Monday, September 19, 2011

"Tolstoy and the Purple Chair" by Nina Sankovitch

"Books loved anyone who opened them, they gave you security and friendship and didn't ask anything in return; they never went away, never, not even when you treated them badly."
Cornelia Funke, Inkheart
As quoted in Chapter 8 of Tolstoy and the Purple Chair by Nina Sankovitch

If you're a loyal follower of our weekly staff reviews, you may've noticed that I tend to include more than one book in my reviews and enjoy a good reading challenge. When you work at a library filled with this many good books, it's hard to limit yourself to just one!

I picked up Tolstoy and the Purple Chair because I wondered how anyone would find the time to read 365 books in one year and what would you read, picture books? But I found myself drawn in by the personal story about family and the relationships between readers and books. Ms. Sankovitch undertook her challenge as a way to honor the memory of her oldest sister, who died unexpectedly of cancer.

The pages are filled with book and author suggestions, and Ms. Sankovitch makes a point to share meaningful quotations. The sections that I enjoyed the most are the ties between her reading life and her real life. How a good book can change the way we look at our lives, and how our lives can change the way we look at a book. She still maintains the blog she started for her year of reading:

And because I can't limit myself to just one book, here are a few others I've read recently and enjoyed:

Periodic Tales
A narrative history of the elements, from the historic and cultural importance of gold, to the quest for new elements. An entertaining, and educational read.

Kicking Ass and Saving Souls
A biography of a man whose life reads like fiction, or a summer blockbuster. Spy, SCUBA diver, thief, humanitarian, world traveler, and a definite page turner.

Shades of Milk and Honey
A quieter, more romantic story, highly reminiscent of Jane Austen, but with a touch of magic. A dreamy, character-focused novel that I read in one sitting.

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