Tolstoy and the Purple Chair by Nina Sankovitch

51%

19 Critic Reviews

Ms. Sankovitch nods and bobs hers, pads her tale with mawkish memories of childhood, and fills page after page with tears, leaving much of the book a soggy mess.
-NY Journal of Books

Synopsis

“NinaSankovitch has crafted a dazzling memoir that remindsus of the most primal function of literature-to heal, to nurture and to connectus to our truest selves." —Thrity Umrigar, author of The Space Between Us

Catalyzedby the loss of her sister, a mother of four spends one year savoring a greatbook every day, from Thomas Pynchon to Nora Ephron and beyond. In the tradition ofGretchen Rubin’s The Happiness Project and Joan Dideon’sA Year of Magical Thinking, Nina Sankovitch’ssoul-baring and literary-minded memoir is a chronicle of loss,hope, and redemption. Nina ultimately turns to reading as therapy andthrough her journey illuminates the power of books to help us reclaim ourlives.

 

About Nina Sankovitch

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The youngest of three girls, Nina Sankovitch was born in Evanston, Illinois, to immigrant parents. In 2008, Nina launched ReadAllDay.org, and at the end of her year of reading, she was profiled in the New York Times. She continues to review books on ReadAllDay.org and for the Huffington Post. She lives in Connecticut with her husband and four sons.
 
Published June 7, 2011 by HarperCollins e-books. 256 pages
Genres: Biographies & Memoirs, Literature & Fiction. Non-fiction
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Critic reviews for Tolstoy and the Purple Chair
All: 19 | Positive: 9 | Negative: 10

Kirkus

Excellent
Reviewed by Kirkus Reviews on Apr 01 2011

Intelligent, insightful and eloquent, Sankovitch takes the leader on the literary journey . . . As a bonus, even the well-read reader will be inspired to explore some of the books from this magical year.

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Publishers Weekly

Excellent
Reviewed by Publishers Weekly on Feb 28 2011

 Sankovitch champions the act of reading not as an indulgence but as a necessity, and will make the perfect gift from one bookworm to another. 

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NY Journal of Books

Below average
Reviewed by Vinton Rafe McCabe on Jun 07 2011

Ms. Sankovitch nods and bobs hers, pads her tale with mawkish memories of childhood, and fills page after page with tears, leaving much of the book a soggy mess.

Read Full Review of Tolstoy and the Purple Chair | See more reviews from NY Journal of Books

Christian Science Monitor

Below average
Reviewed by Susan Comninos on Jun 23 2011

An avid reader isn’t necessarily a deep writer. This may be the key to the profound limitations ofNina Sankovitch’s Tolstoy and the Purple Chair: My Year of Magical Reading, an amateur memoir.

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Washington Independent Review of Books

Excellent
Reviewed by Amanda Holmes Duffy on Aug 01 2011

Tolstoy and the Purple Chair is a beautiful affirmation of life.

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San Francisco Chronicle

Below average
Reviewed by Bob Blaisdell on Jul 05 2011

As a memoirist and ruminating essayist, Sankovitch tries way too hard.

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The Christian Century

Below average
Reviewed by Valerie Weaver-Zercher on Oct 26 2011

Readers will need to calculate the costs and benefits of both society's and Sankovitch's fast reading. 

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The Blue Bookcase

Good
Reviewed by Ingrid Lola on Aug 01 2012

This book feels like it was written with book bloggers in mind. It appeals to all those things we love: reading for long periods of time and writing about the books we love. If you love reading, you'll like this book.

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Leeswammes' Blog

Below average
Reviewed by Leeswammes on Jun 07 2011

I could not understand the author’s justification for spending a whole year reading.

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Of Books and Reading

Good
Reviewed by thehungryreader on Aug 29 2011

I was amazed at how deep in the heart the book reaches to one who is hurting.

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Iris on Books

Below average
Reviewed by Iris on Aug 15 2012

All in all, Tolstoy and the Purple Chair was an interesting and enjoyable read, but it wasn’t perfect. 

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The Bluestocking Society

Below average
Reviewed by The Bluestocking Society on Jul 16 2012

Throughout most of the book, I was irritated that there wasn’t more information about the stunt aspect of all of this. 

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Estella's Revenge

Good
Reviewed by Andi on Aug 25 2011

It was not at all painful to read Tolstoy and the Purple Chair but quite cathartic.

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So Many Books

Good
Reviewed by So Many Books on Jun 17 2011

Tolstoy and the Purple Chair isn’t an especially philosophical or insightful book. It is, however, honest. 

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Amused by Books

Below average
Reviewed by Amused on Jan 24 2012

It was hard for me at first not to think she was being a little selfish or for me to maybe be a little jealous.

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Reviewed by Mom

Above average
Reviewed by Kristin Jordan on Sep 25 2012

I found this book to be quite absorbing. The author was clearly overcome by her grief and in the time immediately following her sisters death at 46 she lived life "doubly". She was an overachiever...

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Books Distilled

Above average
Reviewed by Brooke on Oct 03 2011

In reading Sankovitch’s memoir of her year spent reading...I saw her choice as brave and necessary. She was able to put aside the critical voices–within her community, her family, and surely within herself–and do what she needed to do to heal from a sorrow that had been eating her alive.

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Satia's Reviews

Below average
Reviewed by Satia on May 11 2011

I suppose that this ultimately proves to be a summer reading memoir, not despairing enough to really share the rawness of grief.

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Upstate Ramblings

Below average
Reviewed by Anne on Aug 24 2012

The first half of the book was more interesting to me than the last half, perhaps because not a lot seemed to change.

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Reader Rating for Tolstoy and the Purple Chair
72%

An aggregated and normalized score based on 166 user ratings from iDreamBooks & iTunes


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