Tolstoy and the Purple Chair by Nina Sankovitch
As someone who has my own book-related challenge... this story hit really close to home. It also reaffirmed the way and the reasons for which I prioritize reading in my everyday life. Like Sankovitch, I am a mother. But unlike Sankovitch who has *gulp* 4 children... I only have one. But even with that one (who goes to bed at around 7:30 every night), there is still a measure of guilt when building reading in to my free time. Tolstoy and the Purple Chair reminded me that reading makes me ME. I love the idea that Lorelai will grow up with a mother who feels so passionately about something outside of our family. And I'd like to believe that watching me squeak as much reading time into my day as possible will nurture a love for reading in her as well. We write reading off as entertainment... a slightly more academic version of watching tv. And while reading is, for me, pure enjoyment... I don't need to feel guilty for making it as important as taking a shower or brushing my teeth. It is an activity I need to engage in every day to grow as a person, to feel like my individuality is being looked after and (like Sankovitch) to heal old wounds. And the author of this book made it safe for me to prioritize it as such.
Caught up in grief after the death of her sister, Nina Sankovitch decided to stop running and start reading. For once in her life she would put all other obligations on hold and devote herself to reading a book a day: one year of magical reading in which she found joy, healing, and wisdom. With grace and deep insight, Sankovitch weaves together poignant family memories with the unforgettable lives of the characters she reads about. She finds a lesson in each book, ultimately realizing the ability of a good story to console, inspire, and open our lives to new places and experiences. A moving story of recovery, Tolstoy and the Purple Chair is also a resonant reminder of the all-encompassing power and delight of reading.