In a previous post, we looked at some great online resources for reading in Russian, but since you've come all the way to one of the most literary cities in the world, it would be a shame not to take advantage of Saint Petersburg's ubiquitous bookstores and pick up some books to take home with you. In this post, we suggest a few books or series of books that might be of interest to Russian learners, as well as introduce some of the bookstores in the city.
1. Children's books
In any bookstore and even in grocery stores, you can find children's books, such as from from the series внеклассное чтение ("extracurricular reading"). Most of these are collections of short stories, and there are also classic international stories translated and adapted for children. They are usually hardcover and rarely cost more than 200 rubles.
2. Путеводители для детей Travel Guidebooks for Children
Bookvoed and Dom Knigi devote entire shelves to children's travel books about Saint Petersburg, which make great souvenirs for language students of any level, because they have many beautiful pictures and maps of the city's most famous and interesting places, along with easy to read and informative texts about the city's history and attractions. You'll probably have some familiarity with the topic already, which will make reading about it easier, but you'll also be sure to learn some new things, too. Flip through the book to a place you've been or want to visit and see how much you can understand!
There are several travel guidebooks to choose from, including big, colorful hardback books which cost about 700 rubles, or short, paperback booklets for a couple hundred rubles.
If you're interested in history, there are also many children's books about important figures and events in Russian history.
3. Читаем без проблем - Graded Readers for Learners
In the Russian for foreigners section of Dom Knigi, you can find a series of graded readers for learners of Russian. The book are about 80 pages each, and cost around 500 rubles. They feature texts on various topics adapted according to language level, as well as comprehension questions and new vocabulary.
4. Specialized Textbooks
In the same section of Dom Knigi, you can find a large selection of Russian textbooks, ranging from general Russian to specific grammar points or topics of interest. You can find for example the textbook "Русский рок и русская грамматика" (Russian rock and Russian grammar) which introduces grammar points through famous Russian rock song lyrics. Browse the section and try to find a book that interests you.
5. В Питере, жить! (In Piter, live)
One of the best-selling books of the year in Saint Petersburg, this is a collection of modern short stories and non-fiction pieces that take place in Saint Petersburg (or "Piter" as it is often called for short). The title is a play on the famous Leningrad school "В Питере, пить!" The language is appropriate for students of level B2. The book is about 500 pages long and costs around 600 rubles.
Dom Knigi (Дом Книги)
One of the most unusual buildings on Nevsky Prospekt, Dom Knigi is impossible to miss. There is a wide range of books, gifts, souvenirs, postcards and maps and is a tourist attraction in and of itself.
You can read the books from the store at The Singer Cafe (Кафе Зингеръ) on the second floor even before you decide to buy them, while enjoying tea and a view of Kazan Cathedral.
The biggest chain bookstore in the city is Bookvoed, which sells a large selection of children's books, novels and non-fiction for adults, as well as various puzzles, toys, postcards and souvenirs. The main store on Nevski Prospekt is open 24h and has a larger selection of books in other languages than the other branches. It is larger and less crowded than Dom Knigi.
While nearly all bookstores have some books in English and other foreign languages, the biggest selection can be found in specialized stores such as Bookbridge.