Linguist Asya Boyarskaya About Her Favorite Books

A life 2022

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Linguist Asya Boyarskaya About Her Favorite Books
Linguist Asya Boyarskaya About Her Favorite Books

Video: Linguist Asya Boyarskaya About Her Favorite Books

Video: We Asked People 'What's Your Favorite Novel?' 2022, December

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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, Asya Boyarskaya, who is engaged in linguistics in IT: search engines and artificial intelligence, shares her stories about her favorite books.


Asya Boyarskaya

linguist, artificial intelligence specialist

With time

I found that I only want to read

for pleasure

and nothing else

Everyone in my family read, but mostly my mother slipped the books - she made sure that I was interested, discussed them with me. I adored fairy tales, they were composed for me on the go and with continuation; there is a tape where I improvise myself, tell a story about a princess and her great-great-grandfather. They read a lot to me aloud: my great-grandmother was ready to read my favorite fairy tales over and over again, even in a circle. She sat in a chair, and I sat on the armrest. There is such a memory: my mother reads loudly in my ear “The Hobbit. There and back "right in the metro. I have never heard of such feats since then. On the way to the dacha, all three hours, she recited by heart to my brother and me the lengthy Death of King Arthur in Sokovnin's translation, which has never been published anywhere, but we have a notebook at home. My grandmother had huge unbearable books on genetics with scary pictures and even more unbearable dictionaries - she loved to learn languages ​​at her leisure. And, of course, there was a literature teacher at the gymnasium. She often wore black, she had an ashtray in the shape of a huge golden fly, and she said that Pechorin died simply because it was time. That is why Lermontov does not describe exactly how he died - it does not matter at all.

In the wake of my love of reading, I ended up at the Russian State University for the Humanities at the philological one. It was a dreary time. I also had literary ambitions - I spent the next year at the Literary Institute. But even there I did not sit out for a long time, but I got acquainted with modern poetry. Once at a tiny publishing house, at lunchtime, a woman complained about a dubious diploma in linguistics, which she defended the day before - she was on the commission. I brought up some quick counterargument, and she said that to be a linguist for me, I had to act urgently. So I did.

The big turn in reading happened not so long ago. As a teenager, I loved Dostoevsky, who over time smoothly flowed into Tolstoy. I read a lot, I was ashamed that I didn’t read more actively - there were a lot of people around, who somehow succeeded much more than mine. Then I came across the book "The Artist's Way", and there one of the tasks was not to read at all - for a week, or something. I decided to give it a try. It became clear that I spend 80% of my time on various kinds of texts, and also that this is not necessary. It was a challenge to look for new things to do. I cheated, of course. When I went to therapy, at some point I was offered to filter the information that came to me. It was about temporarily exchanging the entire unread philosophy of existentialism for videos of kittens. Over time, I discovered that I only wanted to read for pleasure and nothing else. So the worries that I do it a little have sunk into oblivion.

I don’t remember a single pivotal work for myself, there were many books-discoveries. I remember how, a few years after school, I rediscovered Fathers and Sons and burst into tears - this story seemed so cruel to me. I would now generally re-read the classics, first of all Pushkin. At school, he seemed flat to me, like many others, especially poetry: everything is so smoothly written, these rhymes, strict rhythm - there is nothing to catch my eye, I fell asleep. Until now, I mostly read free verses. But now I think that Alexander Sergeevich is our everything, the healthiest Russian-speaking writer.

There was a time of mysticism: I read religious literature, Rumi, Celan, I adored Rilke's first "Duino Elegy":

Isn't it time to be free

From our loved ones, trembling to endure liberation, Like an arrow withstands a bowstring before takeoff, To transcend yourself.

It passed completely, even offensively. Now I open the text, and if there is endless scope for interpretation, then I'm bored.

Salinger appeared at school. That same teacher gave me an A plus for my essay on "The Catcher in the Rye" in the fifth grade. I reread it recently: the focus is that Holden Caulfield doesn't fit well with capitalist reality. Salinger has been my favorite author for half of my reading life. Nine Stories was written as if specially for me. Later I got hold of his complete collected works - it fit into one book. Much became clear about the Glass family, I just went crazy with love for them. There was only one thing I could not understand: why did Salinger's main character, Seymour, commit suicide? Seymour for me was like Jesus, only 100% human and more understandable than the unfortunate Prince Myshkin. He was capable of subtle compassion - it generally united many books that I liked then. The question is: why does such a person want to die? I was pondering a letter to Salinger just a few days before his death in 2010. Later I read the autobiography of his daughter, and all my love vanished as if by magic. The question about Seymour's suicide also disappeared.

I carry books with me like crazy. It's still hard for me to imagine a trip without a couple of paper books. Once in Spain, Maugham's hefty tome saved my life. A young man with whom I met for several years wrote to me somewhere in social networks that it was all over. It was a difficult codependent relationship, the breakup seriously nailed me to the ground. All day long I sat on the balcony, reading and looking at the mountains. I don’t know what I would have done if it had not been for an amazing book - then I absolutely needed to be distracted.

