Tag Archives: Book review



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


The Believer (magazine)

The Believer (magazine) (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

The Complete Polysyllabic Spree – Nick Hornby  (read in February  2010)

I’ve waited at least three years for this book and when I came across it at the Book Lounge  I pounced on it, and bought it immediately.  Whenever I visit the Book Lounge I find an extraordinary book that is just marvellous.  It’s because they stock literary books that the chain-stores don’t keep.

I enjoy books about books and this one did not disappoint: in fact I devoured it in two-and-a-half days, leapt on line to Takealot.com and ordered the second volume of Hornby’s book reviews without turning a hair – can’t wait to read it.  I made happy lists of NH’s Books Read in my own notebook ,so I can trawl the Libraries for his reads.  I’m thrilled that he shares my enthusiasm for Gilead and I want to read Marilyn Robinson’s second novel.  Hornby admits he buys books, piles them round the house and doesn’t always read them. Sounds very familiar – it’s a good thing we don’t share the same living space!

I had fun on the Internet looking up Nick Hornby – he’s a busy boy; apart from writing very successful novels, he writes articles about sport, rock music and also  writes book reviews. He has cleverly turned his passions into a rewarding career. His novel About a Boy  has been filmed, starring Hugh Grant, and I loved it

I Googled The Believer which NH writes for; it’s an American literary magazine for which  NH’s book diaries were written, and formed the basis for Polysyllabic Spree.   He’s irreverent, erudite, funny, has catholic reading tastes, and he loves Dickens.  Note to self: read more Dickens.  P.S. Novelist Robert Harris is NH’s brother-in-law.


Filed under BOOK REVIEWS