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Posts tagged ‘Amor Towles’

Musings | Concrete jungle

New York is a lot of things in my life:  my home, source of inspiration, financial torturer, goldmine of wonderful friends and concrete jungle where professional dreams are made (if you work hard enough and know the right people). This  complicated, love/hate relationship I’ve developed was perfectly encapsulated for me the other week by author Amor Towles. I went to one of his book tour talks the other week for his first published work and bestseller Rules ofCivility (read it!) with my lovely friend Blair. Among other very intelligent things, Amor said the quote below during his speech and a lightbulb went of in my head! It is the essence of this city that never sleeps and I really couldn’t think of living anywhere else right now. As I grow into adulthood, through all the growing pains, I realize that New York has it all in store for me, but I am the key to unlocking success. Time to go make things happen! xx

New York City of yore

Presenting the last book I completed in 2011! Rules of Civility was the perfect way to end a year of reading because this book was really fantastic. I first saw this cover on display at the Lexington Avenue Shakespeare & Co. Booksellers and it drew me in immediately. Well done on the publisher’s part… I’m a sucker for the glamorous lifestyles of decades past. After reading the book, though, the jacket graphics can’t compete with the descriptions in the novel – they paint a much more vivid picture of those years.

The book takes you back to the late 1930s, the old New York, following one Katey Kontent, a Russian from Brighton Beach Brooklyn, as she enters the world of New York high society through hard work, and cleverly engineered and also very serendipitous introductions to the “right” people. She falls for a mysterious banker, Tinker Grey, and their relationship teaches Katey that people are generally, regardless of breeding or upbringing, not exactly who they appear to be.

Towles is a terrific writer with wonderful turn of phrase and descriptions. The prose is wise and elegant, just like the characters it’s describing. Hopefully he’ll keep writing novels (this is his first, he’s actually a full-time investment banker). I took some of my favorite bits from the novel and put them here to give you a taste of his wonderful style:

1. On idealism “Uncompromising purpose and the search for eternal truth ahave an unquestionable sex appeal for the young and high-minded; but when a person loses the ability to take pleasure in the mundane — in the cigarette on the stoop or the gingersnap in the bath — she has probably put herself in unnecessary danger… One must be prepared to fight for one’s simple pleasures and to defend them againse elegance adn erudition and all manner of glamorous enticements.”

2. On emotions “Let me observe that in moments of high emotion — whether they’re triggered by anger or envy, humiliation or resentment — if the next thing you’re going to say makes you feel better, then it’s probably the wrong thing to say.”

3. On growing up “Time should be our ally, not our enemy.”

Keep the quotations coming!

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