Rules of Civility

Rules of Civility

[a Novel]

Downloadable Audiobook - 2011
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Set in New York City in 1938, tells the story of a watershed year in the life of an uncompromising 25-year-old named Katey Kontent. Armed with little more than a formidable intellect, a bracing wit, and her own brand of cool nerve, Katey embarks on a journey from a Wall Street secretarial pool through the upper echelons of New York society in search of a brighter future.
Publisher: [Westminster, Md.] : Books on Tape, 2011
ISBN: 9780307934536
0307934535
Characteristics: 1 online resource (1 sound file) : digital
Additional Contributors: Lowman, Rebecca
OverDrive, Inc

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Opinion

From Library Staff

List - Melanie Recommends
OPL_MelanieS Mar 14, 2018

This debut novel explores how encounters and choices made in your 20s can have a lasting effect and shape your character in the years to come.
With traces of Fitzgerald’s The Great Gatsby – Midwesterners on the East Coast, high society and plenty of gin – and characters with names like Bitsy, Tin... Read More »


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n
nalahblueberry5
May 05, 2019

Loved it

a
amanoletters99
May 02, 2019

Was I reading the same book as the other commentators? I did not find this story engaging. If this author's writing is to be considered stylistic, well then, count me out. I used the 50-page rule on this one and struggled to make it that far. Did I miss something? Rubbish, I say, utter rubbish, ughhh...

g
GladstoneReader
Jan 26, 2019

Read this a few months after reading Towles' Gentleman in Moscow, which was a grand read with interesting characters and some Soviet Russian history. This reads very well as a first novel and it has the same mental flavor as Gentleman. I have a particularly fondness for novels that that illuminate the dignity that people can aspire to and achieve. My daughter has this book on her TBR list and I'm looking forward to her views on how accurately Towles portrays a female main character. It's my experience that males do poorly when trying to depict a female protagonist while women authors are better at portraying male protagonists. Plus, the late 1930s in New York City had such grand music, clubs, clothes, and vitality.

e
ellenorndorf
Dec 04, 2018

Excellent

k
kingsly_1
Dec 03, 2018

Having read His A Gentleman in Moscow Which I found extremely engaging I am looking forward to Rules of Civility

SkokieStaff_Steven Sep 26, 2018

Amor Towles’ debut novel “Rules of Civility” is an accomplished work of art. Its prose is polished to a high gloss, its dialogue is snappy, its structure is elegant. The plot proceeds at a leisurely pace so that the reader can linger over Towles’ stylish writing. Even the design of the book is striking, right down to the font on the chapter headings. This attention to the book’s surface is appropriate for its story is concerned with surfaces. It follows a group of social strivers in 1938 Manhattan who infiltrate the glittering society of their time in large part because they know how to present themselves well. What the book lacks is the tragic sense that pervades works like “The Great Gatsby” or “The House of Mirth” to which Towles’ novel of manners is sometimes compared. It’s as if Towles fell so much in love with his own characters that he couldn’t bear for anything truly bad to happen to any one of them.

TechLibrarian Aug 29, 2018

This isn't the sort of book I usually read, but I took a chance on it since everyone seems to be loving A Gentleman in Moscow, and I was waiting for an available copy. I was really surprised to find myself quickly pulled into Rules of Civility. I liked the narrator's voice a lot, and that helped; I think reading the back and forth banter on the page wouldn't have been as fun as listening to her performance. As the plot moved along, sometimes a bit slowly, I came to really like the characters themselves. And, I really liked that the main character was a reader, so there were lots of references to famous books and authors peppered throughout. I don't think this book is for everyone but I'd recommend it as a read-alike to The Great Gatsby, or Bel Canto, as the writing is similarly lyrical, and it's also set in a similar time period.

m
maipenrai
Aug 16, 2018

Though not as good as "A Gentleman in Moscow" this novel has excellent character development. Amor Towles is very literate!! It was so nice to read a book that did not have incorrect grammar in sentence after sentence. Highly recommend this author. Kristi & Abby Tabby

s
StoriedLife
Jun 14, 2018

The book captures a certain feel for the period but it seems more like a Hollywood version and is weakened by an unbelievable narrator. “Kate” starts out mentioning that class differences don’t go unnoticed in the East, but she never finds herself in any difficulty negotiating the steep climb. The author puts too much clunky historical detail in her mouth, and her character comes off as too cool a customer by half. Also, some scenes would seem right at home in a Jacqueline Susann tale.

m
m0mmyl00
Jun 14, 2018

First of all, I love the title. Also, there really are 110 “rules of civility,” written down by George Washington as a guide to gentlemanly conduct. They are certainly appropriate for modern times as well as in the 1920s when Towles’s book is set and in Washington’s time. And the old fashioned language is charming, i.e., rule #4: “In the Presence of Others Sing not to yourself with a humming Noise, nor Drum with your Fingers or Feet.”
I did not fall in love with the book, though. It’s the story of various characters’ attempts to advance in society and fortune, and the paths their lives took when they seized or refused the opportunities that came their way. Ethical and considerate behavior might lead to good fortune...or it might not. It might indicate high standards of character...but not necessarily. It’s an interesting juxtaposition of good/bad and right/wrong, but I just didn’t care about any of the characters. Therefore it mattered not to me whether any of them got their just desserts.
But then, I loved A Gentleman in Moscow so much, so Rules of Civility likely suffered a great deal in comparison.

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