Monday, August 6, 2012

Tolstoy & the Purple Chair by Nina Sankovitch

I may have mentioned that I love to read, always have at least one or two books going at any given time. So when the opportunity came up to read and review this book by an author who read a book a day for a whole year, I had to do it.
As I read the first few chapters, I am thinking..this lady is crazy. She has a husband and four kids, how will she find the extra time to read a book a day?
I had a husband and four kids and I was lucky to get to the bathroom when I needed to go, let alone time to read.
Sankovitch lost her sister, Anne Marie, to cancer, and was unable to get back into living. She was constantly running at full speed, all the while grief was dogging every step. Three years later she was still stuck in painful grief, unable to look back , unable to figure out how to move forward.
Her family was a reading family, their home full of books growing up. She & her sister, Anne Marie shared that love of books and Sankovitch came up with the idea that books could teach her to live again in a world that was now without her sister.
I will admit, I continued to think that this was crazy right up until the last couple of chapters. I have suffered grief and I admit, I had to turn to some books on grief to help me through. But, maybe two books that took me a couple of weeks to read. The book is filled with the author's memories of her sisters and also some tragic family history in both her immigrant parent's childhoods. It is a personal diary, as each book that she read either reminded her of a memory or gave her strength to go forward.
In the last chapter she mentions that her father was diagnosed with TB as a young man. He ended up in a sanatorium to recuperate for two years, two months and 2 days. It was a time spent recuperating from TB and the atrocities of war. Sankovitch says that her one year of reading a book a day,  was like taking a year's  recuperation in a sanatorium. A time out from her present life, so that she could look back and then move forward.
I still don't know how she managed to do it, but if it worked for her, then more power to her. Grief is such a personal thing, whatever gets you through it, is the right path. I can recommend this book to anyone who believes that good books and reading can change your life.

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