Tuesday, May 17, 2011

A Book for Book Lovers

Tolstoy and the Purple Chair: My Year of Magical Reading I chose Tolstoy and the Purple Chair: My Year of Magical Reading from Amazon Vine because the description sounded just like me. Thank heaven I did receive this book. I connected with Nina Sankovitch so much that I felt like I was reading a long letter from my best friend. Obviously, this qualifies as my best read in a long, long time.

Sankovitch was the youngest of three sisters born to Russian immigrants. She grew up in a suburb of Chicago in a bookish, close knit family. Eventually the family all ended up in New York City, except for Nina who lives in Connecticut with her husband, his daughter, and their four sons. Sankovitch seems to have boundless energy. She's a lawyer like her husband and their home is a happy place of fun times with the kids.

Then her eldest sister, Anne-Marie, died of cancer at the age of 46. She was devastated but felt that from then on she must live life to the fullest. In truth she was trying to run away from her grief. As she neared her own 46th birthday though, she realized the frantic racing around trying to do everything wasn't working. The only way to cope was to face her grief and look for serenity in books. Well, that's exactly what I would do. She took it far beyond what I would do though, because she decided to read one book a day for her 46th year, good books no more than 300 pages long, never one author more than once, and she would review each book the following morning on a blog.

Most people would think she was nuts, but I absolutely "got" it. She turned her music room into a reading room and used an old purple chair for her comfortable reading place. She read all types of books and learned from many of them life lessons that were of great use to her as she learned to live without her sister.

This book tells not only of that reading year, but stories about her family, her childhood, her sons, her relationship with her step-daughter, and her marriage. I finished the book admiring her for her maturity, her energy, and her loving nature. I also knew as I turned the final page that Sankovitch will be fine; she found her answers in her year of reading.

I recommend this book highly to anyone who loves books and depends upon them for solace or escape in times of need, and especially for book addicts like me.


  1. Oh, I remember hearing about this when she was reading and blogging. I didn't realize this book was based on that experience. You've convinced me that I need to add this to my wish list.

  2. Kathy, I do think you'll like this one. It was a crazy plan, but it worked for her.

  3. This sounds very interesting - I had not heard of it! Definitely seems to merit looking into!

  4. This sounds like a great read. Thanks for your terrific review.