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Can You Deal with Grief by Reading a Book a Day for a Year?

August 22, 2012 by Reader's Connection

Tolstoy and the Purple Chair: My Year of Magical ReadingSounds like a whonky idea to me, but Nina Sankovitch gave it a try, and she makes a convincing case for it. Her beloved oldest sister Anne-Marie died of cancer at the age of forty-six. Three years later, Nina was still “a woman of two parts,” one part still in the hospital room with her sister and the other part racing away from the reality of what had happened.

So she tried something new. In Tolstoy and the Purple Chair: My Year of Magical Reading, she approvingly quotes the critic Cyril Connolly:”Words are alive and literature becomes an escape, not from, but into living.” Desperate to escape into life, she reads Bram Stoker’s Dracula in one day (I haven’t managed to read it in all my days) and decides that her year of 365 books is going to happen.

Sankovitch is moving on the subject of memory–how one incident, one kindness, can stay with you for life, and how books can play into that memory, becoming a part of who you are and how you see the world. Her stories about her immigrant family are moving as well.

2 Announcements: Sankovitch’s reviews of all her books are available on her website Read All Day. Or they’re supposed to be. The site isn’t altogether functional at the moment, but I’m sure it will come around.

And Tolstoy and the Purple Chair will be discussed at the Warren Branch on November 1st at 10:30 a.m.


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