Tolstoy and the Purple Chair: My Year of Magical Reading
by Nina Sankovitch
Narrator: Coleen Marlo
Published: June 7, 2011
Format: Audiobook (6 hrs and 41 mins)
After the death of her sister, Nina Sankovitch found herself caught up in grief, dashing from one activity to the next to keep her mind occupied. But on her forty-sixth birthday she decided to stop running and start reading.
Tolstoy and the Purple Chair reminded me of Eat, Pray, Love. The author, Nina, uses reading to deal with her grief instead of travel like in Eat, Pray, Love, but both books had very interesting insights and growth from their experiences. Nina sets out to read a book a day for a year and also blogs a review about each book. This obviously took a huge amount of time and because of that she let a lot of unimportant things slip out of her life. For example, she didn’t obsess about sending out tons of Christmas cards or putting up tons of decorations. She got her family to help with dishes more. Nina describes books as an escape back to life and it was easy to see how having a time consuming hobby helped her get her priorities in life straight again.
The title was very misleading. While it was interesting to see the kinds of books you could read in one day, I was expecting a book about someone who reads all of Tolstoy’s works or something. Tolstoy doesn’t even show up until the very end and she obviously doesn’t read any of his major works since they are way too long to read in one day. I can’t remember what of Tolstoy’s she did read. Even though I was disappointed that there was hardly anything in the whole novel about Tolstoy, it was a good way to find out about new books.
I found some interesting insights about reading and books while listening to this, but overall it was actually kind of dry. In between the boring stuff I found a few thoughts that I really enjoyed.
- Why are kids encouraged to read every day but adults aren’t?
- There is always beauty to live for whether it’s in memories of the past, blessings in the present, and the idea that beauty will come again.
- Good fiction IS truth.
- Books don’t have to be hard work to do you some good.
Mostly, this book made me want to read a book a day for maybe a month. A year is kind of crazy, but it did sound fun to just read a ton of books.
Narrator Rating: ★★
This book did not translate well into an audiobook. It was very hard to tell when the author was quoting a book or was speaking in her own words. I think it would be better to read this one especially since the narrator sounded like Siri. She just sounded so robotic that I’m not 100% convinced this was narrated by a person.
Overall, it was kind of a dry read but had a few insights about reading that I liked. It also gave me the idea of reading a book a day which seems like a really fun idea.
Content Rating: High, for a chapter that talks about sex. It does not go into specific or graphic detail but it is probably geared more for adults.
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