun fans have personally recommended if you like East of the Sun. Shepherd is a community of 10,000+ authors and super readers sharing their favorite books with the world.

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Book cover of To the Great Ocean: The Taming Of Siberia And The Building Of The Trans-Siberian Railway

Sharon Hudgins Author Of T-Bone Whacks and Caviar Snacks: Cooking with Two Texans in Siberia and the Russian Far East

From my list on Siberia for those with insatiable wanderlust.

Why am I passionate about this?

Sharon Hudgins is the award-winning author of five books on history, travel, and food; a journalist with more than 1,000 articles published worldwide; and a former professor with the University of Maryland's Global Campus. She has spent two years in Russia, teaching at universities in Siberia and the Russian Far East, and lecturing on tours for National Geographic, Smithsonian, Viking, and other expedition companies. Endowed with an insatiable wanderlust, she has lived in 10 countries on 3 continents, traveled through 55 countries across the globe, and logged more than 45,000 miles on the Trans-Siberian Railroad.

Sharon's book list on Siberia for those with insatiable wanderlust

Sharon Hudgins Why did Sharon love this book?

A highly readable and well-illustrated history of the Trans-Siberian Railroad, from the earliest Russian railways to the construction of the Trans-Siberian route to the modern railway of the mid-20th century. Built between 1891 and 1916, it was the longest passenger line in the world and one of the greatest engineering feats of its time. But few people riding on Trans-Siberian trains today are aware of the immense obstacles the builders had to overcome, from tunneling through snow-covered mountains and draining dangerous swamps, to coping with deadly diseases and attacks by bandits and Siberian tigers.

In 1916, when the last railroad bridge was constructed over the Amur River in Russia's Far East, the trip by train from Moscow to Vladivostok took 14 to 16 days. Today it takes only 7 days to cover the 5,771 miles between Russia's capital and the Pacific Ocean—but it's still the railway journey of a lifetime.…

By Harmon Tupper,

Why should I read it?

1 author picked To the Great Ocean as one of their favorite books, and they share why you should read it.


Book cover of The Princess of Siberia: The Story of Maria Volkonsky and the Decembrist Exiles

Sharon Hudgins Author Of T-Bone Whacks and Caviar Snacks: Cooking with Two Texans in Siberia and the Russian Far East

From my list on Siberia for those with insatiable wanderlust.

Why am I passionate about this?

Sharon Hudgins is the award-winning author of five books on history, travel, and food; a journalist with more than 1,000 articles published worldwide; and a former professor with the University of Maryland's Global Campus. She has spent two years in Russia, teaching at universities in Siberia and the Russian Far East, and lecturing on tours for National Geographic, Smithsonian, Viking, and other expedition companies. Endowed with an insatiable wanderlust, she has lived in 10 countries on 3 continents, traveled through 55 countries across the globe, and logged more than 45,000 miles on the Trans-Siberian Railroad.

Sharon's book list on Siberia for those with insatiable wanderlust

Sharon Hudgins Why did Sharon love this book?

A fascinating account of the remarkable lives—and wives—of several Russian aristocrats who were sentenced to prison, hard labor, and exile in Siberia after participating in a failed attempt to overthrow Tsar Nicholas I in December of 1825. Eleven wives (two of them princesses) of those unfortunate noblemen voluntarily followed their husbands to Siberia, even though the women were forced to give up their own lands, titles, and children back in Moscow and St. Petersburg. 

The Princess of Siberia focuses on one family in particular, the Volkonskys, who settled in Irkutsk, the capital of eastern Siberia, after Prince Sergei Volkonsky's years of hard labor in the silver mines in Russia's Far East. His wife, Maria—a princess from a distinguished family in European Russia—stayed with him throughout his imprisonment and exile in Siberia. She later became known in Irkutsk as "The Princess of Siberia" because of her many charitable works and cultural…

By Christine Sutherland,

Why should I read it?

1 author picked The Princess of Siberia as one of their favorite books, and they share why you should read it.

What is this book about?

Beautiful, cultivated, the daughter of a hero of the Napoleonic wars, Maria Volkonsky had been married only one year when in 1825 the tsar sentenced her husband to life imprisonment in Siberia. Despite her family's and the tsar's opposition, Maria was determined to join her husband in exile. She was more than halfway there when the tsar decreed that she could never return from Siberia.


