TOLSTOY AND THE PURPLE CHAIR by Nina Sankovitch
This is a memoir by a woman who loses her sister at forty six to a sudden illness and spends three years trying to run from the reality of that loss until she finally decides to stop, sit down and deal with it the only way she knows how: by reading. She decides to read a book a day for a year, and use books to bring herself back to life and teach her how to keep the memory of her sister alive.
I think I could probably go on and on about how much I loved this book. Where to start? Her retelling of the love she has for her sister, the vivid memories she has of her and her family are all so beautiful and fit perfectly with the lessons she learns from the books she reads. Of course, there's the enormity of the list of books I want to read, thanks to her recounting of the many fabulous authors she enjoyed over her year, not to mention the way she champions the importance of reading and how it heals us, teaches us, encourages us, sympathizes with us and of course, entertains us. I enjoyed how richly she painted the pictures of her memories, never failing to entwine those memories with the books she'd read. It was fantastic.
If you're not much of a reader, you will be after this book. The author has managed to perfectly portray the magic of a good book (no easy task) as well as recommend some brilliant choices to get you on your way. I personally have never wanted to sit down with a good mystery more than after reading her memories of hot summer days spent enthralled in the twist and turns of a good who-dunnit. More than that though, I think the biggest take away from this book is the love of family, and the need to cherish the important people in our lives, to find the joy in each moment and hold them close to our heart. Well done, Nina, well done.