The Greatest Russian, Colombian "Contemporary" Books Since 1980

Click to learn how this list is calculated.

This list represents a comprehensive and trusted collection of the greatest books. Developed through a specialized algorithm, it brings together 305 'best of' book lists to form a definitive guide to the world's most acclaimed books. For those interested in how these books are chosen, additional details can be found on the rankings page.

Filter by: Genres Dates Countries
Follow on:



Contemporary books are a genre that focuses on stories set in the present day, often exploring current social, cultural, and political issues. These books are typically written in a modern style and often feature relatable characters dealing with real-life situations. Contemporary books can cover a wide range of topics, from romance and family drama to coming-of-age stories and thrillers. The genre is constantly evolving to reflect the changing world we live in, making it a popular choice for readers who want to stay up-to-date with the latest trends and issues.

Add additional genre filters




Add additional country filters

Date Range


Reading Statistics

Click the button below to see how many of these books you've read!


If you're interested in downloading this list as a CSV file for use in a spreadsheet application, you can easily do so by clicking the button below. Please note that to ensure a manageable file size and faster download, the CSV will include details for only the first 500 books.

  1. 1. The Clay Machine-gun by Victor Pelevin

    "The Clay Machine-gun" is a surreal and complex novel that explores the nature of reality and illusion. The story is set in post-Soviet Russia and follows a protagonist who has multiple identities, including a poet in 19th-century Russia, a 20th-century psychiatric patient, and a 21st-century advertising executive. The narrative moves between these identities and realities, blurring the lines between them and creating a layered and philosophical exploration of Russian society, identity, and the human psyche.

    The 2292nd Greatest Book of All Time
  2. 2. The Good Life Elsewhere by Vladimir Lorchenkov

    "The Good Life Elsewhere" is a darkly humorous and satirical novel that follows a group of Moldovan villagers who embark on a chaotic journey to Italy in search of a better life. Through their misadventures, the author exposes the harsh realities of poverty, corruption, and the desperate measures people are willing to take in pursuit of a brighter future. With a blend of absurdity and poignant social commentary, the novel offers a compelling exploration of the human condition and the universal desire for a better life.

    The 6723rd Greatest Book of All Time
  3. 3. In The Beginning Was The Sea by Tomás González

    The novel follows a disillusioned urban couple who seek to escape the chaos and superficiality of city life by moving to a remote tropical coast in Colombia. Dreaming of a simpler existence and self-sufficiency, they purchase a decrepit estate, but their idealistic venture quickly deteriorates as they face a harsh reality. The couple's relationship strains under the pressures of the unforgiving environment, isolation, and the challenges of their new rural life, leading to a tragic culmination. The story is a profound meditation on the complexities of nature, the fragility of human ambition, and the illusory nature of utopian dreams.

    The 6749th Greatest Book of All Time
  4. 4. Absurdistan by Gary Shteyngart

    "Absurdistan" is a satirical novel by Gary Shteyngart that follows the story of Misha Vainberg, a wealthy and overweight Russian-American who finds himself stuck in the fictional country of Absurdistan after his father's death. The country is on the brink of a civil war, and Misha must navigate his way through the corrupt and absurd political landscape to get back to America and reunite with his love interest. Along the way, he encounters a cast of eccentric characters and experiences the absurdity of life in a country where everything seems to be falling apart.

    The 7063rd Greatest Book of All Time
  5. 5. The Mountain And The Wall by Alisa Ganieva

    "The Mountain and the Wall" is a thought-provoking novel set in a fictional region of Russia, where a massive wall is being constructed to separate the Muslim population from the rest of the country. Through the eyes of various characters, the book explores the impact of this division on individuals and communities, delving into themes of identity, religion, and the struggle for freedom. As tensions rise and conflicts erupt, the story highlights the complexities of human relationships in a divided society.

    The 8244th Greatest Book of All Time
  6. 6. Rock, Paper, Scissors And Other Stories by Maxim Osipov

    "Rock, Paper, Scissors And Other Stories" is a collection of captivating short stories that delve into the lives of ordinary people in a small Russian town. Through these interconnected tales, the author explores themes of love, loss, and the complexities of human relationships. With a keen eye for detail and a deep understanding of the human condition, the stories in this book offer a poignant and thought-provoking glimpse into the lives of individuals navigating the challenges of modern-day Russia.

