Thursday, October 27, 2011

Two down, 8 to go

Tolstoy and the Purple Chair:
My Year of Magical Reading
Nina Sankovitch

The first time I heard about this author and her book was in the Sunday Arts and Leisure section of the New York Times.  The story goes: 46 year old sister Anne-Marie dies of bile duct cancer and Nina, the youngest sister copes with her death by taking a year to read a book every day. This idea of using books to cope with grief was  interesting.  Even more interesting and appealing was the thought of reading a book a day for a year.  This is what got me started on thinking about looking at my own book list and picking 10 books to read over the next four months (not including book club picks).  

 It is a memoir and anyone who enjoys reading and books will likely love this book, at least I hope, as much as I did.  I wanted to share my favorite quotes/parts of the book and I do apologize if this type of quoting sharing of the book annoys you readers out there who want to read it from it's virgin state- if so turn away from this post NOW!  

page 73: Because words are witness to life: they record what has happened, and they make it all real.  Words create the stories that become history and become unforgettable.  Even fiction portrays truth: good fiction is truth.  Stories about lives remembered bring us backward while allowing us to move forward.
I love the like about how "good fiction is truth"- totally agree with this!

page 89: The purpose of great literature is to reveal what is hidden and to illuminate  what is in darkness. 
I thought this was a beautiful/elegant line.

page 101: People share books they love.  They want to spread to friends and family the goodness that they felt when reading the book or the ideas they found in the pages. 
I love sharing my books and I obviously love talking to others about books and I think it is because I want them to experience what I have experienced.  This goes along with my forever being a high expectation person: I expect/hope the borrower will have the same experience I did, but this isn't always possible because as a reader we all come to the book(s) with different lives/beings and that duplication of happiness may not be possible. 

page 174:  "No one wants you to try and do it all" Jack said to me... "You mean I shouldn't try to read and write and see friends and hang out with the kids and feed the family and do the laundry  and cook great meals..." I replied.
Jack is her husband.  This comment struck a chord with me.  I do try to do all those things and that is why I sometimes get bogged down and don't feel like I'm doing any of those things well- how could you do it all well if you are trying to accomplish so many things- take home note- I need to simplify. 

page 193: Act of kindness demonstrate, in the clearest possible way, that we are vulnerable and dependent animals who have no better resource than each other.  On Kindness by Adam Phillips and Barbara Taylor

page 197: "All love is sacred" is my grandmother's philosophy.

page 204: read anything, as long as you can't wait to pick it up again. Housekeeping vs The Dirt by Nick Hornby

page 210: I do need to talk about books. Because taking about books allows me to talk about anything with anyone.  When we discuss what we are reading, what we are really discussing is our own lives.
OMG- totally me!

page 217: But the meaning of my life is ultimately defined by how I respond to the joys and the sorrows, how I forge crossbars of connections and experience and how I extend help to others as they travel on their own winding road of existence. 
I liked these lines and thought appropriate at the end of her book.   

At the end of the book is a list of all 365 books she read throughout that year.  Since first hearing about Nina I now follow her blog:  http://www.readallday.org/blog/ .This book was "magical" for me and hope it is for some of you, but if not I won't take it personally :). 

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