I’ve just finished reading Tolstoy & the Purple Chair BY Nina Sankovitch.  I’m completely bowled over.  On a number of counts. Firstly, I’m drop-jawed at Nina’s basis for her project: she set out – and SUCCEEDED –  in reading a book a day, for a year. That’s 365 books, people. Furthermore, she wrote a book review on each book, prior to diving into her next book.  And this was accomplished by a woman who is a wife, and mother to four busy boys … so tick the boxes for taxi driving, laundry, cooking, cleaning, homework supervision … do I have to continue?

She embarked on the project to  overcome her grief over the early death of her sister, who died way too soon, a cancer victim. Three years on, Nina realised she needed to get off the must-keep-busy –at-all- costs track, so she decided to read a book a day, for a year, and treat it as a job. She sat in her smelly purple chair (the family cat, don’t ask) and read for hours. She did note that she  reads fast: 70 pages an hour. But even so.  Not all the books were skinny little volumes, but I think she avoided the doorstopper books. Not unreasonably!  Actually, on my re-read, I picked up the fact that when choosing books off the Library shelves, she aimed for books with a spine of about one inch width, not more.

There’s an efficient catalogue of the books she read; I can’t wait to annotate my own copy once it arrives. I’ve noted some great reading suggestions in her list, and managed not to deface a Library book by ticking items on the list.  I definitely need my own copy, so I can deface it with ticks, notes and marginalia to my heart’s content.

So apart from successfully finishing her mammoth task, remaining married, sane and emerging from the process as a healed human being, she has produced a wonderful book that is part memoir, part reading journal, part healing manual; the minute I finished the book I raced to my PC to order my own copy immediately.

I may even attempt a modest challenge of my own, during 2015, using a suggestion from the local  Good Books Appreciation FB page: to read 12 books from my TBR pile during the year. This is doable. I’ve already made a start by tackling the monster Gravity’s Rainbow  (see last week’s post), and finishing it. Therefore, only 11 more to go. Trouble is, I keep on getting distracted!

If you love books and reading, do not miss this book!




Filed under BOOK REVIEWS


  1. She must have had a very patient husband. And of she hadnt written a report on each book, I bet she wouldn’t be able to remember a thing about any of them!


  2. Good luck in your venture. It’s good to know that reading is so healing.


  3. Sweet Life of Sumi Singh

    I have to get this one Alison, I need all the inspiration I can find to help me to read more at this stage in my life!


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