A Gentleman in Moscow – Summer Book Club
We have some exciting news for summer book club, but first – Happy Summer! Now I realize a lot of you are all over the world, so it may or may not be your summer. Nonetheless, I hope you will continue to devour good books with us, no matter what season it is.
So summer reading champions what is known as the “beach read” and is usually a page-turner you can’t put down. Now I am all for reading what you’re interested in and passionate about, but I think it’s only fair to tell you that I don’t “do” beach reads. I’m the girl who takes Infinite Jest with me to the shores of Barbados or reads The Autobiography of Malcolm X in a hammock in Maui. All that to say, my beach reads look a little different.
Keeping with my own traditions, our beach read this summer is not your typical light romance, although it is funny. We are heading to Russia and camping out in a hotel in the early 20th century while we read A Gentleman in Moscow by Amor Towles.
The publisher summarizes the book as follows:
A Gentleman in Moscow immerses us in another elegantly drawn era with the story of Count Alexander Rostov. When, in 1922, he is deemed an unrepentant aristocrat by a Bolshevik tribunal, the count is sentenced to house arrest in the Metropol, a grand hotel across the street from the Kremlin. Rostov, an indomitable man of erudition and wit, has never worked a day in his life, and must now live in an attic room while some of the most tumultuous decades in Russian history are unfolding outside the hotel’s doors. Unexpectedly, his reduced circumstances provide him a doorway into a much larger world of emotional discovery.
Brimming with humor, a glittering cast of characters, and one beautifully rendered scene after another, this singular novel casts a spell as it relates the count’s endeavor to gain a deeper understanding of what it means to be a man of purpose.
Now remember I pick books I think you might enjoy AND that I haven’t read. I’m only 30 pages into this beautifully bound book; if it doesn’t make you laugh out loud in the first 3 pages, I urge you to return it and catch us next season. The subtle and often blatant irony dripping from the pages I’ve read so far will surely make for an enjoyable read, despite being set in a time and place that are anything but funny.
The beauty of our community is that you never need to read every book. Join the conversation for the ones that interest you.
Speaking of conversation – it’s a rare and precious gift to discuss good books with like minds. Between our thriving Murakami community and our ambitious Proust reading group, we have some incredible people eager to devour one good book after another.
After seeing each of these communities take off in the last few months, I’ve realized our current book club needs tweaked. It’s a small change, but I suspect it will cultivate an even more rewarding experience as we devour these books together. We now have a private Facebook Group for our book club community to gather and engage with each season’s book selection.
When you subscribe to our Book Club newsletter, you’ll get an email with all the details.
The first novel we’ll unpack in our group is A Gentleman in Moscow.
To join in on the fun, sign up for our Book Oblivion Newsletter and feel free to bring some friends along:
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Jessica S. Manuel earned her B.A. in English with an emphasis in Critical Theory and a minor in Theological Studies from The Master’s University. She went on to earn her M.A. in English (Literature) from San Francisco State University where she studied 19th-20th Century Literature with a special studies emphasis in Critical Theory. After examining the intersections of psychoanalysis and contemporary literature, she wrote her thesis on Haruki Murakami’s use of the unconscious in Hard-Boiled Wonderland and the End of the World. After finishing her degree, she continued her education at University of California, San Diego where she studied Teaching Adult Learners and literature. She offers online adult literature courses for life-long learners through Book Oblivion Academy and also teaches writing and literature courses at the college level.