Anywoot, the program is simple: when I read a modern or soon-to-be-released book that is Like a Classic Thing, I will tell you- read this, it is like this classic thing. Round One, commence:
I want to live in this cover. I want to sneak up behind the guy and ask for a smoke and steal the lady's dress.
I'm Sorry, What is That? Rules of Civility by Amor Towles, Viking Adult, July 2011
Goes Well With: The Great Gatsby
Explain Yourself, Upstart: Hokay so. The book is about Katey, a young woman who grew up poor in Brooklyn and has moved to Manhattan to work as a secretary in the 1930's. She goes to jazz clubs with her pretty roommate and in their travels they meet a wealthy, mysterious charmer with a secret past. This leads Katey into the world of the Upper East Side, where she drinks All the Martinis and goes to All the Parties. She navigates the world of her wealthy friends while trying to make it big in publishing. It's like Gatsby, if Nick was a girl and was less of a silly wanker and more of a no-nonsense working class sort. AND DID I MENTION MANHATTAN IN THE '30s? Swoon.
I'm Sorry, What is That? The House at Tyneford by Natasha Solomons, Plume, December 2011
Goes Well With: DOWNTON ABBEY, DOWNTON ABBEY! And also Jane Eyre and Rebecca, or Books Where The Nice Young Lady Goes to the Big Drafty House and There Are Romantic Shenanigans.
Explain Yourself, Upstart: Things that happen are thusly- Wealthy Jewish girl lives in Vienna in late 1930's. Hitler goes about being evil and the girl's parents are all, "To England you go, where you will unfortunately have to be a housemaid but also you won't die, so." The girl goes to England and becomes employed at a large, historic Mansion By The Sea, where the head butler is very We Do Things The Old Fashioned Way and the head housekeeper is all I Sympathize With Your Plight But You Suck at Polishing Silver. AND the owner of the house is a handsome, reserved, dashing older man of 40-ish. There is also a SON who is a rebellious, charming, sexy young man of 21-ish. SHENANIGANS, BEGIN. Then the Nazis come.
Sally forth, reading types.