Book Review: Rules of Civility
By Alexis Mercer
Sometime around the beginning of 2017 I started keeping a list of all the books I read. I had done this in the past for my English classes, but always seemed to lose track of the list after the school year ended and my notebooks got stashed away for the summer. This time I kept the list in a notebook that wasn’t school related so that it wouldn’t get stashed.
Since that time, I have recorded 37 books of all kinds; many of which I have shared with the readers of Near North Now.
In addition to writing the title and author of the book, I also rate the book between one and five stars and record whether it was a book chosen for book club or not.
Of the 37 books, 16 of them I have given a full five stars. Of those 16, I have added hearts by 8 of them.
The Runaway Wife by Elizabeth Birkeland
The Alchemist by Paulo Coelho
State of Wonder by Ann Patchett
Bel Canto by Ann Patchett
Commonwealth by Ann Patchett
The Magician’s Assistant by Ann Patchett
The Midnight Line by Lee Child
A Gentleman in Moscow by Amor Towles
I have found an author who speaks to my heart as much, if not more, than my beloved Ann Patchett with my thirty-eighth book.
Rules of Civility by Amor Towles is one of the most phenomenal books I have ever read in my entire life. There aren’t words extravagant enough to express my obsession with the way Towles weaves a story.
When I read A Gentleman in Moscow, I loved Towles. But it wasn’t until I read Rules in Civility that I started to truly appreciate his genius.
His characters and stories are vivid, refreshing and innovative. He takes me places I never even knew I wanted to go.
The story within Rules of Civility begins on New Year’s Eve in 1937 in New York City with a mid-twenties woman, Katey Kontent, and her roommate Eve Ross. The two are in a jazz bar when a man named Tinker Grey sits at a table next to them, forever changing the path of their lives.
The reader takes a journey with Katey throughout the next year of her life as she finds her way in her career, love life, friendships, and class system. She is a woman who grew up without a trust fund and has forged her path through grit and determination, wit and wonder.
Those who surround Katey, and whose stories intertwine so beautifully with hers, are full of life, energy, and minute details that help them come alive on the pages. I found myself loving each character as if he was my own friend with whom I had gone through trials and tribulations and come out with a stronger connection in the end.
I closed the book after having finished it and immediately knew I would soon be reading it again soon. But first I will be seeking the only book by Towles I have yet to read, Eve in Hollywood, hoping for even a glimpse of the beauty I have read in his other two books. (But after stalking his Facebook page, I now know he started a new novel in April…)
I’ll be adding Rules of Civility to my list of books read. After the five stars I think I will add two hearts instead of one.
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