Tolstoy And The Purple Chair by Nina Sankovitch

Title:  Tolstoy And The Purple Chair: My Year Of Magical Reading

Author:  Nina Sankovitch

Genre:  Memoir

About:  When Nina’s beloved older sister died Nina threw herself into living life to the fullest – almost as if living for herself and her sister. She chaired committees, coached her sons’ sports and academic teams, and underwent medical tests so she could reassure her family that she was not going to die. Three years later she realized she couldn’t keep up the frantic pace. Her grief was just as strong as it had been following Anne-Marie’s death.  Nina had to find answers to looming questions of why her sister had died and not her; what was she supposed to do with her life. She wasn’t finding the answers through constant activity so she looked for something that could link her to Anne-Marie. That something was reading. Nina decided to read a book each day for a year.  A mother to four school-age boys, Nina would get them off to school each day and try to read a book by the time they returned home or after they went to bed each day.  Quite a challenge indeed!  Nina’s sons and husband supported her and pitched in around the house as she accomplished her goal.

After three years of carrying the truth of my sister’s death around with me, I knew I would never be relieved of my sorrow. I was not hoping for relief. I was hoping for answers. I was trusting in books to answer the relentless questions of why I deserved to live. And of how I should live. My year of reading would be my escape back into life.  (p.31 uncorrected proof)

My thoughts:  I have six sisters and can only imagine the grief I’d experience if one died before her time. I’ve also loved to read since I was a young girl so it should come as no surprise that I liked this book.

Although I’ve read only a small percentage of the books mentioned in Tolstoy And The Purple Chair I appreciated the wisdom that Ms. Sankovitch took from all. She read popular novels, literature, mysteries, and at least one recommended by her son. Each served to guide her through the year-long journey in search of answers. It’s a very personal book and one I’ll recommend to any booklover.

Source:   Harper