Category Archives: Our Events

In June at the library: talks about war and peace

“I’ve seen so many young men over the years who think they’re runnung at other young men. They are not. They’re running at me” –

reminds us Death, the narrator in “The Book Thief” by Marcus Zusak.9781742624068

At the British Book Centre in June we were talking about the topic as paradoxal as life itself: war and why people do it. They do it again and again. They do it even at the moment I’m writing this post and drinking my morning coffee. We didn’t hope to find the answer and just tried to see how war is reflected in literature and cinema and to remember once again those who should never be forgotten.

The central event was a Book Club devoted to the discussion of Marcus Zusak’s “Book Thief”.

The book was chosen as one that is easy-to-read speaking about language and style and also, notwithstanding its main theme, speaking about the plot. The participant remarked not just once that they loved “the humour” of the book. So how did the author managed to maintain such a style? Certainly, one of the answers might be is that he used Death itself as the narrator. Because, who would be afraid of a friendly and easy-going Gream Reaper?


Another important moment is the important role that the love of reading and words play in the story. Books may harm and books may help to survive. Books are burnt and books are hunted for as the most precious treasure. Words help Liesel understand herself and become an individual, but they are also Fuhrer’s instrument to hypnotize the mass of people.

“Soon there was nothing but scraps of words littered between her legs and all around her. The words. Why did they have to exist? Without them, there wouldn’t be any of this. Without words, the Fuhrer was nothing”.

The third point, we suppose, is how all the basic concepts are reflected: love, sympathy, courage, death, memory – this is a book both for children and for grown-ups. A family reading and a platform for serious discussions.

In the end of the discussion we remembered other works and creators that also contributed to the anti-war theme. Among them are the books: “All Quiet On The Western Front” by E.M.Remarque, “Death Of A Hero” by Richard Aldington, “For Whom the Bell Tolls” and “Farewell To Arms” by Ernest Hemingway, “The Red Badge Of Courage” by Stephen Crane, “The Boy In The Striped Pyjamas” by John Boyne. If you are in St. Petersburg, you can borrow them from our library. If not, you can borrow them from possibly any library in the world, because one can burn a hundred, a million copies of a novel, but they cannot burn the novel.





The British in St. Petersburg.

The legend says that the first ship, entering the waters of the Neva in 1704, was an English ship with Peter the Great on board. He brought with him first Englishmen who settled on the banks of future Saint-Petersburg. Those people were sailors, engineers, doctors and merchants.  They built houses and opened shops on the prospect called English line.

These facts, and many others, we have learned during the walking tour of the English St. Peterburg, held by Valeria Melnikova, author of the projects HOME-MADE English and LectureDAY.

engspb-13-960x600       engspb-3-960x600 With the course of time English population in the city increased and they played a big part in the political cultural and industrial life of the city and the country.

Walking along the English prospect and the English embankment we could see the houses where first Russian dandy lived, where first umbrellas appeared and even first toilet bowls were installed. All these things, and not only them, were invented by Englishmen and brought to Russia.

The English embankment can tell many stories about royal doctors and bankers, about the first English club, English theater and English church, and a real Russian Anglomania of the brilliant 19th century. It also can tell about the tragic year of 1917 when all this “beautiful wonderful world” disappeared and a new era began..

engspb-37-960x600Excursion: LectureDAY – lectures and excursions of all the English in St.Petersburg.

Foto: Aleksandra Kuznetsova

Reading Time: The CRACK by Charles Lambert

• Thu, 23 July at 6:30 pm at the British Book Centre
• The CRACK by Charles Lambert
• Register:
• With Lucy Beauclair (EF English First, USA)


Charles Lambert was born in the United Kingdom in 1953 but has lived in Italy for most of his adult life.

“The Crack” is from his collection of prize-winning stories, The Scent of Cinnamon and Other Stories (2008). The story is rather complex and very subtle, it received a lot of polar comments from audience.

