A Good Measuring Stick

A few months ago when I asked for book suggestions, a blog reader mentioned that she thought I would really enjoy Rules of Civility.  (You were right! Thank you!) Besides being an complex tale of New York society in the 1930s, it is just a very engaging and page turning read. What I’ve enjoyed the most though is the way the author reveals information in such a subtle way. It’s the kind of book where you keep picking up small breadcrumbs of information, but you know in the end it is leading you somewhere big.

I’m also enjoying the writing, and I came across this passage a few days ago and have thought about it every morning since, so I thought I’d pass it on.

“My father was never much one for whining. In the nineteen years I knew him, he hardly spoke of his turn in the Russian army, or of making ends meet with my mother, or of the day that she walked out on us. He certainly didn’t complain about his health as it failed.

But one night near the end, as I was sitting at his bedside trying to entertain him with an anecdote about some nincompoop with whom I worked, out of the blue he shared a reflection which seemed such a non sequitur that I attributed it to delirium. 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. Only decades later would I realize that he had been giving me a piece of advice.”

Not only an interesting turning point in the book, but pretty sound advice, right?

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7 comments to A Good Measuring Stick

  • Kathleen
    November 15, 2012 at 6:55 am

    It’s so true too. Sometimes the thought of my morning coffee is the only thing getting me out of bed!

  • Caity @ Moi Contre La Vie
    November 15, 2012 at 7:38 am

    LOVED that book! A colleague gave it to me last year when I was on a Hemmingway biography bender and said they thought I’d enjoy it since it had a similar setting & time. Extremely well written – I was sad when I got to the last page.

  • Steph
    November 15, 2012 at 7:39 am


  • Mariah B
    November 15, 2012 at 7:40 am

    Love it. I saw (and then pinned) a pin on Pinterest that said “coffee n. a hug in a cup” There’s just something so comforting about sipping a black cup of joe with a dollop of coconut oil in it. Mmm.

  • Jesabes
    November 15, 2012 at 6:50 pm

    I bought this book when it was the Kindle deal of the day! I still haven’t read it, but I hope to get around to it sometime this decade:)

    (I need to do a bookshelf project like you. All I ever read are library books because I check out more than I can get read.)

  • KellyBrown
    November 16, 2012 at 9:37 am

    I JUST finished reading this last night and am in love with it! Was going to tweet you today and tell you to read it:) Huzzah!

  • Jen
    November 26, 2012 at 6:53 pm

    this sounds like a great book! I’m a new follower of your blog… I’m getting inspiration as my hubby & I are about to start the whole30 (God help me!) anyway, I’ve enjoyed your posts!





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