Rules of Civility

last updated 2018-09-17

by Amor Towles

I read this following up A Gentleman In Moscow (recommended to me by my mom and brother), which was one of my favorite books last year. The author's writing style is refreshing, and although there are conflicts throughout his novels, they generally relieve stress. Rules of Civility was not quite as list-topping as A Gentleman In Moscow, but I enjoyed it nevertheless. Embedded in a woman's journey to and through New York City is fascinating historical research about the city in 1938.

Some highlights:

If we earn fifty cents an hour, we admire the rich and pity the poor, and we reserve the full force of our venom for those who make a penny more or a penny less.

He always looked his best, I thought to myself, when circumstances called for him to be a boy and a man at the same time.

In our twenties, when there is still so much time ahead of us, time that seems ample for a hundred indecisions, for a hundred visions and revisions—we draw a card, and we must decide right then and there whether to keep that card and discard the next, or discard the first card and keep the second. And before we know it, the deck has been played out and the decisions we have just made will shape our lives for decades to come.

and particularly pleasant to revisit as I write this at the cusp of Autumn:

Come September, despite the waning hours, despite the leaves succumbing to the weight of gray autumnal rains, there is a certain relief to having the long days of summer behind us; and there’s a paradoxical sense of rejuvenation in the air.

Compiled 2024-04-21