    The 9021st Greatest Book of All Time
  7. 7. F Letter: New Russian Feminist Poetry by Galina Rymbu, Eugene Ostashevsky, Ainsley Morse

    "F Letter: New Russian Feminist Poetry" is a captivating collection of contemporary Russian feminist poetry that challenges societal norms and explores themes of gender, identity, and power. Through the powerful and thought-provoking verses of Galina Rymbu, Eugene Ostashevsky, and Ainsley Morse, this anthology sheds light on the experiences and perspectives of women in Russia, offering a unique and refreshing voice in the world of literature.

    The 9297th Greatest Book of All Time
  8. 8. The Future Is History: How Totalitarianism Reclaimed Russia by Masha Gessen

    This book provides a deeply researched examination of the resurgence of totalitarianism in Russia, focusing on the lives of four individuals born at what promised to be the dawn of democracy. The book explores how, after the fall of the Soviet Union, instead of moving towards a democratic society, Russia has seen a rise in a new form of totalitarianism under its current leadership. It delves into the psychological shift in the Russian populace, the government's use of homophobia as a method of control, and how the internet and social media have been weaponized for political purposes.

    The 9631st Greatest Book of All Time
  9. 9. The Children by Carolina Sanín

    The book is a haunting exploration of solitude and the unexpected ways in which lives can intersect. It follows the story of a woman who leads a solitary life in a city, her routine existence disrupted by the sudden appearance of a silent, enigmatic child at her doorstep. As she takes the child into her home, the woman is drawn into a surreal journey that blurs the lines between reality and imagination, prompting her to confront her own past and the mysteries of human connection. The narrative weaves a tapestry of magical realism and psychological depth, examining themes of loneliness, motherhood, and the search for belonging in an indifferent world.

    The 10029th Greatest Book of All Time
  10. 10. Primera Persona by Margarita García Robayo

    "Primera Persona" is a collection of autobiographical essays that delve into the author's experiences navigating the complexities of identity, migration, and cultural dislocation. With sharp wit and unflinching honesty, the author reflects on her life growing up in Colombia, her move to Argentina, and the challenges of establishing herself as a writer in a foreign land. The essays explore themes of family, memory, and the search for belonging, offering a poignant and often humorous look at the intersections of personal history and broader socio-cultural dynamics. Through her narrative, the author invites readers to consider the multifaceted nature of selfhood and the universal quest for connection and understanding.

    The 10115th Greatest Book of All Time
  11. 11. Somos Luces Abismales by Carolina Sanin

    "Somos Luces Abismales" is a contemplative narrative that delves into the inner world of a woman who, while working as a teacher, grapples with the complexities of her existence and the nature of being. Through a series of introspective episodes and interactions with her students, she explores themes of loneliness, the search for meaning, and the human condition. The book weaves a tapestry of philosophical reflections, everyday occurrences, and the protagonist's personal revelations, painting a picture of life's profound and often overlooked moments.

    The 10226th Greatest Book of All Time
  12. 12. An Orphan World by Giuseppe Caputo

    In this evocative novel, a father and son navigate the margins of a Latin American city, living in poverty and facing the dual threats of violence and social discrimination. Their bond is a source of strength and resilience as they confront the challenges of their precarious existence. The son, through a series of lyrical and poignant vignettes, explores his sexuality and seeks connection in a world that is often hostile to his desires. The narrative weaves a tapestry of love, loss, and longing, painting a portrait of a relationship that defies the darkness of their circumstances with moments of beauty and tenderness.

    The 10309th Greatest Book of All Time
  13. 13. Los Días Azules by Fernando Vallejo

    "Los Días Azules" is a reflective and autobiographical narrative that delves into the author's memories of his childhood and youth in Colombia. The book paints a vivid picture of the author's family life, the cultural and social environment of his upbringing, and the formative experiences that shaped his worldview. Through a series of poignant and often critical recollections, the author explores themes of love, loss, and the passage of time, all set against the backdrop of a country marked by political turmoil and societal change. The narrative is characterized by its lyrical prose and introspective tone, offering readers a deeply personal glimpse into the author's past and the moments that have defined his life's journey.

    The 10367th Greatest Book of All Time

Reading Statistics

Click the button below to see how many of these books you've read!


If you're interested in downloading this list as a CSV file for use in a spreadsheet application, you can easily do so by clicking the button below. Please note that to ensure a manageable file size and faster download, the CSV will include details for only the first 500 books.