BIG Collection of the Best Books to Learn Russian

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Hi Junkies,

This post is your guide for the best books to learn Russian. By books, I don’t mean school “textbooks” but non-academic ones: story books, vocab books and more. If you want textbooks or other resources, click the links below.


BIG Collection of the Best Books to Learn Russian

  • Please share this if you find it useful!
  • All books have links so click on them to learn more at Amazon. Links are my Amazon affiliate links

1. Russian Stories: A Dual-Language Book (English and Russian Edition) 

This is one of the best books to learn Russian, especially if you’re an experienced beginner or just highly ambitious. With this book, you get to read the masters of Russian literature such as Pushkin, Tolstoy and Dostoyevsky. You can see the EXACT translation for all phrases and words so need to look words up.

  • 416 pages
  • 12 short stories
  • Russian & English translations
  • you DON’T need a dictionary for this
  • quizzes after every story to test you

best books to learn russian

2. Russian Short Stories For Beginners: 8 Unconventional Short Stories

Like the one above, the goal here is to improve your Russian by reading stories. And unlike the one above, this book has more modern stories for everyone (history, sci-fi, thriller, crime, fantasy). A lot of words you’ll see here are repeated so that they’re drilled into your brain. There are some vocab translations at the end of each chapter, but not full 100% translations like the book above.

  • 324 pages
  • 8 stories inside
    • modern stories – thrillers, sci-fi, crime, etc.
  • for Beginners (A2-B1 level)

best books to learn russian

3. Roots of the Russian Language: An Elementary Guide to Wordbuilding

The Russian language has some tricky vocabulary and conjugation. You will learn the meanings behind the various prefixes, suffixes and roots of words. Why? This will allow you to understand new words easily and memorize large groups of words faster. As such, this book is a great supplemental resource.

  • 239 pages
  • Vocab focused

best books to learn russian

4. Lonely Planet Russian Phrasebook & Dictionary

Phrasebooks are a quick and dirty way to learn Russian without digging through grammar. That’s where Lonely Planet’s book excels. You will learn all words and phrases necessary for daily life. For example – basic conversations, traveling, ordering food, shopping, meeting people, romance and much more.

  • 272 pages
  • learn 3500 words (dictionary inside)
  • small and easy to carry for travelers

best books to learn russian

5. Russian-English Bilingual Visual Dictionary

You know what’s easier than learning new words by reading? Seeing them too! Russian words come with translations and relevant pictures. That’s how the Visual Dictionary Works. The book is organized by themes such as people, health, food, home, sports and so on. Yes, there are genitals included. All in all, this is a great reference to have for Beginners.

  • learn 6000 words through pictures
  • 360 pictures
  • organized by themes

best books to learn russian

6. Dirty Russian: Everyday Slang

Need to learn Russian slang and dirty words? Then this is one of the best books to learn Russian with. Basically, what you get here is a 9 chapter phrasebook that covers everything from friendly conversation to angry words down to the sexual.

  • 9 chapters & 160 pages

best books to learn russian

7. Learn Russian with Short Stories: Interlinear Russian to English

Another book that helps you learn Russian through stories! Just like the first one, you also get line-by-line translations here too. Why did I add it if it’s similar? Well, that’s because it’s EXTRA practice and learning by reading stories, or engaging with something in Russian – rather than just studying – is a great way to improve your Russian.

  • translations for every word are right under the English words
  • 171 pages

best books to learn russian

8. The First Thousand Words in Russian

Want to speak more Russian? You’ll need more words. And with this book, you get a nice 1,000 vocab boost to get you going. This is a quick 63-page reference book… filled with… words and their pronunciations. Simple. Straightforward.

  • learn 1,000+ words
  • warning: no sample sentences
  • meant for beginners.

best books to learn russian

9. Russian Vocabulary (Barron’s Vocabulary Series)

Do you want a challenge? This is a 6,000 word reference book with English words translated into Russian. The words are categorized by different themes like greetings, moods, foods, sports and so on. The book above might be good for casual learners but this one is great for serious, motivated learners. You’ll be using this one for years.

  • 328 pages
  • learn 6,000+ words
  • warning: no sample sentences, no accent marks

best books to learn russian

By the way… I also do recommend RussianPod101.com (click here) for their Audio and Video Lessons.

Yes, it’s not a book, but it just might be the best damn online Russian course for

  • speaking
  • listening
  • mastering Russian conversation.

That site would be a good addition to whatever book you’re using.

Want more?

Do you have any best Russian books that you swear by and recommend? Please leave me a comment. I read them all.

I’ll add more as I go along.

– The Main Junkie

P.S.  If you REALLY want to learn Russian with effective Audio & Video lessons by real teachers – Sign up for free at RussianPod101.com (click here) and start learning!

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