I was recently featured in a Russian language online magazine in a feature about foreigners inspired by Russia and the Soviet Union. Fun. Here’s a link.
Not much has happened here this last year, I’m sorry to report. The collection is getting packed up and moved to a new home. Come the new year and the unboxing of the books there will be more content. Sit tight and be patient, this site will live again soon.
Located for ages on Commercial Drive in Vancouver , the People’s Co-op Bookstore has played an important part in my collection. A left wing book store associated with Canadian CP, it was the outlet for the Soviet presses in Vancouver. After the folding of Progress, Aurora and the other Soviet presses in 1991 the store was left with a huge backstock of Soviet books. Some of these books have been on the shelves but many have been boxed in the back for years. That will all change soon.
The People’s Co-op Bookstore is going to have a Soviet book sale, they are bringing out all their ‘dead’ stock and will be selling it off at the end of April. This is very exciting! I think they would be happy to ship these books to out-of-town customers, so don’t hesitate to inquire.
Here is one of the books I have gotten from the store: Soviet Rock!
Gennadi Chernenko – Outer Space or Bust
A children’s book with a lot of text and many, many fine illustrations. No date on the book, but it has an ISBN (5050017122) so it is likely from the 1980’s. Some nice illustrations of Gagarin and Korolev, as well as many fanciful visions of the future of Soviet space flight.
I don’t usually post my Russian books on this blog, I’ve tried to limit it to my English collection, but here we go:
From 1952, from Prishchepromisdat Publishers, The Book of Tasty and Healthy Meals, or at least that’s how I translated the title. Perhaps a reader will correct my translation. By professor O. P. Molchanova, professor D. I. Lobanov, M. O. Lifshits, and N P Tsyplenkov. A glorious and gilded cookbook, a Stalinist celebration of gastronomic abundance and the peaceful, plentiful domestic bliss of victorious socialism. We begin with the embossed cover:
The inside cover is a centerfold of the great Soviet domestic banquet.
My cookbook starts with a quote from the great father of the peoples, Comrade Stalin. Can you top that, Jamie Oliver?
These montages remind me of the work found in USSR in Construction; it’s rare to find photomontage in late Stalinist publications like this one.
And then we have these extraordinary colour plates. Enjoy.
Leninabad is 2500
From 1986, Irfon press published album celebrating Leninabad, the once and future city of Khujand, Azerbaijan. This book is filled with photos emphasizing the modern look of this ancient city, highlighting the 1970s style of ‘national’ socialist realist architecture. Of course there are the requisite statuary and happy people with medals, but the architecture is what makes this book special.
All these photos now look like they’ve been instagrammed to have that washed out but saturated look, but there was a time when all photos looked that way.