Magical Reading

Tolstoy and thge Purple ChairI found Tolstoy and the Purple Chair: My Year of Magical Reading by Nina Sankovitch quite by accident as I walked inside my favorite book shop. I usually walk through the book shop in a straight line from the front doors to the international section where I buy most of my books (it’s the only place in the shop that sells books in other languages and the English section is really big compared to other bookshops), but not that day. For the first time in a long time I ventured into the section where people buy books translated to Portuguese, and right there, standing in a circular shelf there was this book. I even remember the first thing I thought when I looked at it “magical reading? That’s definitively for me.”

I’ve always found it endlessly fascinating to know what other people like to read and why, every time I see a person carrying a book I try to get a good look on the cover. So what could be better than a book about a woman who spends a whole year reading a book a day? Basically: nothing. Nina Sankovitch is a real person who actually had those experiences for real, which I only realized when I opened the book again to read, but at first I thought it was fictional.

After the death of her sister Nina Sankovitch decides to do a year of reading one book per day, then writing about it on a blog she created. The book is filled with quotes from the books she read and what she learned with them, but it’s also full of family memories which are one of the main, I guess I can say, “themes” of the book. The books she read helped her understand how she could keep living after such a sad loss and I think that’s one of the things that drew me to this book, because I do believe that books can help us heal and grow as human beings.

I had a lot of fun reading this book, even thought it was a little repetitive at times, but still different from every other book I’ve read.

Another funny coincidence this book had was that the first book she read in her year of reading is The Elegance of the Hedgehog by Muriel Barbery and a couple of weeks before finding this book my grandmother told me a book she was reading. I thought it was a fascinating book, and with my grandma’s gift for storytelling, she told me the whole story translating from her French version. Of course it was The Elegance of the Hedgehog and I can’t wait to see her again and show her this book. I think I’ll even let her borrow it.


Classics Challenge 2012

The challenge will be hosted by November’s Autumn over here, and now I’ll finally read more classics! The last one I read was Jane Eyre by Charlotte Bronte and it was last year… shame on me, I know. But next year I’ll make myself read more classics and, if life doesn’t get in the way, maybe even more than seven. Here’s my list for now, but who knows what I’ll decide later on:



A Little Princess by Frances Hodgson Burnett

I bought this a couple of weeks ago in this year’s book fair here in my city and have been wanting to read it ever since.



Emma by Jane Austen

I’m ashamed to say I’ve had this book for years now and never even opened it, but I also promised myself that next year I’ll read as many Austen books as possible. And my copy has this beautiful flowered cover that I love.



Wuthering Heights by Emily Bronte

I’ve tried to read this book about three times now and can never make it past the first couple of chapters, but I really want to finish it so I’m going to try again.




The Woman in White by Wilkie Collins

I’ve wanted to read this book for a while now and as a fan of mystery I’m pretty excited to finally do it.

Adventures of Huckleberry Finn by Mark Twain

This book has always captured my attention at bookstores, but I never bought it. On my birthday this year I was very happy to find out a copy on my table.




The Three Musketeers by Alexandre Dumas

I really really want to read this book, there’s sword fight and adventures and secrets… what’s not to love?



Journey to the Center of the Earth by Jules Verne

I’m not sure I’ll end up reading this book, but it’s on my TBR list and on my bookshelf.

North and South - Elizabeth Gaskell



North and South by Elizabeth Gaskell

I’ve hear lots of good things about this book so I think I’ll give it a try next year too.