What I’m Reading Wednesday

12 Feb
Amor Towles' debut novel.

Amor Towles’ debut novel.

Sometimes a book hooks me in and I can’t put it down. Before I know it I have read the entire day away.

Last weekend I chose a book from my bookshelf that’s been sitting there for some time and it took me about 24 hours to finish it and return it to the shelf.

“Rules of Civility” by Amor Towles is a novel my personal book shopper (Hi Dad!) bought for me because it’s right in my genre wheelhouse. It has the glitz and glamour — and drama — of 20-somethings living in 1930s New York.

The novel opens at a gallery show of photographer Walker Evans in the 1960s. Towles had the fantastic idea to take a well-known (non-fiction) gallery of photos taken on a subway in the 1930s to start his story. Throughout the novel various photos are printed to give you a glimpse into the gallery located at the Metropolitan Museum of Art.

I started to read “Rules of Civility” right after I finished a non-fiction book (more on that next week) and was in the early phases of getting to know the characters and setting. While I thought I had an idea of what this story was going to be about, Towles throws a curve ball at about Page 54 and I couldn’t put it down for the nearly 300 other pages. I spent my entire Sunday afternoon reading the dramatic story of Katey, her friend Eve, and the other impressionable characters.

The story starts on the last day of 1937 and spans an entire year with the ups and many downs, and through it all I found myself cheering for Katey, the heroine of the story who always seems to get the short end of the stick.

Towles didn’t end the story in “Rules of Civility,” but rather continued on with Eve’s story in the novella “Eve in Hollywood,” released last summer.

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