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Tolstoy and the Purple Chair-Book Review

image from booksbywomen.org

I have just finished a great little book- about reading books, titledĀ Tolstoy and the Purple Chair. I admit I picked it up mainly because of the title. But once I started to read this little gem, I was hooked. It is the true story of a woman who sets out to read a book a day for a year— a daunting task for a mother of four boys. So I was quite skeptical at first of how she would accomplish her quest, and actually, the big question for me was why, why would she do this?

The reading I soon learned, was to help her stand still and understand how to deal with the grief after the death of her sister. She read for hope and comfort and it was her only perceived link that she shared with her sister. She explains in oneĀ chapter that her father was put in a sanatorium to recover from TB for over a year. To her she equates her reading challenge as a kind of sanatorium that helped her heal, to get herself back together.

She began her journey with the literary gem The Elegance of the Hedgehog by Muriel Barbery- later she recalls that from this book she learned to find “moments of beauty” whenever she could.

She at first foolishly thought she could read during the day when her kids were in school, in-between laundry and making dinner. But the author soon learns the only time available in her busy schedule is in the evening after everyone is in bed. She wisely chooses books that are only an inch in width, about 250-300 pages, but when one of her sons tells her to read Watership Down, a 500-page tome, she rises to the challenge. Each book is reviewed and posted to her website daily.

After reading Sankovitch’s book I felt inspired to read more. I have a list the length of my arm of must read books from her and one of them is called The Novel Cure by Ella Berthoud and Susan Elderkin.

I encourage you to read this book— you will be truly inspired.