PTRK press service frequently publishes book recommendations by President Tokayev. The selections are comprehensive, ranging from notable Kazakh literature to modern international bestsellers. Out of curiosity, QazMonitor scanned the list to find out who else had read the same book as the Kazakh leader.
The former president of the United States gave a very positive review of "All Quiet on the Western Front" by Erich Maria Remarque. He said that the German writer’s classic is ‘One of the greatest books of all time.’ President Tokayev featured the novel on his Instagram back in 2020 as part of a ‘What book do you read?’ challenge.
"All Quiet on the Western Front" tells the story of a group of young Germans who enlist in World War I after being captivated by slogans of patriotism and honor. It is narrated by the protagonist, Paul Baumer, who is 20 years old. The young men soon learn that the romanticized version of war that lured them in is nothing like the harrowing reality they are forced to face.
One of the greatest American singer-songwriters with a musical career of over 60 years also shares a passion for the same novel by Erich Maria Remarque. After Bob Dylan won the Nobel Prize for Literature in 2016, he was required to give a lecture within six months of the ceremony. That was when the singer gave his truly poetic review of the novel.
“'All Quiet on the Western Front' is a horror story. This is a book where you lose your childhood, your faith in a meaningful world, and your concern for individuals. You’re stuck in a nightmare. Sucked up into a mysterious whirlpool of death and pain. You’re defending yourself from elimination. You’re being wiped off the face of the map. Once upon a time, you were an innocent youth with big dreams about being a concert pianist. Once you loved life and the world, and now you’re shooting it to pieces.”
Another book both Tokayev and Dylan have a common appreciation for is Anton Chekhov’s Stories. According to The New Yorker, the songwriter said he was inspired by Chekhov when writing the album "Blood On The Tracks".
Neil deGrasse Tyson
The American astrophysicist and author of popular books on astronomy hosted an ask-me-anything session on Reddit, where he recommended eight books, each containing a powerful lesson about the world we live in. One of them, which the Kazakh President also recommended, is "The Prince" by Niccolò Machiavelli. Tyson said the book helps one "to learn that people not in power will do all they can to acquire it, and people in power will do all they can to keep it."
"The Prince" is a 16th-century political treatise written by Italian diplomat and political theorist Niccolò Machiavelli as an instruction guide for new princes and royals. The general theme of "The Prince" is of accepting that the aims of a prince – such as glory and survival – can justify the use of immoral means to achieve those ends. The book has received many contradicting interpretations by readers and reviewers, as some think the book aims to deceive or even give a satirical comment.