Tolstoy and the Purple Chair

My Year of Magical Reading
Tolstoy and the Purple Chair: My Year of Magical Reading. Harper: HarperCollins. Jun. 2011. c.256p. ISBN 9780061999840. $23.99. LIT
"Pleasure on a schedule" is how Sankovitch describes the plan detailed in her memoir. A married, stay-at-home mom with four sons, she decided to create calm in her life by sitting down, sitting still, and reading an entire book each day and completing a journal with her reaction to each book. Sankovitch knew she could read 70 pages an hour; she selected books no more than one inch thick. Other self-imposed rules dictated that she not read more than one book by any author. Nor could she read any book she had previously read. The book's title refers to Sankovitch's favorite author and the old chair she sat in to read each day. Beginning the project on her 46th birthday, Sankovitch entwines her comments about her reading selections with family stories including her parents surviving World War II in Europe, her upbringing in a tight-knit family of five who loved books and reading, and finally, her sister's death from bile-duct cancer. Sankovitch continues to write about her reading on her web site as a way to encourage adults to read each day.
VERDICT Sankovitch's frequent comments about unwashed laundry and the repetitive stories of baking Christmas cookies with her step-daughter may try the reader, but these are minor when considering her accomplishment and the appeal of her memoir.
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