“We Are What We Love to Read”

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The above quote is one of the many gems I found in “Tolstoy and the Purple Chair: My Year of Magical Reading” by Nina Sankovitch. This was chock full of wisdom.  She commits to reading a book a day for a year and doing a review/blog on each one. This author picked some of the same books I have chosen and blogged about. That was so cool! Only book obsessed people can get excited about stuff like that. The only thing I love as much as reading books is talking about books. I thought I would make a list of the books she read for my personal reading list but I found it too distracting. She  let’s her moods choose her selections (something I do a lot) and some of the books spoke things to her she couldn’t put a voice to.

Interwoven with her reading marathon choices, Nina talks about her beloved sister who dies of cancer.  She is desolate with grief but her reading experiment lightened what would have been a very heavy story. The process of choosing, reading and critiquing her books softens the edges of her grief, allowing her to truly mourn. This was a lovely book about love, loss and the power of family, but I would have dumped the purple chair.

Quotes abound that I found inspiring. I had to write them down so I’ve I could share some with you. This book reminds you of the impact books have on our thoughts, relationships and very lives. She speaks of books saving her life and I have to admit I have felt that profoundly at times. So, find yourself a comfortable chair and cozy up to this gem.

Here are some of her quotes I found myself writing down:

“A book isn’t just a friend but makes friends for you”

“Sorrow is a violent smashing of reason-in that reason has no power over it”

“I was bathed in pleasure-didn’t need earth moving writing to get hooked on a book”

“Reading became a way for me to absorb my grief rather than rid myself of it”

“Books saved my life”

Other notable quotes from authors:

“A book must be an ax for the frozen sea inside us” Frank Kafka 1904

“Be kind, for everyone you meet is fighting a hard battle” Plato

“When you pass on a book you are enriched threefold” Henry Miller

“Kindness makes life worth living” Adam Phillips, Barbara Taylor

What are some of the books that have had a similar emotional impact on your memories?

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2 responses »

  1. “Be kind, for everyone you meet is fighting a hard battle”. Mmmm….love this quote…so true. Loved the post. I don’t often let my mood impact my reading – unless you count going to my favourites when I just need a pick-me-up. I should try that sometime – be more intention about what I read based on my mood. Thanks for a great post – gave me something to think about.

    • I love this quote too. Too often we see the polite, fake kindness. You know…where they don’t really see you? We are becoming a society of the invisible. I’ve often experienced the cloak of “niceness” that feels empty and is blind to reality. I always seem to read what I am spiritually ripe for but sometimes I choose books that will make me laugh. Laughter is food for everything. I love how you describe your favorites as pick-me-ups. I want to be around people who do that but most importantly I want to be a kind of “look you in the eye and see you” pick-me-up person. Actions, actions, actions not words. Thanks for taking the time to share your thoughts.

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