Tolstoy and the Purple Chair: Books are Experience

Books are experience, the words of authors proving the solace of love, the fulfillment of family, the torment of war, and the wisdom of memory. Joy and tears, pleasure and pain: everything came to me while I read in my purple chair. I had never sat so still, and yet experienced so much.

—Nina Sankovitch, Tolstoy and the Purple Chair


4 comments on “Tolstoy and the Purple Chair: Books are Experience

  1. Matt says:

    Beautiful quote! Reminds me of what John Keating (played by Robin williams) in the movie “Dead Poets Society: “No matter what anybody says, words and ideas can change the world.”

    So true. Reading a book – mulling over ideas, expanding one's perspective, immersing oneself in the world of the author – can be a life-changing experience!

  2. Sylvia says:

    Very well said, Matt. Books, and stories in general, are the best way to “walk in another's shoes” for a while, and that can only make us better people.

  3. Tom says:

    Did you finish the book? What did you think? I'm about half way through. For me, it's slower going than I thought it would be.

  4. Sylvia says:

    Yes I did finish it. It's certainly an ideosyncratic book, but in the end she does find that her random reading does help her deal with her emotions. She probably didn't need a whole year, and staying up late to read probably didn't help her mood, but it's what she wanted to do and it worked out for her in the end. I was just interested in the book as an example of bibliotherapy. I can't say I enjoyed it but it was interesting. Now I'm reading “The Whole Five Feet” about a guy reading the Harvard Classics, and it is quite similar. Neither really comes close to “A Jane Austen Education,” which was fantastic and very enjoyable.

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