Three years after the death of her sister, Nina Sankovich takes on the project of reading and reviewing a book a day for a year. She felt the need to slow down from the hectic life she had been trying to life for herself and for her sister. While she had specific goals for her project, Sankovitch found so much more in her connection with books and sharing them with others.
Having lost my own sister to complications of cancer when she was only 16, I was afraid Tolstoy and the Purple Chair would be difficult for me to read. In some ways it was as it brought back the memories of emotions felt so strongly 14 years ago but at the same time Nina Sankovitch provided comfort by expressing so many of my own thoughts. She gave voice to some of the questions and ideas that I could never find the words to convey.
Reading a book a day and then reviewing it for a year is a very ambitious project. Although I am an avid reader, I would be unable to stick to that kind of schedule. The list of books that she read is impressive but more compelling are the stories that the books bring out of Sankovitch and others she connects with on her reading journey. The characters and places she visits in the books remind her of the universal qualities of human life - the joys, sorrows, fears, worries, kindness, and beauty. Through books, she connects on a different level to family and friends and other book lovers she will never meet in person. While she never stops grieving her sister's death and the life that her sister will never complete, she comes to a realization that she carries her sister with her as she moves forward with her own life.
Tolstoy and the Purple Chair is not a book to be rushed through but one to be savored. Sankovich has chosen her words carefully and expresses her thoughts precisely. She reads deeply, immersed in worlds not her own, but returns each day to share the ideals found in books with those around her. Her family stories and her thoughts and emotions tied to those stories work very well with the actual discussion of the books she read. It is only in combining the two elements (books & personal stories) that Tolstoy and the Purple Chair works on such an emotional level. After all who would want to read a book comprised solely of books reviews?
I received an advance copy of Tolstoy and the Purple Chair from the Amazon Vine program in exchange for my honest review.
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