I’ve read the blog Tolstoy Therapy for some time now and never come away without new thoughts about one of the Great Themes. What is the good life? How do fiction and art and creativity fit into my science-heavy life?  The author of Tolstoy Therapy explores each of these themes – and many more – and points the reader to books that explore these same questions.

The author weaves an interesting story throughout her posts about how as she turned to books to help understand the particulars of her thoughts and outlook. After starting her blog, recommending and reviewing books to help see things in a certain light, she discovered that bibliotherapy is a useful and respected counseling tool. I noticed that her posts stopped for a time. When she began posting again, something had happened. She had moved to the Alps and wrote with a stronger voice. She conveys a sense that she is crafting her life now rather than simply dealing with what is dealt to her. If you have ever enjoyed any of my book reviews, you will find much to like and learn from at Tolstoy Therapy.

In a recent post – here – she summarizes much of her reading and thinking in a piece titled  ‘The 28 books that stopped my worrying, sent me traveling, and shaped who I am today‘. It’s a fun and important read. She touches on many of my favorites: Meditations by the Stoic Marcus Aurelius tops both of our lists. Of course, Tolstoy’s great War and Peace and Anna Karenina (my vote for the greatest novel of all time) are on the list. She lists several titles I can’t wait to sink myself into. I’ve been wanting to read Oliver Sachs for some time and she lists Gratitude as a reminder that ‘life is an enormous privilege and adventure‘. She recommends When Breath Becomes Air by Paul Kalanithi to help ‘decide how I want to be spending the time I have‘.  I haven’t heard of de Bernières’ Captain Corelli’s Mandolin but her admonition to read it ‘to love‘ is all I need to put it on my list.

Surely you want to wallow in some introspection during the new year? Surely you want to spend some time peering at the world through a different lens for a time? Certainly you have an urge to spend hours with the Great Count Leo Tolstoy and his infamous Anna?

I recommend Tolstoy Therapy as a great place to start a new reading journey or to think anew about some of your old favorites.


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