Book cover of The Reindeer People: Living with Animals and Spirits in Siberia

Sharon Hudgins Author Of T-Bone Whacks and Caviar Snacks: Cooking with Two Texans in Siberia and the Russian Far East

From my list on Siberia for those with insatiable wanderlust.

Why am I passionate about this?

Sharon Hudgins is the award-winning author of five books on history, travel, and food; a journalist with more than 1,000 articles published worldwide; and a former professor with the University of Maryland's Global Campus. She has spent two years in Russia, teaching at universities in Siberia and the Russian Far East, and lecturing on tours for National Geographic, Smithsonian, Viking, and other expedition companies. Endowed with an insatiable wanderlust, she has lived in 10 countries on 3 continents, traveled through 55 countries across the globe, and logged more than 45,000 miles on the Trans-Siberian Railroad.

Sharon's book list on Siberia for those with insatiable wanderlust

Sharon Hudgins Why did Sharon love this book?

My favorite book about reindeer and their relationship with the nomadic native people who herd them over the tundra of northern Siberia. The author is not only a renowned anthropologist at Cambridge University, but also a gifted writer who brings his field research to life on the page. He writes beautifully about the history of reindeer in northern Asia, their lives from birth to death, their uses by the herders who care for them, the disastrous attempts by the Soviets to collectivize the herders' lives and livelihood, the spiritual significance of reindeer to many native Siberians even today, and why people have long believed that reindeer can fly. As one reviewer wrote, "Like the reindeer themselves, this book takes wings."

By Piers Vitebsky,

Why should I read it?

1 author picked The Reindeer People as one of their favorite books, and they share why you should read it.

What is this book about?

A voyage of discovery into the life of a remote aboriginal community in the Siberian Arctic, where the reindeer has been a part of daily life since Palaeolithic times. The reindeer, along with the dog, was probably the first species to be drawn into a close relationship with man. This book, by an eminent British anthropologist, is the beautifully written story of how that relationship works and of the intimacy between the nomadic reindeer people and the landscape they inhabit. What to the Western eye looks like a vast, uninhabited Arctic wilderness is in fact filled with animals, humans and…


Book cover of Tent Life in Siberia

Sharon Hudgins Author Of T-Bone Whacks and Caviar Snacks: Cooking with Two Texans in Siberia and the Russian Far East

From my list on Siberia for those with insatiable wanderlust.

Why am I passionate about this?

Sharon Hudgins is the award-winning author of five books on history, travel, and food; a journalist with more than 1,000 articles published worldwide; and a former professor with the University of Maryland's Global Campus. She has spent two years in Russia, teaching at universities in Siberia and the Russian Far East, and lecturing on tours for National Geographic, Smithsonian, Viking, and other expedition companies. Endowed with an insatiable wanderlust, she has lived in 10 countries on 3 continents, traveled through 55 countries across the globe, and logged more than 45,000 miles on the Trans-Siberian Railroad.

Sharon's book list on Siberia for those with insatiable wanderlust

Sharon Hudgins Why did Sharon love this book?

An intrepid traveler and talented journalist, George Kennan (1845-1924), is better known for his second book about Russia, published in 1891: Siberia and the Exile System, a two-volume study of Siberian penal colonies and exile conditions. But his first book, published 20 years earlier, is among my favorites about Russia. In his introduction to a 1968 reprint of Tent Life in Siberia, American author Larry McMurtry called it "one of the most appealing classics of nineteenth-century travel [writing]."

In 1865, 20-year-old Kennan, an accomplished telegrapher, was hired by Western Union to survey part of Siberia for the possible construction of a telegraph line across Russia, connecting Alaska to Europe. This memoir of his two years in Siberia is a rousing tale of his adventures among the native people and the Russian settlers he encountered there, as well as the many hardships that he and his partner endured, from…

By George Kennan,

Why should I read it?

1 author picked Tent Life in Siberia as one of their favorite books, and they share why you should read it.

What is this book about?

First published in 1870, this book is a thrilling account by telegraph operator George Kennan, who signed on to build a telegraph line across Siberia in the 1860s. Though the Trans-Siberian telegraph line failed, we are left today with this tale of virtual first contact with a land and a people.

