My goal was to read twelve books in 2018, a feat that I have not been able to accomplish for several years. Although I am disappointed that I didn’t quite cross the finish line, I am still proud of the strides that I made in not only reading, but reviewing and recommending ten books over the past twelve months. Two of my best friends now have their very own copy of “Girl, Wash Your Face,” “The Magic Strings Of Frankie Presto” remains on the “must read” list of several companions. I have found new mentors and role models, have deepened my relationship with historical fiction, have uncovered profound lyrics between the pages of bestsellers and bookshelf warmers, alike.
I am therefore compelled to sign up for another race.
This year, I will try again for a dozen reads; My downfall post-October was due to a book that I was overwhelmed by- Its size and subject matter deterred me from diving in, despite a friend’s strong recommendation. Coming off of easy, breezy “The Next Person You Meet In Heaven,” I wasn’t ready to sink my teeth into “A Gentleman In Moscow,” by Amor Towles. I began reading the book and put it down. Reached for it for a few moments before bed here and there before throwing it back on my nightstand. The introduction felt like a history lesson that I could not follow. The characters were foreign to me- I felt like I was in over my head. But by December, I was determined to billow through the book, push through its pages with purpose. As the paperback became more worn and tattered, I read a few more chapters over Christmas break- On the car ride up from Virginia to Rhode Island. After everyone had gone to sleep; curled up with my dog on a queen-sized air mattress. As days passed, I let go of my “12 book” notion and took my time with “Gentleman,” sat back and really fixated on the characters.
Only then, did I really start to fall in love.
Count Alexander Rostov was a Russian Aristocrat when, in 1922, he was condemned to a sixth-floor room in the Metropol Hotel for a written account that was deemed unsuitable by the Bolshevik tribune. His fate? A lifetime of confinement within the walls of the lavish establishment. The story is a charming account of the hotel guests and staff members Rostov meets through the years, the secrets that he uncovers while milling about the space, the lessons he learns and the man he becomes as he ages, not in forlorn misery, but in surprising company. The Count was a master of many hobbies, was a philosopher of sorts, was a lover of many things and people, although all compartmentalized. It was quite lovely, becoming deeply acquainted with this protagonist.
The author’s storytelling skills are superb; Although it took me a while to understand the direction of the book, I now want to read Towles’ “Rules of Civility,” because I like the time and effort that he puts into his characters. Everyone in “Gentleman” was wholesome- There was good in everyone, although everyone was flawed in their own ways.
FINAL SCORE: 3.5: Although I didn’t put the book down and feel an overwhelming sense of satisfaction, the story was a delightful one. It was a feel-good tale.
BEST FOR: Avid Readers Who Don’t Mind A More Refined Literary Tongue
NOT GOOD FOR: Those Who Prefer Whimsical Easy Reads
IF THIS BOOK/ AUTHOR WAS A HIGH SCHOOL STEREOTYPE: The Optimist
**Want to see what I’m reading next? Find me on GoodReads and join the 2019 challenge with me! https://www.goodreads.com/addingpunctuation**