"The best books are transformative experiences. By reading a great book, we are changed forever: changed in how we think about something or someplace; changed in how we address joy and sorrow in our own lives; changed in how we find purpose in our lives; changed in how we appreciate the diversity of experience that the world offers. Nine years ago I began a project of reading a book a day for one year. My purpose was to find a way to live with the unbearable sorrow of losing my oldest sister to cancer. During the experience of reading 365 books, I was transformed. I came out of the darkness of loss into a place of warmth and light and understanding. I will never be the person I was before I lost my sister but because of the year I spent reading, I am a better person than I was. More compassionate, more patient, more resilient. In this list of 100 books, I want to share the books that I have found to be most transformative for me during my lifetime of reading. These books changed me for the better, made me appreciate all the beauty in the world; have patience for the hard times that come up in every life (every day!); and resolve for facing down the worst qualities in humankind, and for celebrating the best." - Nina Sankovitch
With my husband and four boys, I have lived in Westport since 2001. My career path has veered all over, from corporate law to working on ocean and coastal pollution for the Natural Resources Defense Council; from working as a grants administrator for a non-profit to serving as President and Executive Director of Save the Sound, here in Connecticut. Currently, I write books, freelance for the New York Times and Huffington Post (among other publications), serve as a judge for the Book of the Month Club, and read read read.
My book Tolstoy and the Purple Chair: My Year of Magical Reading, about the joys and therapeutic benefits of reading, was published in 2011. Tolstoy and the Purple Chair was hailed as “an outstanding debut” by Kirkus Reviews and designated a “book to read now” by Oprah. My second book, Signed, Sealed, Delivered: Celebrating the Joys of Letter Writing, came out in 2014; Oprah called it a book “every joy-seeking woman needs to read.”
My third book, titled The Lowells of Massachusetts: An American Family, came out in April 2017 from St. Martin's Press. The book is a multi-generational biography covering three hundred years of the fascinating Lowells. Roger Lowenstein of The Wall Street Journal called it a “stirring saga…Vivid and intimate … Sankovitch has made a compelling contribution to Massachusetts and American History.” Charlotte Gordon of The Washington Post wrote: “Meet American’s Most Extraordinary Family: the Lowells…Sankovitch has [written] the powerful story of one of America’s most extraordinary families, a family that helped shape the course of American history in dramatic and decisive ways…By the final pages of this volume, one feels deeply attached to the individual Lowells, while also exhilarated at having experienced this grand sweep of American history.” Joe Meyers of the Connecticut Post gave me the great compliment of comparing me favorably to James Michener, and The New Yorker observed that my “skillful blending of context and detail makes the vicissitudes of one family emblematic of a nation’s.”
I love to play tennis, kayak, and sit with my cat on my lap, reading.
Nina's 100 Selections
You may find the items listed above on the WestportCURATES display on the main floor of the library next to the circulation desk. Please ask for assistance in locating items. If you're interested in becoming a Westport Library Guest Curator, please email the Manager of Content Curation Robert Kelly