INTERVIEW: Alisa Taezhnaya
PHOTOS: Vlada Krasilnikova
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, the writer Katya Metelitsa shares her stories about her favorite books.
in childhood, the book "Songbirds of the Moscow Region", learned a little
whether not by heart
As a child, I was a netsuke "Reading Girl": I never parted with books, trembled over them. I broke my eyes, as my parents said, who themselves, by the way, passionately collected the library. Blue Chekhov, light yellow Alexei Tolstoy, dark green Hugo, black Hemingway - how I loved "Fiesta", how I sobbed over "Farewell to arms!" Series “Literary Monuments” with cool notes, series “Library of World Literature” with a pegasus on the logo, anthology “Three Centuries of Russian Poetry”.
I read some volumes, stuck to strange, out of nowhere publications; For example, she passionately loved the book "The Songbirds of the Moscow Region", reread it, learned it almost by heart. The robin, the oriole, and the nightjar were my heroes. And the nuthatch, especially the nuthatch. Once I was swinging with the Singing Birds on a swing, dropped it, threw myself under the swing - to save, the swing hit me on the back of the head, smacked my nose into the sand, then walked all wounded. The book had to be glued together, and then it got lost somewhere. I was already fifteen years old, I think. Well, maybe twelve. My development is not the fastest, to be honest.
In general, although I, as a decent person, read everything that is supposed to be, my personal manner of communicating with books has always been very childish, childish. Read and be afraid - for example, The Hound of the Baskervilles. I really liked Sebastian Japrizo: “Killing Summer”, “Trap for Cinderella”, “Lady in the Car with Glasses and a Gun” - it seemed to me that all this was about me. But this is already sixteen years old.
When after university (I studied at the Faculty of Journalism) I began to re-read the Russian classics, I realized that in fact I had never actually read it. Except for Dostoevsky and Gogol - these have always been right in the blood. But here's Anna Karenina - I even made a comic strip based on it to convey my amazement. It seems to me that no one has actually read this book at all - judging by how amazed and disbelieved everyone is when I quote from it. Or Pushkin's The Queen of Spades is pure cyberpunk. “War and Peace” - I still cannot make an effort to read normally, I cannot overcome my school trauma. And here's another - Chekhov. Prose, stories. So grown up, so scary. What is Houellebecq.
Detectives, shisk lit - I once read this to my heart's content, but now I don't read it at all. It's just that it no longer gives any pleasure, it is very boring. “Book novelties of the year” - I also stopped following this, sheer disappointments. Although Donna Tartt liked The Goldfinch very much. But her "Secret History" - chewed with difficulty, "Little Friend" - also could not. Franzen's "Amendments" - this book just plowed me over. As if I went to a psychoanalyst for a year, and not voluntarily. But his other novels are just bypassed: maybe they were translated somehow wrong or not written for me. In general, now I hardly read fiction at all - only books about the structure of the world and how the brain works. Well, and Pelevin - but this is a special, such a communication session, going on the air.
If you choose
the most important
book for faith
and about faith -
this is "Moomin troll
The Seraphini Code
I call it the first, because if I had to choose a single book (“on a desert island”), I would have taken it. This is the most fascinating book in the world, picture book, toy book.SERAPHINIANUS stands for Strange and Extraordinary Representations of Animals and Plants and Hellish Incarnations of Normal Items from the Annals of Naturalist / Unnaturalist Luigi Serafini. ".
A visual encyclopedia of a fictional world, written in a fictional language. History and geography, chemistry and physics, chimera plants and surreal animals, mechanisms and all sorts of gizmos (Serafini was engaged in industrial design), a bizarre civilization. 360 pages of pure rapture. You can look at it, speculate, dream it up to infinity, you will never get bored.
Jorge Luis Borges
Encyclopedia of Fictional Creatures
One of the books that inspired Luigi Serafini to create his Codex. And for a long time, the only favorite book of my eldest son Mitya, from about five years old and maybe up to ten. Ink Monkey and Six-Legged Antelope, Eloi and Morlocks, Kumbaba and Gatobleps - these were the heroes of his childhood. The coolest book, and in our 1994 edition it is also under the same cover with Ludwig Soucek's Encyclopedia of Common Delusions. Quite a strange publishing whim, but also a good chance to form some kind of worldview. Criticism of conventional wisdom plus cataloging of fantasies.
Leonardo da Vinci, marco polo
"Judgments about Science and Art" and "Book
about the diversity of the world"
Two completely different books, but in my system they exist in pairs - precisely in contrast. It is very cool to read them together, you can even read them in parallel: a little from there, a little from here. Leonardo da Vinci - solid icy sarcasm, surgeon humor. According to the principle "let's call things in our own words." More precisely - “we will describe them as they are”. As he describes, for example, a wedding custom. Or, for example, sausage: a pig that has swallowed itself.
