Look for books in the Five College Library Catalog using a keyword or subject search.
For books about an author's work, try a keyword search combining the author's name with "criticism" or "interpretation." For example: Dostoyevsky and criticism
Or a more specific topic such as: Dostoyevsky and women
For historical background, it helps to use specific subject headings. For example, try a "Subject Begins With" search on:
Russia history 1801-1917
Russia social conditions 1801-1917
Russia social life and customs 19th century
Saint Petersburg (Russia) history
Use the index display to browse to books on that topic.