Mir Publishers

An old bookstore in Tallinn, Estonia

Estonia, once under the iron curtain of Russia is now the most connected country in the world. Its capital city Tallinn indeed feels like a city straight from a fairy tale. From the cloudy skies, cobbled pathways, canopied passages to the orange rooftops, each has direct connection to a dream woven story.

The ochre and other pastel colors in the old town remind me of Gamla Stan in Stockholm and large hanging drapery of sky is a splitting image of the Prussian blue water of Baltic Sea.


Pastel passages of Tallinn

The city has cool neighborhood, Kalamaja, famous for its wooden architecture. The bohemian and hipster hood akin to certain parts of Brooklyn where I like to hang out. If I were a Finn living in Helsinki I would take a ferry most of the weekends to eat at F-Hoone(May be it means F-building) in the Tellskivi center. The market nearby – Depoo, runs from an old locomotive depot. One side of the market reminds one of the Soviet past of the country. Tchotchke from the yesteryear era find home in the market while the other end is as modern as any other city market.


F-Hoone, The hipsters paradise

Such medieval city has to have a rich reading culture and I did end up in Raamatukoi opposite the tourist info center in the old town. The Estonian word Raamatukoi means bookcase in English and it indeed is apt given the bookstore is brimming with books – new and old.  The reading skill foundation laid by the Children’s book trust and National book trust acquaints one with Russian literature very early; Seeing the familiar Mir publisher logo on various titles made me smile and was surprised to see a few statements written here and there in Hindi.


The bookstore sells chiefly old and used books, postcards, old vinyl records and is a pit stop of the history. It holds in itself a historical account of what the country has gone through and has been an eye witness to various churns of time without getting stuck in a time warp.


Inside Raamatukoi

Rahva Raamat is another bookstore that was well equipped but when I learned that it is a chain bookstore present in entire Estonia, I kept it in the same bucket as Barnes and Nobel. There is something charming about the old, independent bookstores and coffee shops that is comforting.

I wish I had more time to uncover the other parts of the city but the impromptu ship journey from Helsinki turned out to be fruitful and gratifying indeed.

The silver-lining  of Estonia is instead of being held back by its past and playing the blame game as has happened in many post disintegration countries, it chose to start from scratch and build. The strategy has paid really well and Estonians can enjoy the view of their capital city from either Patkuli or Kohtuotsa and breathe the fresh air with pride.


The orange rooftops of Tallinn from Kohtuotsa


St. Catherine’s passage (Katariina Käik)


Mir publishers Russia




Since my childhood I have been a fan of Russian empire; I don’t know the reason. Things related to the Siberian land have been dear and fascinating to me. I can’t remember clearly but it was a documentary genre lesson in our hindi book of class 6th on the Soviet union that increased my interest in that society. Then I guess, the red revolution, bolsheviks, Mensheviks, Lenin, cosmonauts and some other history lessons accentuated my interests in it. I also remember reading one translated book in the library in which few kids try to build their own incubator and hatch the chickens. These are few instances I remember that catalyzed the spark.

In high school, when I was preparing for the IIT entrance exam I stumbled upon a very sleek book of physics called General problems in Physics by I E Irodov; It was my sister’s book when she was preparing for all the exams. I saw that the book is of just Rs 50/- ,and the questions are continuous, without even a gap of a blank line between consecutive questions. First chapter is Kinematics. I discussed about the book in school, those people who were taking formal coaching classes told me that it is said to be one of the toughest books. Rahul also told me that it is a God book for JEE entrance. I decided to try it. I took the book to school, and started with the very first problem given in the 2nd period of school timings. I didn’t have much knowledge of vectors then hence my kinematics was quite weak. Ultimately I solved the problem in the 6th period. It took me good 1 hour to crack the problem; I remember the question was on calculating average speed.  After that day the book became an obsession for me. I carried it everywhere and used to get immense internal satisfaction if I could  solve its problems. I really regret that my brain was so analytical and had decent IQ when I used to work those problems out and now  it has just is rusting and being in atrophy .

Well, my main  point of concern was not exemplifying the glory of Irodov but was in the publisher of the book. I had noticed that some Mir publishers is behind the publication.

After few days, I came to know of I A Maron, G N Bermen both of Mir publishers print. Those were amazing books as well. The books from the soviet era have a different charm; they are very good in the content and the concept building. Especially in the area of Physics and Maths. I came to know recently why Physics and Maths were popular in Russia. They had this concept that Physics and Maths are the subjects that will take the communism forward while one scientific discipline – genetics suffered the Lysenkoism. Lysenko convinced Stalin that study of genetics is against concept of communism.

Nevertheless, now I want to revive my interest in the collection of those fascinating books from the soviet era. I have few pdf files of some of the very famous books.Please ask for them through your mail. and also if you have any then can you please send them to me.We can create a community and revive those beautiful learning material by preserving it and distributing it.