Once in Spain, Maugham's hefty tom saved

my life


Heinrich Böll

House without an owner

This is a children's book and probably the most important one. From it grew my idea of ​​justice, including morality. Böll was able to tell me about post-war Germany in such a way that I understood. The decision not to eat meat is also connected with the "House without a Master": the grandmother traditionally drags the boy to the restaurant, everywhere there is red on the plates, and he is scared, the waiters say about them: "The Grand Duchess has come with her vomit" - this image somehow imprinted in memory. Mom slipped me the book, she was in charge of my children's reading, and I liked everything. I do not know where she got it, the appearance of the publication is unusual. It is intertwined with a fabric that is very pleasant to the touch - apparently, someone did it with their hands.

As a child, I did not understand the religious component, for me it was such a jumble of meanings and images - just life, just stories. But Böll is very Christianized, in the sense of a breakthrough of affection and sympathy for a person - but at the same time, he is constantly polemicizing with Catholicism. In his other book, Group Portrait with a Lady, there is a wonderful image: a beautiful, educated nun who selflessly kisses one of the characters in the monastery garden.

Tove Jansson

The sculptor's daughter

I bought this book by accident, in Chelyabinsk. It was published disgustingly, there was a photo of porcelain dolls on the cover - I tore it off. And since then I have never seen it in paper. "The Sculptor's Daughter" is an autobiographical book, Tove Jansson talks about his childhood. Everything there is like in stories about Moomins, only about people: a lot of humor, warmth and truth about life. I love the description of a typical binge when Tove was little: she was put to bed, and the bed floated among the flickering candles in the cigarette smoke, dad's friends got drunk and attacked the wicker chair, and in the morning you had to behave very carefully so as not to disturb the precarious balance.The book invariably cheers me up, and I also have fun looking for prototypes of future characters from Moomins. For example, it seems to me that I now know where the image of the mindless creatures of the hatifnuttes came from - but I will not tell you.

Richard Brautigan

In watermelon sugar

This is a sad book in its own way, and soft. I read it not so long ago and fell ill with Brautigan - I began to read everything that he praised - it turned out that it was not that. I tried to foist my dad, who read it and noticed that it says on the back that the author had committed suicide - in general, he had a picture. The book simply fascinated me from the first page, it is impossible to tear yourself away from it. Brautigan built a beautiful, very laconic world of pine, watermelon sugar and stones. But for me it’s a story about things just happening and then passing away - so it seemed to me.

Toon Tellegen

Letters only for insiders

An excellent book about the relationship between animals, Tellegen has a whole series of these, and all are good. Gatherings of squirrels and an ant at sunset, an elephant who dreams of dancing in trees more than anything else, a shy aphid that does not leave the house - in general, this is one of my favorite books to read aloud to friends. She also promotes basic values: honey and beech nuts. All stories end well.

Lyudmila Petrushevskaya

True Tales

This is also a book from childhood. I remember well that with impatience I read it aloud to my grandfather while I am sick, and not vice versa. The stories in it are not like fairy tales, they are really too real. Later I read at Petrushevskaya's everything that my hands could reach, but there the stories were more harsh, I missed in them this straightforward humor from fairy tales, insisted on life experience. I took them on recently - it turned out that I was still crying over some of them.

Linor Goralik


Goralik is a very important author for me, at different times I am moved by different texts. But this story is not losing ground, it holds. Very touching, subtle, funny - right about us right now. She also wrote the novel "No" in collaboration with Sergei Kuznetsov - now it is about the future.

Vigen Arakelyan

In the beak and sound

This is the only collection of poetry that I will mention here, despite the fact that poetry is very important to me. I have a long and complicated relationship with great, well-known poets - but Vigen's book came out quite recently, and it is good. There seems to be no pretense in it, no poetic arrogance, but only observations. It also seems to me that, since the language is not native, it treats words in a special way, not the way we are used to.

Julia Cameron

The Artist's Way

This is an instruction book, sort of like a 12-step program for anonymous artists. Cameron, herself a well-known author, gives fascinating tasks to find herself in creativity. Thanks to her, I developed a strong habit of keeping a diary in the morning, which served me faithfully for several years. To be honest: I did other tasks out of pressure, started and dropped several times, but writing texts in the end became much easier. I am grateful to Cameron for the fact that in part it was she who helped me say goodbye to my inner literary snob and perfectionist.

John Shemyakin

Wild master

Shemyakin's book appeared after we decided to do this material. I opened it and realized that my tastes had changed so much over the course of several years of therapy that I would have to throw out all the Tolstoy and Dostoevskys from the list, because lately I have been badly tolerating martyrdom and torment. This book is such that we laugh out loud with the whole family. The style, indeed, "wild master", does not look like anything. I bought it on the recommendation of Tolstoy, he is her protege.

Alexander Voitsekhovsky

My Endless Friend

First I saw his calendar in Khodasevich, I had a lunch break. I grabbed it, and he was over the past year - I was upset, and then I saw the book.I think that with our climate it is imperative to hang something cheerful on the walls. Voitsekhovsky's pictures are almost stories, and they are good ones, they are from Petersburg, he often makes signatures. He himself is amazing - I went to his exhibition.

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