Monday, June 6, 2011
Review: "Tolstoy and the Purple Chair: My Year of Magical Reading" by Nina Sankovitch
From Goodreads: Nina Sankovitch has always been a reader. As a child, she discovered that a trip to the local bookmobile with her sisters was more exhilarating than a ride at the carnival. Books were the glue that held her immigrant family together. When Nina's eldest sister died at the age of forty-six, Nina turned to books for comfort, escape, and introspection. In her beloved purple chair, she rediscovered the magic of such writers as Toni Morrison, Nathaniel Hawthorne, Ian McEwan, Edith Wharton, and, of course, Leo Tolstoy. Through the connections Nina made with books and authors (and even other readers), her life changed profoundly, and in unexpected ways. Reading, it turns out, can be the ultimate therapy.
Tolstoy and the Purple Chair also tells the story of the Sankovitch family: Nina's father, who barely escaped death in Belarus during World War II; her four rambunctious children, who offer up their own book recommendations while helping out with the cooking and cleaning; and Anne-Marie, her oldest sister and idol, with whom Nina shared the pleasure of books, even in her last moments of life. In our lightning-paced culture that encourages us to seek more, bigger, and better things, Nina's daring journey shows how we can deepen the quality of our everyday lives—if we only find the time.
My Thoughts: I won this book through a goodreads giveaway and was not quite sure what to expect from it. That being said, I was extremely surprised by how much I loved this book. As a way to deal with the grief from losing her sister, Nina decided to read one book every day for a year and this memoir follows that journey as she learns about life, love and loss from books as well as from her family. As someone who loves to read when things are not always going well, I completely related to the author and her love of literature and reading. "Tolstoy and the Purple Chair" is beautifully written; she made me want to read the books she was reading and I definitely added several to my 'to be read' list. I can not stress enough how good this book is and if you are passionate about reading, I highly recommend that you pick this book up. 5 stars.