“Stealing gives you a different view of the world. You find out there is nothing that can’t be transferred from the hands, or homes, or pockets, of one person into yours…the joy of theft doesn’t lie solely in getting your hands on what you want, but in depriving someone else of it.”©

Anyways, if Mr. Lambert’s goal was to provoke thought & an emotionally unsettling reaction, he’s achieved it!

Recommended level: Intermediate, Upper-Intermediate

Reading Time: The WICKER HUSBAND by Ursula Wills-Jones


  • Thu, 18 June at 6:30 pm at the British Book Centre
  • The WICKER HUSBAND by Ursula Wills-Jones
  • With Lucy Beauclair (EF English First, USA)

The author: Ursula Wills-Jones

grew up in Gloucestershire and lives in Bristol, where she keeps herself busily involved in writing, and also runs a night of live short story performances called Heads & Tales. She is a fan of folk and fairy tales, ghost stories and Victorian adventure novels.

Blog site:

The Wicker HusbandMvxaA2MpOrA

‘’Weird but nice’’ that’s what you think when you read “The wicker husband” written by Ursula Wills-Jones back in 2008. A village girl referred to by “the ugly girl” throughout the story, decided, after people gossiped about her life, to find her other half…

The theme of this short story is based around the villagers’ jealousy toward the ugly girl. Although this 2008 story is science fiction, it reads like an old fable or folk tale.

Don’t miss reading this story, it will end well, but you just won’t expect the end.

Film Club. June with James Dean.

Our Film Club in June devoted to James Dean (1931-1955), an iconic American actor.


He was a widely admired screen personality, a personification of the restless American youth of the mid-50’s, and an embodiment of the title of one of his film “Rebel Without A Cause.” Although his acting career was just tragically short – James Dean starred in three movies – he was nominated for two Academy Awards, for his performances in “East of Eden” and “Giant.”

9 June (Tue) 19:00  “East Of Eden” (USA, 1955), english subs.

Drawn from the last few pages of John Steinbeck’s mammoth novel, East of Eden is powerful, intense family drama, about rivalry between two sons for the love of their father.

23 June (Tue) 19:00 “A Rebel Without A Cause” (USA, 1955), english subs.

His true starring role, the one which fixed his image forever in American culture, was that of the brooding red-jacketed teenager Jim Stark in Nicholas Ray’s “A Rebel Without A Cause” (1955).

30 June (Tue) 19:00 “James Dean And Me” (documentary, 1996). Discussion.

Welcome to our Book Club!


📌 discussing: “The Pearl” by John Steinbeck with Ben Meredith (FORM language school)
📌 29 May (Friday), 6:30pm
📌“The Pearl” (1947) is a novella, the story of a pearl diver, Kino. It explores man’s nature as well as greed and evil. Steinbeck’s inspiration was a Mexican folk tale from La Paz, Baja California Sur, Mexico, which he had heard in a visit to the formerly pearl-rich region in 1940. The story is one of Steinbeck’s most popular books and has been widely used in high school classes.The Pearl is sometimes considered a parable.
📌In 1947 it was adapted into a Mexican film named La perla.
📌 one printed copy is available at the library!
📌 register: or call us on 575 16 34

Book Club: ‘Flowers for Algernon’

• Thu 26 Feb at 6.30pm at the British Book Centre.
Join our friendly conversation about this great novel, its story, characters and key themes. These meetings are facilitated by the BBCentre staff.
• Register: (for VK users) or call us on (+7 812) 575 16 34.
Reading the book in advance is required.
• E-version available:

Flowers for Algernon is the beloved, classic story of a mentally disabled man whose experimental quest for intelligence mirrors that of Algernon, an extraordinary lab mouse. In poignant diary entries, Charlie tells how a brain operation increases his IQ and changes his life. As the experimental procedure takes effect, Charlie’s intelligence expands until it surpasses that of the doctors who engineered his metamorphosis. The experiment seems to be a scientific breakthrough of paramount importance–until Algernon begins his sudden, unexpected deterioration. Will the same happen to Charlie?