I am planning NOT to stop at most of these places, at least on the way out and into Siberia, but these are books I would like to either read as I go past, or have already read and so remind myself of them as I go past. I need to find a good english-language bookshop in Siberia to avoid carrying some of these out there.
Versions of the train trip to scan through - Mark Taplin 'Open Lands: Travels through Russia's once forbidden places'; Ryszard Kapusinski 1958 trip in 'Imperium'; David Mitchell 'Ghostwritten'
Nizhni Novgorod - Maxim Gorky (born there, had the city named after him) & Andrey Sakharov (exiled there)
Perm - Dr.Zhivago written there, Chekhov's 'three sisters' set there.
Kazan - I will stop here, Tatar, Muslim, Genghis Khan themes
Yekaterinburg - death of Romanovs in 1917. Also features a lot in 'Railwaymen and Revolution: Russia 1905' by Henry Reichman, which i read on google books and was a bit boring - I guess it's hard to tell stories when you're working off such a vast geographical area and primarily using statistical sources. But basically it was the railwaymen who kicked off two general strikes in 1905 that galvanised the country and which, despite the military repression that followed, served to change the material basis of 'possibility' in old tsarist russia.
Tobolsk - exiles, Solzhenitzyn 'One Day in the Life...' etc..
Omsk - Dostoyevsky 'The House of the Dead', and centre of anti-Bolshevik forces in civil war.
(also Dostoyevsky's Idiots looks good)
Novosibirsk - built for the railway.
Tomsk - I might stop here, old Russia.
Krasnoyarsk - good place to go hiking.
Irkutsk - Siberian folktales, eg. 'The Sun Maiden and the Crescent Moon' James Riordan, and the Ugadan publishing books by Kira van Deusen, 'Fox Mischief', 'Shyaan am!', 'Woman of Steel''
Also Vladimir Korolenko 'Makar's Dream'; Avvakum's 'Life'; Dimitry Stonov 'In the past night: the Siberian stories'; Sergei Zalygin 'the commission'; Viktor Astafiev 'the cursed and the dead'; Vasili Shukshin 'Stories from a Siberian Village'; Valentin Rasputin 'Farewell to Matyora'
About Lake Baikal: Bartel Bull 'Around the Sacred Sea' (on horseback); Harmon Tupper 'To the Great Ocean'
Ulan Ude - Buryat/Buddhist centre, where I get off.
Local indigenous authors include:
Chuckhi - Iurii Rytkheu
Nivkhi: Chuner Taksami
Khanty: Yeremei Aipin
Anna Nerkagi (in 'Anxious North')
Yukagir: Semyon Kurilov
Chita - Decembrists 'The Queen of Siberia'