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Books Set in Eastern Europe & Russia

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For the third month of the Book Voyage reading challenge we will be reading books set in Eastern Europe and Russia.

While many of the countries in the western half of Europe are very well known to Americans, as you journey further to the east the region holds more of an air of mystery. This is true in part because the western countries have historically been easier to visit, while many of the Eastern European countries were behind the “Iron Curtain” for much of the 20th century.

The fall of the USSR, in 1991, lead to the creation of more than a dozen new nation-states, and the names and borders of countries in this region have continued to shift and change over the past several decades. Although it’s easy to lump these countries together because of their shared history, the truth is that they are extremely diverse, and we are excited to explore their unique cultures through this month’s books.

Depending on the context – geographical, political, cultural, or historical – you’ll find various answers as to which countries are classified as “Eastern Europe.” In this region, there are numerous countries, like Russia, that straddle the border between Europe and Asia. Additionally, there are numerous countries on the European continent that are considered part of the Middle East from a geo-political perspective. We will be reading books set in the Middle East for the Book Voyage Challenge later this year, so we have not included those countries on this month’s list.

For purposes of this reading challenge, we consider Eastern Europe to include the following: Russia, Estonia, Latvia, Lithuania, Poland, Belarus, Czechia (formerly known as the Czech Republic), Slovakia, Slovenia, Ukraine, Hungary, Romania, Moldova, Croatia, Bosnia & Herzegovina, Serbia, Montenegro, Kosovo, Bulgaria, Albania, North Macedonia, mainland Greece (we are saving the Greek Islands for our month-long island journey this summer), Georgia, Chechnya, Armenia, and Azerbaijan.

PS: You can read all about the Book Voyage challenge, find new book lists each month, and download your free printable map book tracker, with a color-coded map of each region here.

As always, you are welcome to choose any book set in this region that you’d like, but to help you get started, we’ve compiled a list of books set in more than 20 different countries, including many of the best Eastern European novels, some wonderful YA books set in Russia and Eastern Europe, and plenty of historical fiction, memoirs, and fascinating non-fiction reads. 

We’ve worked hard to curate book recommendations that feature many Eastern European writers, and we’ve placed an emphasis on books that not only take place in Eastern Europe but also provide atmospheric descriptions that will really transport you to the country of your choice.

Throughout the list, we noted the books currently available as part of Kindle Unlimited Subscriptions.

Best Books About Eastern Europe

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Inforgraphic of reader favorite books set in Eastern Europe

Next up, pick your book set in the northern region of Asia!

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Saturday 20th of March 2021

[…] Next up, pick your book set in Eastern Europe or Russia! […]

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Saturday 20th of March 2021

[…] “Northern Asia” for purposes of our Book Voyage. Since we grouped all of Russia in with Eastern Europe last month, we have not included Siberian Russia on our Asian list this month. In short, […]

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Wednesday 10th of March 2021

[…] March: Eastern Europe & Russia […]

Mary Hazelton

Saturday 27th of February 2021

Would you please make a link to a printable short list for each month. I don't want to waste paper, but I like being able to look online to read more about each book!

Mimi Pollack

Sunday 21st of February 2021

What a great list! I would not have found these titles on my own! Obviously a lot of work behind the scenes. Helpful descriptions, too. Much appreciated.