Reader beware! I am a confessed book junkie. I’ve been known to spend part of my grocery money on a book instead of a pot roast. Who needs to eat? So choosing just one book to yak about is nearly impossible. I picked two. I began 2012 by reading Tolstoy and the Purple Chair by Nina Sankovitch and Tuesday Night Miracles by Kris Radish. One memoir, one novel.
Tolystoy and the Purple Chair is the first book I have read on my new Kindle Fire. Matter of a fact I was coaxed into using the Kindle because this book was downloaded on it as part of my Christmas gift from hubby. Ultimately he pushed me into the future. Nina Sankovitch’s book is about reading. Now, being a hardcore book junkie, I thought this had to be for me. I began with the expectation that I would gain a list of new books to feed my addiction. Ms. Sankovitch did not disappoint me. While there were plenty of books she read that I love, she provided me with many to search out. A treasure indeed. But inside the cover is more than a list of books. She writes about how she came to her personal goal of reading a book a day for a year, three-hundred-and-sixty-five books. Now, that’s hard enough when you have tons of free time, but this woman has four boys and a household to run. What I love is her determination to give herself this year of recovery, of honesty. A job of reading. And next to writing this is the best job in the world. Why read a book a day for a year? What kind of healing was she searching out? Nina Sankovitch had lost her sister to a rare aggressive cancer. The loss was immense and she needed to allow herself time to work through the grief. She’d been there for her family during this devastation but somehow let her own needs fall to the side. And now it was time for her. This memoir is touching, sensitive, inspiring, and enlightening. Through her reading and reviewing, what does Ms. Sankovitch find?
Choosing Tuesday Night Miracles and settling in for a serious read is like taking a long, brisk walk on a crisp, cold day. This novel revived me and pulled me into the lives of characters with problems many of us can relate to. Not since How To Make An American Quilt by Whitney Otto have I been so interested in a group of women and their stories. This is a novel about anger and the miracle of empowerment after finding one’s true voice. There is a fine line between anger and bad choices, and all of Radish’s characters cross it.
Instead of traditional anger-management meetings, these women are given assignments that defy all reason. As a result, they all face the ultimate choice: should they change and move forward or remain in the past? I fell in love with the author’s intricately layered characters and storytelling. Her ability to capture problems so prevalent in women’s lives today is uncanny. This book is so much more than just another story about women’s issues. The readers will go on a journey and discover a lot about in the process. Miracles still manifest in the most outstanding ways.
And because I am a book junkie I’m adding a list of my favorite books from 2011 in no particular order.
Witches On The Road Tonight by Sheri Holman
Kingdom of Childhood by Rebecca Coleman
The Dry Grass of August by Anna Jean Mayhew
The Silver Sparrow by Tayari Jones
Between Shades of Gray by Ruta Sepetys
The Orphan Sister by Gwendolen Gross
The Peach Keeper by Sarah Addison Allen
Coming Up For Air by Patti Callahan Henry
I Gave My Heart To Know This by Ellen Baker
The Bird Sisters by Rebecca Rasmussen
Pictures of You by Caroline Leavett
And dear readers I could go on and on.
Ann Hite has written short stories, personal essays, and book reviews for numerous publications and anthologies. Ghost on Black Mountain, her first novel, was released by Gallery Books, an imprint of Simon & Schuster, in September 2011. Ann lives Smyrna just north of Atlanta.