Russian rules allow the export of modern books that are a maximum of 50 years old. Towards the end of each calendar year, I therefore have a look at the books soon to turn 51 which are available for purchase from Ozon, a Russian online shop in the mould of Amazon. These are almost always incredibly cheap and in impressively good condition, and it is impossible to resist buying rather a lot.
Last month, then, I bought 55 books published in 1966. While the emphasis of Russian modern book selection would clearly be on Russian and East European culture and history, the table below (and the illustrations above it) show that my eye was drawn to less standard subjects for this older material. Technology, for example, came second overall – seeing how mid-century Soviets developed and wrote about computers, for example, could quite conceivably spark someone’s interest in the future.
|Fine arts (includes architecture)||7|
|Language and literature||2|
|Performing arts (cinema etc)||7|
History nevertheless comes out on top, with books about the Second World War (samples below) featuring heavily. It is always important to buy material which adds to our current strengths, so among the WW2 books is one by a Russian member of the French Resistance – published outside the collecting parameters of the Chadwyck-Healey Liberation Collection but an interesting related acquisition nonetheless. Similarly, several of the books purchased within the performing arts fund will complement the University Library’s growing cinema collections.
The books have now all arrived and will gradually be added to the catalogue.