INTERVIEW: Alisa Taezhnaya
PHOTOS: Pavel Kryukov
MAKEUP: Fariza Rodriguez
IN THE HEADING "BOOKSHELF" we ask journalists, writers, scientists, curators and other heroines about their literary preferences and publications, which occupy an important place in their bookcase. Today, Svetlana Bozrova, a biochemist-immunologist and a researcher at the MEPhI laboratory of nanobioengineering, shares her stories about her favorite books.
biochemist-immunologist and researcher of the laboratory of nanobioengineering at MEPhI
Reading for me is always a departure to another world, a partly otherworldly experience
Almost from birth, my mother's reading aloud was the best evening entertainment for me. I often forced my mother or sister to re-read the same thing, one of my favorite fairy tales was Bazhov's "Stone Flower" - I still, falling asleep, sometimes imagine this flower. "The Scarlet Flower" and "The Little Humpbacked Horse" fascinated and now fascinate me with their incredible, as if fiery magic.
I vividly remember the moment when I discovered at the age of eight that I enjoy the book. It was "The Wizard of the Emerald City" by Volkov - and since then I have read everything that we had at home: standard adventures for a child, stories about animals and novels for children. I literally lived in an imaginary book world and even built all the games with friends based on the plots of my favorite books.
As a teenager, I entered a special school with an unusual program: at the age of 14-15 we read Apuleius's Golden Ass, Don Quixote in the original and many other literature that is usually not read at this age. Then I realized that reading can also be a challenge: it was difficult for me, but what pleasure did I get when I reached the next peak. For a long time, my favorite authors were Salinger with The Catcher in the Rye and Kerouac with On the Road and Maggie Cassidy. As a teenager, I saw in them a dream of the future, alluring freedom, I felt the atmosphere of blues and night summer roads. But, although I still love Salinger very much and believe that this book played an important role in my formation, I changed my attitude towards Kerouac. Now, in my opinion, his books describe the deepest emptiness inside, the throwing of the soul, leading not to its rebirth, but to its disappearance into nowhere.
A difficult period for free reading began at the university: the load on the biology faculty was so strong that I had time to read only professional literature. To my shame, in five years of study, I read at most ten books - and now I can't remember which ones. It was very difficult to train yourself to read again - like re-learning to walk in the literary world. I quickly abandoned many books: nothing grabbed me as much as in childhood and adolescence. The transitional book was "Terribly Loud and Extremely Close" by Jonathan Safran Foer, probably, it was she who brought me back to literary life. It was beautifully printed, and it was especially pleasant to hold it in my hands - this did not allow me to put it off in the very first minutes, and, carried away, I could not tear myself away from it. The strongest impression I got from this book was the illustrations, not the text. Many people probably know the famous shot of a man who jumped on September 11 from one of the twin towers. In the book, he is storyboarded in the opposite direction - so that when flipping through the pages with a series of these photographs, it seems that he is not falling down, but rising up.
Reading for me is always a departure into another world, like a dream: it can be pleasant, it can be terrible and difficult, but this experience is partly otherworldly. Now the choice of a book becomes difficult every time: the feeling that I read a little and do not have time for myself in my desires almost never leaves me.I have a beautiful e-book that helps me organize my reading: when you can see how much is left to read, the feeling that I am running out of time releases a little. And it also allows me not to buy paper books that have nowhere to put: I try to bypass the bookstores, because I know that if you run me there, something terrible can happen.
I try to bypass bookstores: if you run me there, a terrible thing can happen
I appreciate all Eco's books for their layering. Having passed the test threshold of one hundred pages, everyone will find their own value for themselves: this is an exciting literary plot, and deep knowledge of history, and intricate interweaving of fiction and what actually happened. In "Baudolino" it is incredibly exciting to follow how skillfully the author takes the reader away from the really existing historical world of the Middle Ages into the world of fantasies, the boundaries between which are extremely blurred.
Patti Difusa and other texts
I took up the book because of its cover, and also because it was written by one of my favorite filmmakers. She radically turned my world upside down: I was a candy girl and a sophomore at Moscow State University, and such frank dialogues shocked me at first. But I quickly plunged into the prose of Almodovar: this book greatly changed my attitude towards people in general. Many people think that women who sell themselves are the lowest class of people, scum. At least, unfortunately, I used to adhere to this opinion. Almodovar reveals Patti's world, her experiences, goals and thoughts. Even if they are very different from my own, but not deprived of their own beauty and charm. After this book, prostituted women in my eyes ceased to be things, they found their faces and their stories.
Childhood and adolescence of Sergei Rachmaninoff
This book was thrown to me by my sister, knowing my love for music. At first I grimaced (I don't really like biographies of unknown authors), and then I decided to give in and read. It turned out to be Tolstoy's wonderful, very lively story about the rise of Rachmaninoff. Most of all in the book I remember the episode about Rachmaninov's passing the exam in harmony. The subject was complex, and Sergei was obviously not interested in it. However, the deuce deprived him of the opportunity to continue his studies at the conservatory, and this was absolutely unthinkable for him. In a few days, he managed to prepare himself so well that he got almost excellent with a plus, while his colleague Scriabin, who also disliked harmony, received a three.
It's funny to know that great composers also received grades and were worried about them. And that one great was competing with another great. The image of Rachmaninov after reading it is ambiguous: not very stubborn in learning, in music he found his passion. At the same time, there was nothing demonic in him, as, for example, in Paganini or Salieri - a kind, bright, deeply sympathetic person.
