As I’ve mentioned before, I love reading. It entertains me, relaxes me, makes me knowledgeable and helps me to live a better life. Within each book, even the mysteries I love so much, there are gems of wisdom to discover. A few books though are truly spectacular, including Nina Sankovitch’s memoir, “Tolstoy and The Purple Chair“.
After the death of her older sister, Nina found it difficult to get beyond grieving. In an effort to move past grieving and stop running to do anything and everything, Nina set a goal of reading a book a day and posting a review on a blog. She wanted to use books, “to escape back to life” adn “answer the relentless question of why I deserved to live”.
This memoir though is more than about grieving, more than about reading. It’s about wisdom of living life and enjoying the moment. It’s about memories of her sister, her father’s devastating childhood during World War II, and family stories about her sisters and children. Most importantly, it’s about celebrating the life we each have to live.
Nina read mostly fiction, but from many of the books she gleamed gems of wisdom to use in her life. She shares with us quotes, character descriptions, and scenes that helped her figure out how to get her life back and strengthen her relationship with those around her. She even explores why she loves books so much.
I highlighted a number of things in the book that I wanted to be able to find again quickly. One favorite quote nicely summed up her year of reading:
And now I understood why it was important to read these books. Because being witness to all types of human experience is important to understanding the world, but also to understand myself. To define what is important to me, and who is important, and why. . .
. . . now I understood that all the bad and sad stuff that happens to me, and that happened to the people I was reading about, is both the cost and the proof of resilience.
Nina’s book is well written. While she touches on many deep topics, it does not bog down. She tells her stories clearly and concisely, and moves easily through the insights she shares with her readers.
On another note, my sister sent me a snapshot of a tree near her house. It is covered with the most beautiful red and orange leaves. Colors are approaching peak near her and it is gorgeous. Within my own yard though, it’s still green. YES! I used today’s word in not one, but TWO different topics.
Notice how the garden is pretty much down?
Word for tomorrow – PLUS. If you prefer to work ahead, see the list for the week under “A Word A Day”.
I am a backyard adventurer, philosopher and observer, recording my life in journals and photographs. Visit my blog at www.livingtheseasons.com or write me at dogear6 [at] gmail [dot] com.