What are you reading?

Well, welcome back to posts from Daughter #1. My blogging days for the past two weeks fell on national holidays so I took them off. Apologies to those I disappointed.

Tonight, my boss, back in town for the start of the legislative session, wanted to go to the bar after work. And you can’t say no to the bossman, right?

Over the holiday, I read a number of books. A friend proudly wrote on insta that she normally only reads like one book a year (I kid you not), but in 2019 she read 17. Using audible. Congrats. I read five over the holiday. I read Donna Tartt’s The Secret History, which was engrossing but very depressing. I re-read at least three Longmire books, which always feel like visiting old friends. And I read Amor Towles’ Rules of Civility. I knew I would love this book from page one.

It was what the social columnists liked to refer to as “a superlative affair.” The men were in black tie, echoing the palette of the photographs, and the women wore brightly colored dresses hemmed at every length from the Achilles tendon to the top of the thigh. Champagne was being served off little round trays by young unemployed actors with flawless features and the grace of acrobats. Few of the guests were looking at the pictures. They were too busy enjoying themselves.

A drunken young socialite in pursuit of a waiter stumbled and nearly knocked me to the floor. She wasn’t alone in her condition. At formal gatherings, somehow it had become acceptable, even stylish, to be drunk before eight.

As my mother wrote in a post about Amor Towles’ A Gentleman from Moscow, “when I finished, I was tempted to turn back to page one and start again.” But seriously. What an absolute treat to read a book that felt so effortless. I tried to read it slowly and was a little sad when I reached the end.

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I loved, too, that many scenes happen in my favorite building in New York City, the Beresford. The building was around the corner from my apartment (the difference between Central Park West and Columbus Ave is rather vast) and was my beacon when figuring out where I was when running in Central Park.

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My mother gave me this picture for Christmas and I absolutely love it. I am not someone who found New York, as it is commonly described, as feeling full of possibility. To me, New York felt out of reach, even while living there. Because of course, when imagining what it would be like to live in New York, one pictures witty dinner parties and interesting people. Being caught up in whatever is happening. I pictured it more Nora Ephron and less How I Met Your Mother (that is, less meeting your friends at the same dive bar for eight years). I only ever made it to an apartment with a terrace overlooking the park at the Nightline holiday party.

The reality is that few people are actually interesting anymore–and those that are, don’t live in New York City. I’ll take happy hour at Paddy’s in Jefferson City over drinks in a bar with people who impress themselves any day. 

Now, I’m reading A Gentleman from Moscow and really can’t believe they are going to let Kenneth Branagh ruin it. Except that I can. Talk about people who impress themselves.