One of the main topics of the 68th NZ issue is books, writing of books, books release, sale and reading. The first block of articles of this issue is wholly devoted thereto. It starts with a research of transition from reading aloud to reading silently to oneself in the Ancient Greece (by the Swedish historian of culture Jesper Svenbro). William Mahon describes unusual for the Western Europe blossoming of Irish hand-written underground press in the 17th-19th centuries when printing was already widespread. Svetlana Bykova analyzes book’s functions in the tragic period of the Soviet history - during the Great terror. This theme is continued by Polina Barskova in the article “The Book’s Weight: Reading Strategy in Blockade Leningrad”. Two conversations follow further: the first one is between NZ editor Andrey Zakharov and philosopher and literary critic Leonid Karasev devoted to books and book culture, the second one - between historian Nikolay Mitrokhin and executive of the office of the Central Committee of Communist Party of the Soviet Union Vadim Kostrov, devoted to his work with party printing and publishing houses. This very block is adjoined by Alexander Kustarev\'s column “On Leisure Reading” (Political Imaginary) and the documentary fragment of the Internet diary of literary critic and journalist Olga Balla “Lytdybr of Bibliofag” (Morals and Mores).
Another major topic of the 68th issue is the history and memory - two next sections are devoted thereto. The first one concerns, most of all, theoretical problems: some “features of historical consciousness” are considered in the article by Dmitry Gorin, the “past” and “memory” in the context of totalitarianism and exit from it are the topic presented by Galina Mikhaleva (“Overcoming of the Totalitarian Past: Foreign Experience and the Russian Problems”) and Anna Shor-Chudnovskaya (“To Understand the Post-Soviet Person”). “Holocaust: The Ignored Reality”, the article by Timothy Snyder is published here as a kind of “transition” from the theory to actual history. The next section deals exclusively with memories on a particular historical process - the struggle of the East European countries peoples against communistic regimes and thereafter, the total falling of communism in this region. Alexander Stykalin analyzes memory of the year 1956 in Hungary as an important factor of events of the year 1989 that led to a peaceful refusal of socialism. Here there are fragments from the diary of Soviet geophysicist Vladimir Vycherov who came to be in Poland in the heat of strikes observing rise of “Solidarity”. At the end, Nikolay Morozov tries to answer a question: what the nature of the bloody events in Romania in 1989 is; whether it is possible to speak about national revolution, or about a plot, and if the latter is the case, whether this plot is internal or external. The Post-Soviet realities of the former socialist Eastern Europe are described in the article of Ukranian journalist Ayda Bolivar “They Grow Rich, and She Simply Works”, devoted to the analysis of the pre-election political situation in Ukraine.
The peculiarity of this issue is expanded NZ interview section. It started with the conversation with Richard Pipes - the patriarch of American Russian and Soviet studies and the author of numerous publications regarding Russian history. It follows by the talk between NZ editor Andrey Zakharov and philosopher, publisher and one of the founders of the Moscow School of Political Studies Yuri Senokosov. They touch upon subjects of Russian history, civic education and, taking into account the main topic of the issue - book publishing.
As always there are authors’ columns by Alexey Levinson (Sociological Lyrics) and NZ editor-in-chief Ilya Kalinin (Daily Political Economy), Russian Intellectual Journals’ Review (by Vyacheslav Morozov) and New Books section. Here we should mention Alexander Bobrakov-Timoshkin’s response to the new Czech edition of memoirs of the last president of the First Czechoslovak republic, Edvard Beneš and Irina Kosterina’s review of Igor Kon’s book “Man in a Changing World”.