“The demon is midday. Anatomy of a Depression "
I would call this book a reference book for everyone who has encountered mental illness. At one time I fought with one of them, and this book was like a breath of air for me. It helps to realize that you are not alone and that your struggle is not a war with dark spirits. The book covers all aspects of depression: each chapter is a description of one of these aspects, for example, "Treatment" or "Breakdowns". For me, the most important discovery was that you need to accept your illness, otherwise it will not be defeated. Do not accept, but accept. And be prepared for the fact that she may return, but now not as something terrible and carrying unbearable suffering, but as an old acquaintance with a difficult character, with whom, however, you have already learned to communicate.
Blues. Introduction to history
Even before reading this book, I had my favorite blues musicians - nothing exotic, they are Ray Charles and Bessie Smith.It was amazingly interesting to learn about their ups and downs of inspiration, the years at the bottom and the heights of fame. From the book, you have the feeling as if you have visited the States of the twentieth century and walked through the bars, where charismatic singers and singers talk about inescapable longing, fate and the most personal experiences. It is interesting that in the book the author does not ignore the pragmatic side of music - producers and recording studios. Thus, you learn not only the details of private biographies, but also what was of interest to the public at that time and to what people the musicians owe the fact that their work has remained in history.
History of Cinematography
The appearance of the textbook Sadul in my library was a real gift - my boyfriend searched several second-hand bookstores and found a short version. The book covers the period from the birth of cinema to the outbreak of World War II. For Georges Sadoul, cinema is his Love with a capital letter. And he tells the reader a story about this love, trying not to miss the slightest detail. I am very attracted to the way he synthesizes cinema into other aspects of life, without separating it from the economy or the history of progress. Taking this book in my hands, I knew practically nothing about cinema, so it became my guide - before I knew, perhaps, only the names of the Lumière brothers and Thomas Edison. Honestly, I haven't read it in full yet. After her, watching modern cinema became much more interesting - now I began to wonder how films at the box office relate to modern history and politics.
Alexander Gorbachev, Ilya Zinin
Songs into the void
I closely follow the novelties of the Corpus publishing house, and I knew about this book that it had a chapter on Vienna D’rkin. I love Venya since adolescence, at the age of 16 his friends showed me. He's actually a seer. In some of his songs, if you listen carefully, you will notice that he knew about his fate. Shivering from the lines "Old dust of rock and roll in attics, I pierced my pupils with a needle." Pinned to never forget. Venya is also absolutely honest. His songs are about himself: his irony is overt and sharp, his sadness is deep, and his love is endless.
I reread the chapter about Venechka several times - with tears, of course. It was surprising to learn about the stages of his life: how he began to play, how he earned, how he found his life partner, and, of course, about the years of his illness and the premonition of the end, and to compare - many songs for me ceased to be just songs. So little was left about this man that every word was very dear to me. And although I was just born in the nineties, an inexplicable longing for this strange time woke up in me.
Avoid being boring
I bought "Avoid the boring" after seeing the name of the great biologist and the description - lessons for young scientists. For young people pursuing a scientific career, this book is incredibly useful indeed. She explains that success at work comes from many components, not just luck or brilliant talent. Watson, no matter how I relate to his personality (he was a terrible carousel and did not miss a single laboratory assistant), shows in this book how important it is not only to think and have an education, but also to be attentive to the people around him, to his time, to rest and privacy.
One of his most important advice to me is not to be afraid to accept help from senior mentors and colleagues. A scientist will never make a discovery alone. After all, if Watson had not allowed his mother to edit the documents for submission to the university, everything could have ended differently for him. And, of course, "avoid being boring." After all, if neither you nor people are interested, then what kind of discoveries are there?
Dostoevsky without gloss
Dostoevsky is my author-guide, with whom I constantly relate myself. My favorite with him is "The Brothers Karamazov": in the novel there is rage, hopelessness, endless love, and the whole soul of the author.Fokine dwells in detail on Dostoevsky's adult life, beginning with his exile. Then, in four years, he was formed as a person - strong, prophetic and deeply humble. Without this period of his life, Dostoevsky would hardly have known suffering as deeply as he describes it in his books. The book contains versatile views of Dostoevsky's contemporaries. A book differs from a collection of letters or memoirs in that it consists of small excerpts from different people: it can be a piece of correspondence, pieces of memories of loved ones, fragments of documents. And you get the feeling that you are holding not a book, but a time machine.
Larry Young, Brian Alexander
“The chemistry of love. A scientific view of love, sex and attraction "
In my opinion, one of the best popular science books about a person, which I would recommend for everyone to read. It is very clear, and, moreover, in a scientific language, with evidence and explanations, the reader is shown how the brain works when falling in love, when gaining affection, with motherly love. At the same time, after the book, there is absolutely no feeling that nothing depends on you, you are just a biological machine and there is no romance. No, by no means, but reading it gives you an understanding of why your boyfriend is looking at beauties on the subway.
Many may have a natural question: what then, all human vices, including treason, can be explained by biochemistry? If you wish, of course you can. But the structure of our brain leaves us the opportunity to make decisions, because looking at a beauty is not at all the same as cheating on a wife. Although I, as a biologist, imagined how the brain and hormones work, many of the facts from the book were a revelation to me. For example, that a person is naturally polygamous. Yes, he may be monogamous, but this is already his conscious decision. And if he did not have awareness, he would be like vole mice, one season - one family.