It is an important Siberian title with many detailed passages people, fish, music, song, costume, marriage ceremonies, language, customs, Siberian tribes, volcanoes, the coasts, and a profusion of others.

At the age of twenty, Kennan was traveling all around eastern Siberia with wandering natives on dogsleds and reindeer sleds,…


Book cover of The Baron's Cloak: A History of the Russian Empire in War and Revolution

Paul W. Werth Author Of 1837: Russia's Quiet Revolution

From my list on Russian history—with an imperial twist.

Why am I passionate about this?

I have been studying Russia and its history for over 30 years and find that it continues to intrigue me. Having previously focused my attention on religion and its imperial dimensions (including The Tsar’s Foreign Faiths, with Oxford University Press in 2014), I have more recently sought to understand the importance of Russia’s nineteenth century and I am now exploring the history of Russia’s territory with a view to writing a history of the longest border in the world. I teach at the University of Nevada in Las Vegas.

Paul's book list on Russian history—with an imperial twist

Paul W. Werth Why did Paul love this book?

This is a book of uncommon imagination and historical reconstruction. It focuses on the life of the eccentric Baron von Ungern-Shternberg and uses the Baltic German aristocrat’s adventures to reveal key characteristics of the late Russian Empire and the early Soviet years. Especially striking is the book’s geographical scope, which ranges from Austria to Mongolia and stops at many places in between. Written in engaging and fluid prose, the book is a truly original work of historical imagination that allows one to understand Russia and its place in the wider world—and in Asia, in particular.

By Willard Sunderland,

Why should I read it?

1 author picked The Baron's Cloak as one of their favorite books, and they share why you should read it.

What is this book about?

Baron Roman Fedorovich von Ungern-Sternberg (1885-1921) was a Baltic German aristocrat and tsarist military officer who fought against the Bolsheviks in Eastern Siberia during the Russian Civil War. From there he established himself as the de facto warlord of Outer Mongolia, the base for a fantastical plan to restore the Russian and Chinese empires, which then ended with his capture and execution by the Red Army as the war drew to a close.

In The Baron's Cloak, Willard Sunderland tells the epic story of the Russian Empire's final decades through the arc of the Baron's life, which spanned the vast…


Book cover of Polar Star

Raf Beuy Author Of Iron Curtain 1987

From my list on stories set in the '80s (of the 20th century).

Why am I passionate about this?

I'm a child of the 80s. Growing up in West Berlin, when Allied soldiers patrolled the streets, had a huge impact on my view of the world. There was this underlying feeling of uneasiness. I was well aware that Russian soldiers with tanks and nuclear weapons were waiting on the other side of the wall. Fascinating, terrifying times indeed. To convey this atmosphere to my readers is my foremost drive to write stories set within the framework of the cold war. Cheers and nastrovje!

Raf's book list on stories set in the '80s (of the 20th century)

Raf Beuy Why did Raf love this book?

Glasnost. Honestly, I was expecting to pick Gorky Park for this list. The first installment of the Arkady Renko series made a significant impression on me as a teenager, as I was completely immersed in the gritty life in the Soviet Union. But then I found Polar Star in my library and remembered what I loved about this story. It is as tightly woven as the weirs of the net spun by the fishing boat where the murder investigator Renko now has to work. It's set on a fishing boat that mimics Russian society. And even during the liberalization of the late eighties, it becomes clear: the Soviet Union is the Soviet Union is the Soviet Union.

By Martin Cruz Smith,

Why should I read it?

1 author picked Polar Star as one of their favorite books, and they share why you should read it.

What is this book about?

Don't miss the latest book in the Arkady Renko series, THE SIBERIAN DILEMMA by Martin Cruz Smith, 'the master of the international thriller' (New York Times) - available to order now!

AN ARKADY RENKO NOVEL: #2

'One of those writers that anyone who is serious about their craft views with respect bordering on awe' Val McDermid

'Makes tension rise through the page like a shark's fin' Independent

***
Arkady Renko, former Chief Investigator of the Moscow Town Prosecutor's Office, made too many enemies and lost the favour of his party. After a self-imposed exile in Siberia, Renko toils on the…


Book cover of Among the Russians

Steven Faulkner Author Of Bitterroot: Echoes of Beauty & Loss

From my list on travel that enrich landscape with history.

