This one goes out to my book club gals. We are a small group of three who share a love of books, conversation and, of course, food. My club-mates are both high school teachers (with very lucky students I dare say) and they have impressive amounts of wisdom to offer. They are also excellent bakers, which makes them golden in my eyes. We enjoy our discussions over tea/coffee and a buffet of sweet and savoury treats.
We met this past Sunday (after a regrettably long hiatus) to discuss one of our now-favourite books, Rules of Civility by Amor Towles. I have written before about how much I enjoy simple pleasures, and reading is definitely one of them, especially with a novel as absorbing as this one. Normally I like to watch movies after the kids go to bed, but while I was reading this book, I returned to it greedily every time I had a spare moment. I finished it in three days, which was two days too long in my opinion.
In keeping with the theme of simple pleasures, my book club mate (and sister-in-law) noted how much she loved one particular page of the book, when the protagonist, Katey, recalls some advice her father had given her on his death bed.
"Whatever setbacks he had faced in his life, he said, however daunting or dispiriting the unfolding of events, he always knew that he would make it through, as long as when he woke in the morning he was looking forward to his first cup of coffee." Katey adds, "Uncompromising purpose and the search for eternal truth have 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. What my father was trying to tell me, as he neared the conclusion of his own course, was that this risk should not be treated lightly: One must be prepared to fight for one's simple pleasures and to defend them against elegance and erudition and all manner of glamorous enticements."