And here at this point you can make a bookmark and go to Marco Polo: with what childish amazement he describes a tailed snake with sharp teeth and clawed paws encountered in distant lands - a truly devilish creature. (Crocodile? Varan? Probably a monitor lizard. But, by the way, there are not four paws, but two - higher than the belly.) If you read that, it's much more interesting to walk the streets, not to mention everything else.
Watching the British
An incredibly funny and witty book written by a hereditary anthropologist: Kate Fox's parents started her and her sister to play with chimpanzee cubs, while they themselves made observations and wrote scientific papers. And she came up with a brilliant thing: as if her compatriots, the British, are such a tribe, and she, as a scientist, observes and describes their habits. Sometimes even her own: how she stands, for example, all alone at the bus stop and waits for the bus, but stands not just like, not relaxed, but as if leading a line of one person - at the edge of the roadway, hands at the seams, head half-turned to the right … Because she is also from this tribe, and she has a reverent attitude towards queues in her blood. Well, that's all. With the British, this approach, of course, works especially effectively, if only because they have a pronounced class society, clear cultural strata. But at home, to be honest, it warms. And traveling. Previously, I always had such a Roland Barthes cell in my head, now Kate Fox is there next to it.
Alan Alexander Milne
Winnie the Pooh
I can't imagine how you can live without this book, and why. It has so much charm, so many gifts. Moreover, these are like two different stories - the original, Milna, and the Russian, Milna - Zakhoder, as well as Shepard's illustrations, and Disney, and our cartoon with the voice of Yevgeny Leonov. In general, the whole world. And all these witty fan stuff: about Winnie the Pooh and Taoism; about the psychotypes of Winnie the Pooh, Rabbit, Eeyore, Kengi, Tigers, Little Ru, Owls and others. (The most controversial, if anything, Piglet: he, by the way, dreamed of running away from home and becoming a sailor, and also wrote Salvation.)
When my son Fyodor was little, we read it every evening, he didn't want any others - I understand.It is also the best book to learn English: simple and challenging at the same time. And the bottom is not visible, unlike many.
Agatha Christie has written a lot of different things, but she has great books. Murder on the Orient Express is on the level of Murders on the Rue Morgue by Edgar Poe (who, by the way, I consider one of the best writers in the world, somewhere along with Shakespeare). And her autobiography - there are wonderful moments. For example, how their car broke down in the desert, and while they were trying to fix it, she lay in the shadow of this truck and fell asleep. And her future husband (the second, an archaeologist), then confessed to her that it was at that moment that he firmly decided to marry her at all costs.
ABC of my life
A very nice book with everything: a little biography, a little about cinema, a little about men, a little about outfits, and a recipe for something with chanterelles, and a recipe for pot-au-feu - quite working, I cook using it. And, for example, about stationery and hardware stores - that they have an inspiring effect on her, comparable only to going to the opera. Actually, without this book, with all its charm, one can probably live, but at one time it fascinated me so much that I could not restrain myself and wrote the same form - also like the alphabet. But I was ashamed and called it simply "The ABC of Life" - not "mine", I'm not a movie star. And then a few more collections - also in alphabetical order. Not the worst formal reception, why not.
Moomin troll and the comet
I do not accept religious texts well, I need some kind of guide. But not a theologian - I also perceive theologians badly. Philosophers sometimes. For example, I read "Candida" - and it was as if I had made a tattoo on my arm: "Everyone should cultivate their own garden." It is always with me and it is very supportive. The best guide to Orthodoxy is probably Dostoevsky, to Catholicism - Chesterton with his father Brown, but if you choose the most important book for faith and about faith, this is "The Moomintroll and the Comet." Like the film "Melancholy", but only as if for children, and therefore everything does not end the way it did there. Although in general it can be read in very different ways, in very different ways. But always - divine delight. And the main one there is Moominmama, of course. This is who the real spiritual leader is.
World bestseller, "Booker" of 2010, but the circulation of the Russian translation is only five thousand copies, I bought it almost by accident. I opened it, froze - and read all day and all night. By the way, I have no idea what is going on with the quality of the translation, and the author's style does not matter: an ordinary, rather simple language. The author is a Canadian journalist, written on the basis of real events, hellish and sensational (a psychopath kidnaps a girl, she lives in his captivity, gives birth to a child, they run away - and the story does not end there). Meat, yes - but this is not the main thing, you never know meat around. The main thing is that this book, The Room, is the greatest, highest work of existentialism; Camus and Sartre are fighting, probably like carps, in their coffins. The first part is a borderline situation, the second is about the fact that “hell is others”; I'm going to reread it with the spirit. They made a movie based on this book, I haven't watched it and probably won't. And belles-lettres after that I practically stopped reading. I just can't, everything is boring.