Sunday, January 08, 2012

What's New on the Bookshelf?

With my courses about to start, I borrowed a new book from the library, Nina Sankovitch's Tolstoy and the Purple Chair. It's about reading as a means of overcoming grief. Nina reads a book a day in an effort to come to terms with the premature death of a beloved sister from cancer. She recorded these efforts on Read All Day Blog, which she turned into a book. What I liked about Tolstoy and the Purple Chair is its wholehearted promotion of real books. Nina gets cozy in her purple chair and devours volume after volume, one a day for a year. She does not read them on a Kindle or a Nook. She borrows them from her local library. She buys books. Friends give her books. She finds meaning in her life from the words authors, past and present, have written. I liked that. Here's a short excerpt:

"I was in my forties, reading in my purple chair. My father was in his 80s and my sister was in the ocean. Her ashes, scattered there by all of us, in swimsuits under a blue sky. And only now am I grasping the importance of looking backward. Of remembrance. My father finally wrote out his memoirs for a reason. I took a year of reading books for a reason. Because words are witness to life: they recorded 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."