“Great good comes from reading great books.” This was the theme of Nina Sankovitch’s website—ReadAllDay.org—during a yearlong project in which she read and reviewed one book per day. After reading about this unique and enviable project in a New York Times article, I became hooked on Sankovitch’s website and had been eager to read her memoir of the experience, Tolstoy and the Purple Chair.
Recognizing a need to slow down and reflect following three hectic years after the death of her beloved sister, Anne-Marie, Sankovitch made a commitment to seek guidance in books. Tolstoy and the Purple Chair covers not only the logistics of her project, but mixes in mini-reviews of the books the read along with anecdotes of her family history. Sankovitch articulates well the insight and healing power a good book can provide and inspires her readers to reach for a book to accompany life’s ups and downs.
Like Sankovitch, I have never failed to find comfort and direction from a good book. With that said, one of the greatest features of Tolstoy and the Purple Chair is its abundance of great book recommendations. I appreciated Sankovitch’s conversational style of reviewing; each book I ended up checking out for myself (and there were quite a few!) felt accessible and personal in my own reading of it. In fact, since I caught on to the great things happening over at ReadAllDay.org my library holds queue has never been short of capacity.
Overall, I was very happy to read this fellow book lover’s memoir of reading as a means to cope with grief. I will continue to look forward to the author’s ongoing book reviews and future projects.