6 May 2012

10 Things I Love About... "The Rules of Civility" by Amor Towles

1) Katey Kontent.
A heroine with that kind of name is made to be noticed and Katey Kontent is as cool, classy and confident as her name is cliched. 

2) The harsh reality - quote from page 63
"It wasn't about who had dibs now or who was sitting next to whom in the cinema. The game had changed; or rather, it wasn't a game anymore. It was a matter of making it through the night, which is often harder than it sounds, and always a very individual business."

3) New York in the late 1930s. A place of jazz and glamour, of old money and new fashions, of Depression era worries and of opportunities. If this book is turned into a film, it will be a feast for the eyes. 

4) Did I mention the glamour? - quote from page 47
"The men wore tailored suits and accented their breast pockets with untouched handkerchiefs. The women wore silk dresses in royal colors and chokers of pearls."

5) Katey Kontent's love of Dickens - quote from page 128
"Admittedly, there's something a little annoying about all those plucky underprivileged kids and the aptly named agents of villainy. But I've come to realize that however blue my circumstances, if after finishing a chapter of a Dickens novel I feel a miss-my-stop-on-the-train sort of compulsion to read on, then everything is probably going to be just fine." 

6) Tinker Grey. A fascinating character is all I can say... For some reason he keeps reminding me of the lyrics from Regina Spektor's "Man of A Thousand Faces":
The man of a thousand faces
Sits down at the table
Eats a small lump of sugar
And smiles at the moon like he knows her
And begins his quiet ascension
Without anyone's sturdy instruction

7) The truth about going to the hairdresser - quote from page 233
"Historically, once in the hands of a hairdresser, I had done whatever necessary to stymie conversation: grimacing; sleeping; staring blankly into the mirror; once I even faked ignorance of English."

8) The determination of Evie Ross - quote from page 15
"True, she was only five foot five, but she knew how to dance in two-inch heels - and she knew how to kick them off as soon as she sat in your lap."

9) The stories of elite Manhattan kids - quote from page 169:
"For a group freshly spilled from the country's finest schools, they were surprisingly aimless, but that didn't make them bad company. They didn't have much spending money or social status, but they were on the verge of having both." 

10) The stories of Russian immigrants in New York - quote from page 283:
"The first wind of the New York winter was sharp and heartless. Whenever it blew, it always made my father a little nostalgic for Russia. He'd break out the samovar and boil black tea and recall some December when there was a lull in conscription and the well wasn't frozen and the harvest hadn't failed. It wouldn't be such a bad place to be born, he'd say, if you never had to live there. 


  1. I love your list. I think comparing Tinker to Spektor's song is brilliant. The atmosphere and characters in the book would excellent, but the plot lost me as it reached the end. I still loved reading it, but it seemed like it lost its focus or something.

  2. Love this post :)
    I really must read this book!

  3. @Melissa: Thanks - everytime I think of Tinker the song just starts playing in my head!

    @Sam: Thanks :-) That is really kind of you! And yes, you will love it, I think!