Why am I passionate about this?

After reading travel books that voyaged beyond mere tourism into the life of the land, its people, and its histories, I found myself longing to launch my own journeys. I took a thousand-mile canoe trip with my son following the 1673 route of the French explorers Marquette and Joliet; I crossed the Rockies with two sons by foot, mountain bike, and canoe following Lewis and Clark and their Nez Perce guides; I took to sea kayak and pontoon boat with a son and daughter, 400 miles along the Gulf Coast in pursuit of the 1528 Spanish Narvaez Expedition. Writing of these journeys gave me the chance to live twice.

Steven's book list on travel that enrich landscape with history

Steven Faulkner Why did Steven love this book?

Colin Thubron showed me real travel writing: a journey in words that leads the reader through detailed landscapes, personal encounters with local people, and a depth of understanding that can only come through the human history of these landscapes.

I took this trip with Thubron when Russia was still the Soviet Union. Thubron met dissidents living in Moscow, drank vodka with them late into the night, traveled north to the remnants of Soviet concentration camps, took the rails through that vast continent across the steppes, over the mountains, around huge lakes, all the way to the Pacific coast. The book is beautifully written and introduced me to a travel writer I have read many times since.

By Colin Thubron,

Why should I read it?

3 authors picked Among the Russians as one of their favorite books, and they share why you should read it.

What is this book about?

Thubron learnt Russian and entered the then Soviet Union in an old Morris Marina in which he camped and drove for almost 10,000 miles between the Baltic and Caucasus. This book provides a revealing picture of the many races who inhabit the country and the human side behind state socialism.


Book cover of How to Tame a Fox (and Build a Dog): Visionary Scientists and a Siberian Tale of Jump-Started Evolution

Peter Gloor Author Of Happimetrics: Leveraging AI to Untangle the Surprising Link Between Ethics, Happiness and Business Success

From my list on interspecies communication.

Why am I passionate about this?

As a boy I was fascinated by the bees my father was keeping. Their swarming behavior has become the blueprint for my own life. As a software manager at UBS, a partner at PwC, and Deloitte developing e-business strategies for Fortune 500 firms, I tried—sometimes not very successfullyto be a bee. Twenty years ago, I switched sides, since then, as a researcher at MIT, I am developing the concept of COINsCollaborative Innovation Networks. Our team has leveraged AI to build tools and methods for creative swarms, first among humans, and now also including other living beings, such as dogs, horses, cats, cows, and mimosa and basil plants.

Peter's book list on interspecies communication

Peter Gloor Why did Peter love this book?

It took millennia for the wolf to become “man’s best friend.” At least that was accepted scientific wisdom until a brave Russian scientist and World War II hero decided to replicate the domestication process with foxes. Under the disguise of making fox breeding in fur farms easier, he recruited a team of biologists at a location in Siberia, where foxes were selected for breeding based on their tameness in interaction with humans. To the experimenters’ great surprise, it only took a few decades until the foxes became as tame and human-centered as dogs. A great story of scientific curiosity and courage, and a must-read for anybody interested in evolutionary zoology.

By Lee Alan Dugatkin, Lyudmila Trut,

Why should I read it?

1 author picked How to Tame a Fox (and Build a Dog) as one of their favorite books, and they share why you should read it.

What is this book about?

Tucked away in Siberia, there are furry, four-legged creatures with wagging tails and floppy ears that are as docile and friendly as any lapdog. But, despite appearances, these are not dogs-they are foxes. They are the result of the most astonishing experiment in breeding ever undertaken-imagine speeding up thousands of years of evolution into a few decades. In 1959, biologists Dmitri Belyaev and Lyudmila Trut set out to do just that, by starting with a few dozen silver foxes from fox farms in the USSR and attempting to recreate the evolution of wolves into dogs in real time in order…


Book cover of Kolymsky Heights

Robert Craven Author Of A Kind of Drowning

From my list on spies, spying and cold war thrillers.

Why am I passionate about this?

