"Tolstoy and the Purple Chair'

Tolstoy and the Purple chair by Nina Sankovitch

Three years after Nina Sankovitch's sister died, she decided to spend a year reading one book every day. It would be her priority, her work, for a full year and she would be looking for answers about why she deserved to live when her sister was dead, and how to go on living now without her. Her husband and four sons agreed to give her the time and space she needed to read and to write a review on her blog of every book she read.

As others have said, I was surprised that a woman would ask so much of her family, and that they would agree to it. I, too, was put off by her expecting her husband to be so understanding of her needs, but when his sister died shortly after the author's sister, she couldn't make herself go to the funeral with him. I admit I don't know all the details of their lives, but from what she has told us, it just seems a bit odd. 

I enjoyed reading this, but in the end I found it to be over-heavy with profound metaphors. I was hoping for more about the books, but I don’t feel like she was so much sharing books with me as she was hitting me over the head with the lessons she learned. It’s in her delivery, not in what she’s saying. The things she learned were good, but it felt like too much of a stretch trying to relate everything she read to her own situation. 

I did enjoy hearing about all the books, and I’m impressed that anyone could read a whole book every day. The background she gave us on her father’s life was for me the most interesting part, and I hope someday she’ll write a book telling us more about him. 

The list of 365 books read at the end was nice.  


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