Here’s what things are like in Moscow: Once you get into the restaurant business, you’ll purchase food at the Dorogomilovsky Market, in case you’re into circuit bending–the Radio Market in Mitino (Mitinsky Radiorynok) is the spot to get your electrifying equipment, and those who want to buy some antiques will find themselves digging for it at either Vernisage in Izmaylovo or at the flea market in Novopodrezkovo.
Of course, this isn’t an exhaustive list of all the signature places that are much beloved by in-the-know Muscovites.
But–Where does a book lover go?
In this article, I’d like to share information about my beloved Moscow bookstores that I’ve been visiting for years.
Falanster bookstore has the most representative product line on humanities. Since its opening, the bookstore has garnered a cult-like following. Thus, Falanster doesn’t only offer you a huge variety of intellectual literature, but also a community of like-minded people. From time to time, they organize meetings with different authors, among which are such prominent writers of modern Russian as Eduard Limonov, Zakhar Prilepin and Vsevolod Emelin.
Malyy Gnezdnikovskiy Per., 12
Chekhovskaya Metro Station
Next on the list is the Tsiolkovsky bookstore, which inherits Falanster’s policy on books (as well as their variety). Some time before, Tsiolkovsky was situated in the Lubyanka area, a hundred meters away from Biblio-Globus—the main bookstore in the city/country.
Given this, smoking a cig and imposingly moving off in “Tsiolkovsky’s” direction, where I had a friend to talk to and a glass of cognac to drink, was sort of a Volterianian act. My friend was an operator of a print-on-demand machine, so from time to time our conversation could be interrupted by some fellow looking for a print his book.
One day there was a knock on the door. We opened it to two guys wearing all black and staring at us. They presented themselves as the servants of hell and asked my friend to help print their book on Thelema, which he refused to do and told them to go to hell. The fellows followed his instructions, leaving a sulfur odor behind.
Later on, the “DIG” vinyl store moved into that tiny room. His hobbit majesty Frodo himself, upon leaving for Middle Earth from Moscow, paid a visit to Tsyolkovsky and bought several ‘plates’ in the DIG store.
Pyatnitsky Lane, 8, Building 1
Novokuznetskaya Metro Station
There’s a position in my list for the die-hard book lovers–Russian Village, which focuses primarily on rare and limited circulation books. It used to be located on Glinishevsky Lane not so long ago, adjusted to the bulk of the “Moscow” bookstore, right in front of the house where all the prominent people of the soviet theatrical sphere used to live. As it always happens in Moscow–the smallest is standing right next to the biggest, as to complement it.
The same was applied to Russian Village, where the selection of books could hardly cross with that of its big neighbor, and the little village never suffered from standing right next to the city of hustle, bustle and books.
Rozhdestvenka Street, 12
Kuznetsky Most Metro Station
Once you want more, then
I have no ideas of what else to offer you. head for the Moscow bookstore. Don’t ask any questions, just do as I say and go there directly. The very best thing in Moscow is on the -1 floor, in antiquarian books section. You can almost literally find whatever you want there, but in case you don’t, take this chance to inquire upon the missing book–the staff will look for it and reach out to you upon finding it.
This very section of the store is well-known for allowing you to stay there as long as the shop is open, surfing through a wide variety of books published within the last 100 years. It’s worth pointing out that the walls there are decorated with the works of David Burlyuk, a futurist who was Mayakovsky’s friend, and paintings of Korovin.
There are also old stamps, coins and other little trifles like old table silver–and there are better places to buy them, like local flea markets with a wider selection and the opportunity to huggle. My advice to the youth is to examine closely the shelves standing closer to the cashiers desk, for book-pearls are more likely to be found there.
Tverskaya street, 8,
Tverskaya Metro Station
Another of Moscow’s signature places for those who have passion for printer’s ink is the “Writer’s Bookshop” on Kuznetsky Most. It’s been in business since the 30’s of the XX century and from then, its history as been associated with a variety of names of first-class soviet and Russian writers. Maxim Gorky himself loved buying a book or two at the store, whilst the poet Khodasivich and the philosopher Berdyaev were noticed working there, too. Since then, the spirit of the place has remained almost unchanged.
So, in case you’d like to hear a step creak the way it did when Gorky stepped on it, then you better preclude yourself from attending that expat party at the “Shelter” and head for the Writer’s Bookshop.
Kuznetsky Most Street, 18/7
Kuznetsky Most Metro Station
Khodasevich was opened several years ago in the historical part of Moscow, on Pokrovka. The place is literally inundated with books on humanities, which ensures that even if a nuclear tit-bit will take place, the remaining human population will be able to restore its knowledge of the world outside via just giving this place a squint.
Also, it’s hard not to mention that most of the Moscow poets who were expelled from their second year at the Litinstitut (Institute of Literature) and all the others who already have a three-book anthology of their existential poetry published by their twenties, crave to have their goods on the shelves of “Khodasevich” so as to close their gestalt and become a real cursed (by their girlfriend’s mother) poet.
To sum it up given its location, welcoming people work there and the owner is widely-read, with a sprinkle of “locos” visiting–Khodasevich is all prose.
Pokrovka Street, 6
Kitay-Gorod Metro Station
The list is also not exhaustive, for there are many more bookstores that are worth your attention in Moscow. Which ones do you go to?