I am the author of six espionage books, 5 featuring allied spy, Eva Molenaar operating at the highest levels of Hitler’s Reich. The 6th The Road of a Thousand Tigers, is my homage to le Carre and Ian Fleming. I have loved the spy genre since I first read The Riddle of the Sands by Erskine Childers and grew up seeing every Bond movie since The Man with the Golden Gun at the cinema.

Robert's book list on spies, spying and cold war thrillers

Robert Craven Why did Robert love this book?

Written in 1994 after the collapse of the USSR, it is a spy story, but much more than that, a Homeric quest. A letter is smuggled out of Siberia, addressed to Jonny Porter, a Canadian of indigenous extract and who is then recruited by the CIA to go into Russia, posing as a Korean sailor to undertake a rescue mission. Porter’s journey into Russia is layered with unremitting tension as near his final destination, his identity is discovered, and he is hunted across the frozen tundra by Soviet forces.

Kolymsky Heights is my first port of call when I’m preparing to write my novels. It is a masterclass in plotting and immersing the reader into a world and country we still know so little about. Davidson is a very underrated writer and deserves a wider audience, this is the perfect introduction to his work.

By Lionel Davidson,

Why should I read it?

1 author picked Kolymsky Heights as one of their favorite books, and they share why you should read it.

What is this book about?

Kolymsky Heights. A Siberian permafrost hell lost in endless night, the perfect setting for an underground Russian research station. One so secret it doesn't officially exist. Once there, scientists cannot leave. But someone has got a message out to the West - a message summoning the only man alive capable of achieving the impossible.'One of the most powerful thrillers I have ever read'Michael James, The Times'A breathless story of fear and courage' Daily Telegraph'A tremendous thriller' Observer


Book cover of Midnight in Siberia: A Train Journey into the Heart of Russia

David H. Mould Author Of Postcards from Stanland: Journeys in Central Asia

From my list on places people think are too dodgy to visit.

Why am I passionate about this?

I’m an accidental travel writer. For 25 years, I’ve made frequent work trips to the developing world for workshops and research projects, traveling widely in Central, South, and Southeast Asia and Southern Africa. I record what I see and learn, and my conversations with people and write about them in emails, blogs, and later books. Stanland was the first, followed by Monsoon Postcards: Indian Ocean Journeys and Postcards from the Borderlands. I don’t need to be at a scenic overlook or a historic site to find interest. If you’re new to a place, the every day—things so familiar to those who live there that they don’t think about them—are worth recording.

David's book list on places people think are too dodgy to visit

David H. Mould Why did David love this book?

OK, I’ll confess. I have this Dr. Zhivago fantasy (that may also involve Julie Christie). I travelled more than 200 miles on the Trans-Siberian Railway while on a fellowship in Russia’s southern Urals. It was not as romantic a journey as I had expected—lots of forest and drunks in the restaurant car—but I wish I’d traveled further. David Greene, NPR’s former Moscow bureau chief, has traveled the whole line, more than 5,000 miles from Moscow to Vladivostok. It’s not the view from the train window of the landscape of Siberia—spectacular though it sometimes is—that drives the story along. It’s the people Greene meets, the stories of their lives and hardships, and how passengers traveling together day and night for almost a week cope with the journey and each other. 

By David Greene,

Why should I read it?

1 author picked Midnight in Siberia as one of their favorite books, and they share why you should read it.

What is this book about?

Far away from the trendy cafes, designer boutiques, and political protests and crackdowns in Moscow, the real Russia exists.

Midnight in Siberia chronicles David Greene's journey on the Trans-Siberian Railway, a 6,000-mile cross-country trip from Moscow to the Pacific port of Vladivostok. In quadruple-bunked cabins and stopover towns sprinkled across the country's snowy landscape, Greene speaks with ordinary Russians about how their lives have changed in the post-Soviet years.

These travels offer a glimpse of the new Russia-a nation that boasts open elections and newfound prosperity but continues to endure oppression, corruption, a dwindling population, and stark inequality.

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5 book lists we think you will like!

Interested in Siberia, the Pacific Ocean, and Russia?

10,000+ authors have recommended their favorite books and what they love about them. Browse their picks for the best books about Siberia, the Pacific Ocean, and Russia.

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Russia Explore 354 books about Russia