Sunday, March 3, 2013

Tolstoy and the Purple Chair: My Year of Magical Reading

By: Nina Sankovitch
Rating: 4 stars

Who Should Read This Book: Anyone who has ever read a book to escape a bad day, month, or year. Anyone who needs a reminder on the power a book can have and how healing reading can be.

This memoir revolves around Nina Sanovitch, her love for reading, and how reading brought her back to life. After losing her eldest sister to cancer, Nina can’t seem to escape from her question of why her sister had to die, why she was the one chosen to live. She turns to books and decides she is going to read a book everyday for a year. Through this she finds her sister in the books she reads and finds her way back to the simplicity of life and all that it has to offer.

My Thoughts:
Right from the beginning this book struck a chord in me. I kept thinking to myself what would I have done if I had lost a sister or someone I loved as dearly as Nina did. The love for her sister is imbedded on each page and as the reader I couldn’t help but feel not only like I was intruding in someone’s personal thoughts, but also grateful that she was so willing to allow me to come along for her journey. When Nina decides to read a book every day for a year she is walking through life seamlessly, she “was going to live double if my sister couldn’t live at all.” She was rushing through life trying to do anything and everything possible so that she could live two lives, one for her and one for her sister.  She finally comes to the realization that she needs to find joy in the simple things and decides that she is going to read a book a day for 365 days. It was amazing to see a mother of four be able to sit in her favorite purple chair every day, read a book, and then write a review about it the next day while also taking care of her family. It was a feat to behold! 

One of the aspects of this book that I loved the most was the way the author shared her love for reading and describing what all readers have in common. That we can find a piece of ourselves in each book we read. How one book can change our lives and steer us to paths we may never have taken in our life. They give us hope and strength and connect each of us together by bringing us together to share our experience and how we were affected by the story. At one point in the book while reading The Open Door the author reads, “Have you ever been heartbroken to finish a book? Has a writer kept whispering in your ear long after the last page is turned?” And her answer to this question, as so many other readers will exclaim….yes! This book made me appreciate reading even more and all the joy I get out of immersing myself in a story. Reading has taken me to many places and every time I finish a really great book I am so thankful to having been given the opportunity to experience such an adventure. Through reading this book I once again was able to really understand and appreciate the power reading a book can have.

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