Rules of Civility by Amor Towles
Rules of Civility will transport you to the late 1930’s in Manhattan. On New Year’s Eve 1937, Katey and her boardinghouse roommate, Eve, will take you out on the town for libations and music where they meet a handsom young man called Tinker. That meeting sparks an unpredicted chain of events for 25-year-old Katey.
Throughout the following year, 1938, Katey mingles with high society and works for the Editor of Conde Nast’s newest magazine. Her friendship with Eve changes as her relationship with Tinker develops and a whole cast of entertaining characters fill in the rest of 1938.
Rules of Civility is one of the best books I’ve read in a while. What I loved most about this book, aside from being transported to another time, was that while Katey is young and finding her way, she is never lost. She’s a strong young woman and I loved reading her adventures.
First we meet Madeleine, an Austen-obsessed English major writing her thesis about the marriage plot found in english novels. At the beginning of The Marriage Plot, she is waking up the morning of her college gradation with a raging hangover and is late to meet her parents for breakfast. At breakfast we meet Mitchell, an old “friend” of Madeleine’s, who is sorely in love with her and believes they are soul mates despite the fact they are not on speaking terms. Later we meet Leonard, the brilliant but troubled guy Madeleine has dated during her senior year. The novel follows the love triangle throughout their first year out of college while also providing a look into the history of their college days.
As I was reading The Marriage Plot I constantly went back on forth as to whether or not I liked each of the three main characters. Some of their actions I applauded, others I did not. But regardless of if I liked them or not, I couldn’t stop thinking about them. Madeleine, Mitchell and Leonard are very well-developed and you can’t help but want to find out what happens to them. This wasn’t a favorite of mine but I did enjoy it and would recommend it if you are looking for an interesting read.
I not a huge fan of long book reviews that give too much away. I like a short, sweet, to-the-point review that gives me some insight into the plot. So, that said, any book reviews I post here will be short and sweet. Oh, and I set a goal on GoodReads to read 75 books this year so get ready!
Onto the book!
Maine by J. Courtney Sullivan
Like her first novel (Commencement), Maine follows the lives of four female characters. But instead of best friends, they are family. Alice, the matriarch of the Kelleher family, spends her summer’s at the family home in Maine. Summers at the house used to mean the whole family was together. Now, the Kelleher children follow a strict schedule and take turns visiting the house and their mother.
But this summer, possibly their last in Maine, Kathleen (Alice’s daughter) Maggie (Alice’s granddaughter) and Ann Marie (Alice’s daughter-in-law) find themselves together at the summer house. Each chapter is told through the voice of a different woman. They tell the story of the summer but also the story of their lives. Family drama, tragedies, and struggles have played a huge role in their lives and made them who they are.
What I loved most about the book was reading one chapter and forming opinions of the other characters, just to get to the next chapter and learn the other side of the story. Changing everything I thought about them.
Sound intriguing? Definitely pick it up!
Fun fact: Sullivan contributes to someecards!
With a 45-minute train ride to and from work everyday, I’ve been starting to go through books like it’s my job (if only!). I’m pretty sure my friends and family are sick of me asking for recommendations.
Thankfully, I stumbled upon Daily Candy’s list “101 Books We Can’t Live Without.”
Of the long list, I’ve only read 15 books so I’ve got plenty to keep me busy, and awake, during my commute.
A few at the top of my list:
- Life of Pi
- Never Let Me Go
- Me Talk Pretty One Day
- Special Topics in Calamity Physics
- Art of Racing in the Rain
- Year of Magical Thinking