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BBWA 2012 – Memoirs celebrate the joy of reading

This entry is part 4 of 5 in the series BBAW

The well-read life is a life of reading

Book lovers and book bloggers place a high value on reading and make the act of reading a major life priority. Avid readers know what books have to offer. Books are more than cardboard covers and a bunch of paper glued together. They are repositories; they are comforters; they are our teachers; they are, in the end, our friends.

Tolstoy and the Purple Chair: My Year of Magical Reading

What do you do when you’re overwhelmed with grief and feel like you are constantly running but getting nowhere? That’s the question author Nina Sankovitch had to ask herself three years after the death of sister. Her answer? Stop running. Sankovitch turned to books. Her vow: Read one book a day for a year.

Tolstoy and the Purple Chair is the result of that year of reading and how it helped her examine her life and begin the grieving process. The book is more than simply a catalog of books read. Sankovitch uses the one-book-a-day readings as a pathway into memory and a structure for her memoir. She also set up a blog to chronicle her daily reading and, in the process, cultivated a ready-made audience for her book.

My Reading Life

The reading desk of My Reading Life's author Pat Conroy

The reading desk of Pat Conroy.

For bestselling novelist Pat Conroy, reading is a matter of survival. What does it mean to have a “life shaped by books?” In My Reading Life Conroy answers with a weave of books and stories that celebrate the act of reading. One of the things I learned and now love about Pat Conroy is the wide-ranging interest he has in reading matter. He’s roamed across many storied landscapes and returned with his prized elixir shared with the pages of his memoir.

Like Conroy, I look at books as more companions than product, as portals than pages. It’s a pleasure to be in the hands of such a gifted writer as he shares his lifelong exploration of books, and if you’ve read Conroy before you know he doesn’t pull his punches. Aren’t you curious about the role books have played in his life?

The Yellow-Lighted Bookshop: A Memoir, a History

Lewis Buzzbee shares bookstore memories in a book about reading

The Yellow-Lighted Bookshop in Tetbury, Gloucestershire

Do you love roaming the book stacks at the local book store? I do. There’s something magical about running your fingertips over the spines and across the titles, allowing them to speak to you in ways you can’t even articulate. Who better than a fellow bibliophile to write an ode to the bookstore experience?

Lewis Buzzbee’s The Yellow-Lighted Bookshop releases those shared sensory memories of a page turned, a book felt, a story imagined. You’ll find more than a stash of bookstore experiences within these pages: The publishing world is revealed as the history of bookstores is explored.

More books for writers and passionate readers

Because we all know that one book is simply not enough–nor two or three, I’ve shared a few more books for you to explore below. Share your suggestions and thoughts in the comments below. Let’s talk books.


More on Book Blogging Appreciation Week 2012. Ready to read the classics? Join The Classics Club. My 5 year 50+ booklist is here: The Classics Club project. Short story lovers, check out The Short Stories Challenge.

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Series NavigationBBWA 2012 – Books, book blogs, and book bloggersBBWA 2012 – Book blogger finds
  • Literary Feline

    I’ve been wanting to read all three of these book, particularly Tolstoy and the Purple Chair. I had meant to read it this past year, after my dad died, but have continually put it off. I really enjoy reading books about books!

  • Vikk Simmons

    You’ll enjoy the reads if you do. I’m like you. Love those books about books.

  • Lisa Sheppard

    I can’t imagine trying to read a book a day. Much as I love to read, I find myself distracted by other things even when I do have the chance to read for hours. And I have a hard enough time remembering the details of books I’ve read as it is. But I sure would like to read this one!

  • Elizabeth

    What an outstanding blog and post. Your first paragraph is awesome….especially the last sentence.

    The books look great too.

    I am a new e-mail subscriber so I don’t miss anything.

    THANKS, and hope you had a fun Day 4 of BBAW.

    Silver’s Reviews

  • Alpa

    I have to read this book. It was lost over time for me