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Nina Sankovitch
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Nina Sankovitch's book Tolstoy and the Purple Chair, published by HarperCollins, tells the story of her lifetime of reading and of one magical year when she read a book a day to rediscover how to live after the death of her oldest sister. Through the connections Nina made with books, authors, and other readers, her life changed profoundly, and in unexpected ways. Sankovitch's second book, Signed, Sealed, Delivered, about exploring the joys of letter writing, is coming out in April 2014 from Simon & Schuster. Sankovitch writes about books and reading on her website, Readallday.

Entries by Nina Sankovitch

Discovering Inspiration in a Trunk Full of Letters

(1) Comments | Posted April 8, 2014 | 11:25 AM

Years ago, I discovered a trove of letters in my backyard. I had just become the owner of a broken-down old house and when I went to clear out the weed-choked yard, I found a steamer trunk, hidden away in a rotting garden shed. When I opened the trunk, treasure...

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The Soul of a Book Lover

(0) Comments | Posted March 19, 2014 | 1:08 PM

The task of writing a review of An Unnecessary Woman by Rabih Alameddine is daunting. Why? Because I don't want to write anything that might keep someone from reading this book.

Everybody should read this book. And absolutely all book lovers must read this book. This book is for...

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Letters and Murder in a Quiet Dell

(0) Comments | Posted March 13, 2014 | 9:29 AM

Obsessed with letters, I was eager -- and yet loathe -- to read Quiet Dell by Jayne Anne Phillips. The novel is based on the true story of Harry Powers, a man who seduced middle-aged women through letters and then killed them. He found his lady loves through...

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Opening the Door to the Wonderful World of Reading

(0) Comments | Posted March 5, 2014 | 8:41 AM

Quick Reads is a UK-based nonprofit that has a simple -- and wonderful -- goal: to get people reading. Or as they say, to start a new chapter. Because reading is about more than just opening up a book and going through the words found there. Reading is...

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The Guest Cat: A Fated Visit

(0) Comments | Posted February 13, 2014 | 1:39 PM

The Guest Cat by Takashi Hiraide is a slender but rich meditation on fate. What force directs the twists of our lives -- or are all events random and therefore beyond our control? When a tiny, independent, and utterly charming cat enters the lives of a couple living in a...

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The Brilliance of Ishmael Beah

(0) Comments | Posted January 28, 2014 | 8:06 AM

The novel Radiance of Tomorrow by Ishmael Beah is a brilliant book, not in terms of innovation or style, but in terms of illumination -- and there is no better brilliance for a book, or for an author. In telling the story of the village Imperi and its inhabitants, Beah's...

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Letters of Note, Splendidly Noted

(0) Comments | Posted January 8, 2014 | 9:08 AM

Shaun Usher understands the art of letter writing -- as any fan of his site, Letters of Note, knows -- and now his book by the same name brings all that art to the printed page. Letters of Note, the book, is beautiful, large-size, fabulously produced, and above...

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Merry Old Christmas Murders

(0) Comments | Posted December 13, 2013 | 8:06 PM

Nothing says the holidays for me more than a good old-fashioned Christmas murder mystery. I also like the more modern ones, but give me a snowed-in estate in England, with house guests galore, a burning Yule log, a flaming pudding, holly branches cut fresh from the woods and stuck behind...

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Richard Pryor, Furious Cool, and an Early Thanksgiving

(0) Comments | Posted November 12, 2013 | 4:22 PM

In what is clearly (and beautifully) a labor of love, brothers David Henry and Joe Henry have brought Richard Pryor back to pulsating life, affirming both his humanity and his immortality as a comic - and tragic - genius. Furious Cool: Richard Pryor and the World That Made Him is...

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Forgotten Books, Discovered

(0) Comments | Posted November 5, 2013 | 2:40 PM

Pacing through the website of Forgotten Books, an online library with hundreds of thousands of titles, is like walking through the aisles of a favorite bookstore. I "open" one book, skim through, and alight upon certain lines that make my decision for me (yes, I want to read...

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Women of a Certain Age

(0) Comments | Posted October 7, 2013 | 4:21 PM

An examination of life looking back from a mature age is at the center of The Last First Day by Carrie Brown and I Married You For Happiness by Lily Tuck. The authors avoid the easy take on growing old and instead go for the difficult but incisive exploration of...

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Playing St. Barbara: Shining Light on the Dark History of Coal Mining

(0) Comments | Posted September 23, 2013 | 9:18 AM

Playing St. Barbara by Marian Szczepanski is a great book, a stunning debut novel that shimmers with unforgettable characters while casting necessary light on a dark chapter in American history. Drawn to the social and political history of coal mining in southwestern Pennsylvania because of her personal connection (her grandparents...

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A Fatal Likeness: Mary Shelley and Monsters

(0) Comments | Posted September 15, 2013 | 6:35 PM

Mary Shelley wrote the most famous monster story of all time, Frankenstein. Or did she really? That question is just one of the literary mysteries explored by Lynn Shepherd in her mesmerizing novel, A Fatal Likeness. Was Percy Bysshe Shelley insane or cruelly narcissistic or simply misunderstood? Were his poems...

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Louise Penny, The Magic of Light, and How it Gets In

(2) Comments | Posted September 2, 2013 | 7:15 AM

Louise Penny has done it again. Magic. Wonderful, captivating, heart-pumping, edge-of-the-seat magic. In her ninth Chief Inspector Gamache novel, How the Light Gets In, Penny brings us to familiar territory. We are back in the isolated village of Three Pines, where cell phones and internet cannot penetrate but good food,...

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Justified Paranoia

(0) Comments | Posted July 2, 2013 | 9:06 AM

In Paranoia, Victor Martinovich has crafted a novel so real that the government of Belarus banned it two days after it was published in that country. It tells the story of two lovers, Anatoly and Elisaveta, who try to hide their affair in a state where nothing can be hidden;...

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Lost in Front of Our Eyes

(0) Comments | Posted June 4, 2013 | 7:04 AM

I've called S.J. Bolton the Queen before and I proclaim it again: Bolton rules the world of psychological thrillers. She presents the evidence, year after year, of just how twisted the wires of the human psyche are. No matter our outward appearance, inside we harbor moral imperatives that...

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Slow-Cooked or Seared: Reading Slow and Fast

(0) Comments | Posted May 16, 2013 | 7:42 AM

I am a fast reader. By nature or nurture, I cannot say. My mother is a fast reader, as is my eldest son (he is a very fast reader). I've always felt it was a gift, a way to read even more in a world where so many of us...

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Detecting Humanists: New Mysteries by Anne Perry and Walter Mosley

(1) Comments | Posted April 29, 2013 | 8:08 PM

A humanist is a person having a strong interest in or concern for human welfare, values, and dignity. (Thank you, Dictionary.com). For me, being a humanist also means believing in the inherent ability of each human being to think and reason, and to decide to act not just for one's...

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Oleander Girl: Coming of Age

(0) Comments | Posted April 18, 2013 | 10:36 AM

Early in Chitra Banerjee Divakaruni's new novel, Oleander Girl, the dead mother of Korobi Roy appears to the young woman in a dream, beckoning to her from a bedroom window. Reading the novel, I felt as if I were that mother, an omniscient presence able to read my child's mind...

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Historical Fiction, Then and Now

(10) Comments | Posted April 9, 2013 | 6:59 PM

I love historical fiction. A writer takes what is known about a place in time or a character from the past, and then transports the reader further and deeper into what are the blood and guts of the past. And I mean blood and guts: People and moments in time...

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