Saturday, June 25, 2011

Weekend Book Giveaway

Pitch Uncertain and Rules of Civility

Do you lap up Vanity Fair articles about simpler yet more moneyed and privileged times? Do you wish you were around for the café society? Are you a fan of Edith or Fitzgerald? Than these two selections might just be up your alley.

by Maisie Houghton

What’s It About?

In Maisie Houghton's luminous account of where she came from and who she became, the privileged worlds of Cambridge, Massachusetts, and coastal Maine are vividly evoked as background for the complex family she depicts with such compassionate insight and courageous candor. She has given us a small masterpiece of self-discovery and acceptance that will leave no reader untouched.”
--Walter Kaiser

First line:

“I was born in 1940, a bad time for the world, but I never did anything bad until the day I cut off my hair and left it on the floor for my mother to find, a bright, hot pool of yellow curls.”

My mother guided me toward the dining room. "We must finish lunch," she murmured, rousing herself. The table looked half-ravaged, like my hair, with crumpled napkins and tired lettuce on the plates. I started to weep at the enormity of what I had done. Fat tears fell on my grilled cheese sandwich. "Don't fuss, darling," consoled my mother distractedly. She wasn't even looking at me.There was an unspoken lesson in that afternoon. My mother should have been angry but instead she held her tongue. Was it at that point that I learned to guard the peace, to mind my manners, to keep my mouth shut?On my report card, the music teacher wrote "pitch uncertain."In school someone would grab me from behind on the playground: "whose side are you on? Lucy's?" -- the charismatic troublemaker, or "Kitten's?" -- the charismatic good-girl. It seemed easier -- and smarter -- to keep my mouth shut.One day I came home from school tense, weepy from trying to please everyone. My mother uncharacteristically drew herself up and exhorted me to "Stick by your guns, have the courage of your convictions." Most important of all, "Be yourself!""But how do I know who I am?" I wondered.Growing up, I swam like a fish in the clouded waters of family life.


What’s It About?
Set in New York City in 1938, Rules of Civility tells the story of a watershed year in the life of an uncompromising twenty-five-year- old named Katey Kontent. Armed with little more than a formidable intellect, a bracing wit, and her own brand of cool nerve, Katey embarks on a journey from a Wall Street secretarial pool through the upper echelons of New York society in search of a brighter future.

First Sentence:
It was the last night of 1937.
With no better plans or prospects, my roommate Eve had dragged me back to The Hotspot, a wishfully named nightclub in Greenwich Village that was four feet underground.

The Buzz:
A starred PW review
Blurb by David Nicholls, author of “One Day”

If you'd like to win either of these books, leave a comment with your email and the book you want to win. Winner will be announced after 10 p.m. Sunday.
WINNER is Febe. Congrats.


  1. both of these books sound fabulous ... first lines are my favorites, and always make me want to re-think what I have written myself in my own life's "first lines". Thanks!

  2. I'll pick Rules of Civility. I like the cover already! Thanks for the giveaway!


  3. rules of civility!

  4. I like "pitch uncertain"... Peaked my interest with the first line!

  5. I am intrigued by the excerpt from RULES OF CIVILITY!

  6. The really good article, Books have also guided us on what food is required on weekends and what food and how much of it is needed by the body during and after a work. They always get nicu nursing resume for the all level of students.