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Book 24

  1. Grossmith, George & Weedon — The Diary of a Nobody (166 pages)
  2. McCarthy, Cormac — Blood Meridian (334 pages)
  3. Moore, Alan & Dave Gibbons — Watchmen (399 pages)
  4. Moore, Christopher — Lamb: The Gospel According to Biff, Christ's Childhood Pal (507 pages)
  5. Murger, Henri — The Bohemians of the Latin Quarter (381 pages)
  6. Walk with Me: A Lenten Journey of Prayer for 2009 (98 pages)
  7. Douglas, Lloyd C. — The Robe (438 pages)
  8. Robinson, Marilynne — Gilead (281 pages)
  9. Jerome, Jerome K. — Three Men in a Boat (182 pages)
  10. Satrapi, Marjane — Persepolis (343 pages)
  11. Dodge, Jim — Fup (121 pages)
  12. Bauby, Jean-Dominique — The Diving-Bell and the Butterfly (114 pages)
  13. Fleming, Ian — Casino Royale (219 pages)
  14. Blake, Quentin — Clown (30 pages)
  15. Weigel, George — The Courage To Be Catholic (249 pages)
  16. Ishiguro, Kazuo — The Remains of the Day (255 pages)
  17. Orwell, George — Animal Farm (125 pages)
  18. Garner, James Finn — Politically Correct Bedtime Stories (81 pages)
  19. Robinson, Marilynne — Home (339 pages)
  20. Opera Magazine — Basses in Opera: Profiles of thirteen great basses (96 pages)
  21. Beaumarchais, Pierre-Augustin Caron de — The Figaro Trilogy (David Coward, transl.) (335 pages)
  22. Keyes, Daniel — Flowers for Algernon (217 pages)
  23. Bök, Christian — Eunoia (94 pages)
  24. Zweig, Stefan — Chess (76 pages)

Page count: 5480.

This posthumously-published novella is also known as The Royal Game or Chess Story (Schachnovelle in German). Whatever you choose to call it, I never thought I'd find an account of chess matches so engrossing. This is a fascinating little book!

The premise is simple. The narrator finds himself on a ship from New York to Buenos Aires with the enigmatic reigning World Champion of chess. The champ consents to a couple of games of chess, himself against the collection of spectators. The games are, shockingly, closer than expected, thanks to the help of a mysterious stranger.

As taut and exciting as the description of the chess matches are, they encompass only a few pages of the novella. It's the backstory that is so fascinating. Zweig delves into the history and psychology of the chess champ and the unlikely challenger, where we discover a couple of unusual and disturbing stories.

There's not much more I can say about a book as short as Chess without including spoilers. It's a compelling read, a pleasant discovery.

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