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Friday, September 21, 2012

Tolstoy and the Purple Chair by Nina Sankovitch

Hello everyone!
Welcome back to the Friday edition of Satisfaction for Insatiable Readers…the place to be when you’re ready to kick off your weekend with a good book.

Today’s featured title was a hard pick as I have a few “finished” books hanging about that need reviewing but once I caught a glimpse of the cover I said to myself....self, you HAVE to pick that one!  Why was this book so adamant to be chosen? Take a look at the cover and TELL ME that it doesn’t simply invite you in…and secretly want a purple chair of your own.  But as with all books, my fair readers, this story is about MUCH more than time spent in a gorgeous and comfortable chair doing the thing we all LOVE to do.  It’s about life and its many beginnings, those we welcome and those we try to startle away.  It’s about loss and forgiveness, for both actions taken and the times when action was taken from us.  It’s about discovering the gifts we are given unexpectedly and how the decision to utilize them to their fullest can be both enlightening and a welcome reprieve.  Ready to read all about it, especially since I’m pretty much giving you my review in the opener here?  Take a load off your feet, and open your hearts to today’s book of choice…


From the publisher
Caught up in grief after the death of her sister, Nina Sankovitch decided to stop running and start reading. For once in her life she would put all other obligations on hold and devote herself to reading a book a day: one year of magical reading in which she found joy, healing, and wisdom.

If the cover didn’t get your attention, the title certainly will, especially if you are a reader.  “My Year of Magical Reading”…sounds heavenly, no?  Agreed on the wording, but how she got to this place of bookish nirvana was anything but.  It took a life changing event, a loss felt so deep it shook her to her core to catapult this sometimes reader to a full time reader not merely as a way to simply bring some joy to her day but as a way of finding her way back to herself.  It was a long journey, taken one page at a time and 365 days/books later, she found her footing once again. 

Along the way, she made connections she never imagined with friends, neighbors, family and even perfect strangers….ever notice how books have a way of doing that?  The process of giving and taking suggestions for her next read helped forge friendships not formerly there and support systems that could be counted on when days proved harder than anticipated.  Literary wise, she took a chance on Edward and Bella, said “hello” to Abbot’s Ghost, joined the “Potato Peel Society” and several other groups on their adventures…a complete list of which can be found at book’s end (all 365 titles) and surprisingly enough, there are MANY I have yet to read myself!  (Talk about an instant TBR List enhancer….this is like a super dose of all natural bookish vitamins!) 

Though the journey was started for herself, in order to fully commit and not stray from the path she’d chosen, she decided to put her thoughts on each book read into words….and so the READ ALL DAY site was born.  On it, she chronicled her year in books thus allowing her projects reach to touch even more hearts and minds…and to this day, the purple chair is still warm and fresh reading material always at the ready.  With each entry, she was piecing another part of her own picture back together and in the end, she found the voice that would one day grace the pages of her own story.  The writing voice discovered was friendly and inviting, allowing readers to glimpse not only the pages that passed before her eyes (though I adored the quotes shared at the opening of each chapter) but the feelings and memories that went along with them.  We see a bit about the story she’s indulging in (thus adding to our own desire to read it as well) but we also get a clear view of the love shared between sisters and how deep that connection goes.  I don’t envy her her loss, but I am grateful she found the chance to work through it so eloquently. 

It’s not all heartbreak and revelations though; sometimes it’s simply a good time.  Of the many quotes I shared along the way through my GoodReads updates, there are moments that cover the whole spectrum of emotions; now I would like to add a humorous one to the fold. This one comes to us from her adventure through Brief and Wondrous Life of Oscar Wao by Junot Diaz…page 168 of this work…

To his grandmother, he is a “genius”; to everyone else, he is a mutant:  “You really want to know what being an X-man feels like?  Just be a smart bookish boy of color in a contemporary U.S. ghetto.  Mamma mia!  Like having bat wings of a pair of tentacles growing out of your chest.”

The magic that we glean from the written word serves as an escape from the day to day, allowing us to forget for at least a moment the troubles at our feet.  For Ms. Sankovitch, it was a way to reconnect with the memories of days gone by, a way to fill the hole in her soul left by the passing of her sister.  It was an unwanted yet, in the end, welcomed reminder that life is too short to let the moments pass us by.  Each one is precious and needs to be captured the best way we know how.  So, whether you share a few moments with friends or a loved one, partying like it’s 199…um, 2012…or relaxing in quiet solitude with a good book (the likes of which we will share later with friends, family, blogging buds and anyone who will listen…^_^), the way you choose to capture it matters not; the fact that you acknowledge its passing and celebrate it in your own way, however means the world. 

Review copy received courtesy of Regina at HarperCollins Publishers.  (THANKS!)  For more information on this title as well as their complete catalog, be sure to visit them online.  This book was released earlier this year via Harper Perennial and should be available on a bookstore shelf near you.  To discover more about the author’s journey through the pages both past and present, be sure to stop by her official site, like her on Facebook, or follow along on Twitter.

One final note, besides the fact that I SO want a chair like that of my own…gotta say, I’m LOVING the author’s list of HOW TO READ ALL DAY ideas from her website.  Simply had to share it with you….

Always have a book with you.
Read while waiting.
Read while eating.
Read while exercising.
Read before bed.
Read before getting out of bed.
Read instead of updating FB.
Read instead of watching TV.
Read instead of vacuuming.
Read while vacuuming.
Read with a book group.
Read with your kid.
Read with your cat.
Read to your dog.
Read on a schedule.
Always have a book with you.

Let’s see, I already practice TEN of them. ^_^  How many do you already employ?

Until next time….HAPPY READING!

1 comment:

Felicity Grace Terry said...

Two interesting book choices - I especially like the sound of Brief and Wondrous Life of Oscar Wao. Doing quite well with regard to my reading score - now I just need another two hours or so in the day.

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