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vilnius_poker| ©UAB Tyto alba
vilnius_poker| ©UAB Tyto alba

8 Books Set in Lithuania You Should Read on Your Trip

Picture of Kasparas Asmonaitis
Updated: 5 December 2017

Every book lover knows a talented author can describe a place better than even our own eyes can interpret it! That’s why you should read these wonderful books set in Lithuania to get a feel for this ever-changing country from a different perspective – learn about Lithuanian culture and traditions and understand their people a little better through the pages of these masterpieces!

Vilnius Poker

Ričardas Gavelis is the superstar of post-modernism in Lithuania. His bravery in writing and publishing Vilnius Poker was unimaginable for the people of his generation who grew up under the Soviet Union regime. And yet, Gavelis wrote Vilnius Poker and criticized communism from inside out. This book was a true revelation back in the late 20th century. In 2009, Vilnius Poker was translated into English, and that same year it became one of the top 25 best selling translated books in the USA. So, if you want to learn more about living in the Soviet Union, Vilnius Poker is the right book!

In Lithuanian Wood

In Lithuanian Wood is the first novel by Wendell Mayo, focusing on the problems that Lithuania had to face back in the 90’s after regaining their freedom from the Soviet Union. Mayo perfectly describes the uncertainty Lithuanians, especially the older generation, felt after everything changed in just a couple of years. History buffs and people who enjoy analyzing various social behaviors should definitely add In Lithuanian Wood to their reading list.

Silva Rerum

Kristina Sabaliauskaitė is one of the most influential Lithuanian writers of her time, and her books are already considered to be classics. The first part of Silva Rerum is about the noble Norvaišų family in the 17th century. This historic novel is a perfect choice for those interested in the lives of nobility! Even though the Norvaišų family is fictional, it’s worth noting that most of the descriptions in the book are historically accurate.

The Sky Is Falling: Lithuanian Folk Tales

If you’re travelling through Lithuania with the family and are looking for a book to read to your kids, The Sky Is Falling: Lithuanian Folk Tales is a wonderful choice! All the most popular Lithuanian folk tales are collected in this book, including “The Sky Is Falling,” arguably one of the most famous Lithuanian folk tales which every Lithuanian kid knows by heart! So, grab this book now if you want to learn more about Lithuanian folk and also read some quality tales to your kids!

Between Shades of Gray

Between Shades of Gray is written by Rūta Šepetys and focuses on the cruel fate of a small girl who was exiled to Siberia, where she had to face separation from her family and devastating living conditions in order to survive. When the Soviet Union occupied Lithuania, many locals were actually deported to Siberia. If you’re looking to have a better understanding of how it felt (be prepared to cry), this is a must-read.

Hour of the Wolf

Andrius Tapinas is Lithuanian influencer, journalist, TV show host, and writer. Everything he does is Lithuanian-focused, so it’s no big surprise that his book, Hour of the Wolf, became a real hit in 2013. This fictional read is set in Lithuania in the early 20th century. Most of the characters are real historic Lithuanian people, but the action takes place in an alternate reality. It’s a perfect book for fiction fans, who also want to learn more about Vilnius and its narrow streets!

Another book bites the dust! 8/20 #readingchallenge2015 #vilkovalanda #andriustapinas

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One Grateful Immigrant

One Grateful Immigrant is a story of Lithuanian man who had to abandon his homeland and immigrate to the US, looking for a fresh start and a better life. Even though not all the action is set in Lithuania, you can learn a lot about the country’s problems and the overall mentality in the 20th century when the Soviet Union took over. Many Lithuanians ran to the US, leaving their families and homes behind – and while some of them succeed, many failed as well.

Master Thaddeus: The Last Foray in Lithuania

Any true lover of poetry must read Master Thaddeus: The Last Foray in Lithuania at least once in their lifetime! Master Thaddeus is written by Adam Mickiewicz, the great poet and writer of the 19th century. While Mickiewicz’s nationality is still up for debate, one thing is for sure – his writing skills are impeccable! In Master Thaddeus, Mickiewicz focuses on Lithuanian and Polish gentry in 1811 and 1812. So, if you’re looking for high-quality poetry about Lithuania, there really is no better choice than Master Thaddeus!