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jiminy cricket

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Vladimir Nabokov: The Luzhin Defense (2000) 4 stars

The Defense is the third novel written by Vladimir Nabokov after he had emigrated to …

Chess kinda cool tho

5 stars

Great book. Very interesting look at both life-in-exile for the Russian bourgeoisie post-revolution, at artistic/excellent genius, and at chess. Luzhin was interesting and enjoyable to converse with. Prose vibrant, lyrical, etc, vivid. Now spoilers ahead so:

The book was an interesting interrogation of what we can call infantile genius, or schizoid genius I guess. I'm sure there's a proper term for this, but I don't know it. But Luzhin being pushed around his whole life essentially, being a brilliant chess-player, but also a pawn, was interesting. I think this is something many brilliant sportspeople can likely recognize today, or people who excel in a certain field, and are pushed to pursue it from a young age. You have control only in the game, and so the game consumes even more of your life outside it, which I guess makes it harder to get control again. For Luzhin he of course …

Dag Hammarskjöld: Markings. (1964, Knopf) 5 stars


5 stars

I read this in Swedish. This is a book by Secretary-General of the UN, Dag Hammarskjöld, who was shot down by far-right paramilitaries fighting for the Belgian-backed Katanga militias during the Congo crisis. He was, and perhaps will always be, the greatest Secretary-General the UN has had. This is because he was a true visionary.

Vägmärken, as Markings is called in Swedish, is a text he was apparently working on during the Congo Crisis. It's made up of aphorisms, and of observations, both from his own life, as well as of the experience of being human. A lot of it is Christian, a lot of it is kind of Nietzschean, in the sense that Hammarskjöld is hammering home the idea that you really have to work for your ideals, and have faith in them, and that through this they'll come to pass. He was a remarkable man, and I didn't …