Praise for Tolstoy and the Purple Chair



Kirkus Reviews named Tolstoy and the Purple Chair an outstanding debut of 2011 and gave it a starred review: “This celebration of the richness of reading will reward anyone who loves to read…Intelligent, insightful and eloquent, Sankovitch takes the reader on the literary journey…even the well-read reader will be inspired to explore some of the books from this magical year.”

Independent Book Sellers named Tolstoy and the Purple Chair to their list of Great Reads for June 2011 and to their Summer 2012 Paperback Next List. Caitlin Doggart, from the independent book store Where the Sidewalk Ends on Cape Cod, wrote for the group, exclaiming that my book “is the best description of the power of books that I have ever encountered!”

O Magazine , June 2011, lists Tolstoy and the Purple Chair as a book to read now: “Anyone who has ever sought refuge in literature will identify.”

The Los Angeles Times writes that “The beauty…lies in seeing how books intertwine with daily life, how very much they affect our moods, interactions, and how we recover and process our memories.”

The Christian Science Monitor lists Tolstoy and the Purple Chair as one of  “the smartest nonfiction titles for summer reading” and “a tribute to the power of books to enrich our daily lives.”

Publisher’s Weekly calls Tolstoy and the Purple Chair “an entertaining bibliophile’s dream … As well as being an homage to her sister and their family of readers, Sankovitch’s memoir speaks to the power that books can have over our daily lives. Sankovitch champions the act of reading not as an indulgence but as a necessity, and [her memoir] will make the perfect gift from one bookworm to another.”

BookPage calls Tolstoy and the Purple Chair an “affectionate and inspiring paean to the power of books…Sankovitch gracefully acknowledges that her year of reading was an escape into the healing sanctuary of books, where she learned how to move beyond recuperation to living.”

Joe Meyers of the Connecticut Post wrote “how lucky we are to experience her journey in Tolstoy and the Purple Chair. Who knows how many people will find comfort in this beautiful little book in the months and years to come?” and in his review wrote, “[Tolstoy and the Purple Chair] digs deep into that near-mystical connection between a reader and an author—that startling feeling that you are channeling someone you have never met…A gripping and inspiring book.”

“An original and touching account of one woman’s lifelong affinity for books and her attempt to channel that affinity to deal with her grief after her sister dies. Tolstoy and the Purple Chair is an understated but moving story about the effects of a ‘year of magical reading.’”
The Dartmouth

“Nina Sankovitch has crafted a dazzling memoir that reminds us of the most primal function of literature—to heal, to nurture and to connect us to our truest selves.”
-Thrity Umrigar, author of The Space Between Us

“Tolstoy and the Purple Chair will transport you to a time before texts and tweets. Through the stories of her own family, Nina Sankovitch shows how books have the power to refresh, renew, and even heal us. I loved this memoir.”
-Julie Klam, author of You Had Me at Woof

“A beautifully fluid, reflective, and astute memoir that gracefully combines affecting family history with expert testimony about how books open our minds to ‘the complexity and entirety of the human experience.’ Sankovitch’s reading list in all its dazzling variety is top-notch.”

“The beauty of her project lies in seeing how books intertwine with daily life, how very much they affect our moods, interactions, and, especially important for Sankovitch, how we recover and process our memories….She makes reading seem accessible, relaxing, inspiring, fun.”
Los Angeles Times

“Tolstoy and the Purple Chair is original, uplifting and very moving: a unique celebration of life, love and literature.”
-S. J. Bolton, author of Now You See Me

“A beautifully paced look at how mindfulness can affect the psyche.”
Shelf Awareness (starred review)

“Sankovitch’s account works well because she uses her reading list to jump off into topics that are tangential, yet intriguing and often important.”
Buffalo News

“[Tolstoy and the Purple Chair] offers timeless wisdom, is uplifting and has a powerful message.”

“Tolstoy and the Purple Chair masterfully weaves beloved and sometimes surprising books into central events in the writer’s life. There is much to learn from this moving book. Sankovitch writes with intelligence and honesty, leading us to respond in a similar manner.”
-Chitra Banerjee Divakaruni, author of One Amazing Thing

“Tolstoy and the Purple Chair is a must-read for anyone who adores books. It is also a primer on the healing power of taking time off to grieve by immersing oneself in a revered activity.”
The Book Bully

“Her deeply moving memoir artfully intertwines her immigrant family’s history with the universal themes of hope, resilience, and memory. Tolstoy and the Purple Chair celebrates not only the healing power of literature but its ability to connect us to the best of ourselves — and each other.”
American Way

“Sankovitch’s memoir stands as a tribute to the power of books to enrich our daily lives.”
Christian Science Monitor

“Tolstoy and the Purple Chair is an absolutely lovely account of the healing power of literature.”
Devourer of Books

“This graceful memoir describes a true love affair with books.”
Boston Globe

“[A] brilliant and heartwarming book.”
Ventura County Star

“Tolstoy and the Purple Chair is “an absolute joy…it is pure magic. Anyone who loves books and reading cannot fail to love Tolstoy and the Purple Chair.”   – Bluestalking, Member National Book Critics Circle