why we read books

Review: Amor Towles’ A Gentleman in Moscow

29430012A Gentleman in Moscow is available now

*****5/5 stars

Amor Towles does it again with prose, plot, and characters who grab hold and won’t let go.  Need a gift this Christmas?  This is it.

Recommended readers:

Here’s my Rankings:

  • 5/5 for characters
  • 5/5 for plot
  • 5/5 overall


On house arrest in Moscow’s grand Metropol Hotel for being a Former Person in the new Soviet Union, Count Alexander Rostov once wrote a poem that inspired revolutionary fervor, and cannot, apparently, simply be shot at dawn. He is instead removed from his old suite of rooms and confined to the attic, where he builds a new life full of the kind of characters you can only hope to meet in your own. It’s a novel of fully-realized tragedy that somehow doesn’t get lost there, instead brimming with optimism and hope. With Rules of Civility, Towles had me for life– I looked up from the ending of that gem feeling as if it were impossible that I could be somewhere besides 1930s New York– and once again, Towles wins me over. Wonderful prose, characters, and plot, the holy trifecta for any writer, complete with literary, historic, and cinema references. With Amor Towles, know that you are reading something from someone infinitely more intelligent than you, but who writes so that you can still enjoy it, who makes you stop and think while still plunging forward to discover what happens next.

To quote the dust jacket: “He can’t leave. You won’t want to.”

Buy it now on Amazon

Fiction Review: Rules of Civility by Amor Towles

Rules of Civility: A Novel on sale now

*****5/5 starsAmor Towles

It’s New Years Eve, on the dawn of 1938. A chance encounter in a Greenwich bar leads Katey Kontent on a ride to the top of New York Society with the engaging Tinker Grey—but will he stay there with her?

Recommended readers:

  • For anyone who enjoys getting totally lost in a time and place of a story
  • For anyone who wonders if men can write women
  • For anyone who revels in both great writing and great storytelling

Here’s my Rankings:

  • 5/5 for characters
  • 5/5 for plot
  • 5/5 overall


I loved this book. I loved the structure, loved the prose, the literary references, the total immersion in another place and time, and most of all, Katey. She’s one of those characters who stays with you, who you have a hard time remembering isn’t someone you know. Stay tuned for a review of Towles’ second offering, Eve in Hollywood.

Buy now:

eReader or Paper?

Are you an avid reader and can’t decide how to best enjoy your books? Personally I mix my reading between electronic and paper.

Maybe you’re a hard core paper book reader and love the feel of an actual book in your hands … the feel of turning pages and knowing you’re halfway through just by holding it. Or you’re an woman on the go, trying to fit your full life into a little device so its convenient.

Here’s some of the pros and cons to both:

PAPEROpen Book

Includes hardback, paperback with those little things called pages.

Pros: The feel of the paper turning. Some love the beauty of a line of books on a shelf or the ability to know exactly how much you have left. I love the sense of accomplishment as you close the last page and put that book on the ‘finished’ row in the shelf. There is a more emotional connection to a physical paper book.
Cons: If you’re an avid reader like me, the vast quantities of books piling up is overwhelming and unmanageable. Not to mention the amazing ability of my kids to pull out a book marker. While traveling the books take up way too much space in my very efficient carry-on. And sometimes my fingers get number from holding a book at the angle I like.

ELECTRONIC READEReReaders and tablets

Includes iPad, Kindle, Nook, Google, Kobo and may more.
Pros: Ahhh you just put the kids to bed or finished cleaning the kitchen and there’s nothing better than settling down with a book … oh wait, you still need to send an email. Multi-tasking is one of the greatest benefits of another device. Plus you can store hundreds of books in .1% of the space needed for physical books. And lastly, my kids don’t have to roll their eyes or get embarrassed when their mom is reading a book with a cover graphic showing bulging chest muscles and bursting busts. I can sit on an airplane reading a love scene and not see the guy next to me peaking over.
Cons: For some the cover of the book is an emotional part of the journey. You pick up the book and are reminded and attached to the cover so in electronic reader there’s almost no connection to the cover. You don’t have a feel for where you are in a book unless you look at the page numbers. Many readers are challenging to read outside – so a trip/vacation to the beach may not be ideal for a reader.

In the end it’s a personal choice. Every person wants a different experience from there books.

I personally use a mix. I mainly read my books via iPad … but every 20th book or so I’ll buy because I liked the cover or the author and save it for a day at the beach or to make me feel like I’ve taken a step back in time from my busy hectic life.

Kobo Aura