My niece and nephew each got a sled under the Christmas tree this year—not of the Radio Flyer sort that I had when I was a kid, but slick molded-plastic numbers with zippy colors and flashing lights. I was kind of itching to try one out (the hitch: no snow), since the last time I went sledding was in 19– [mumbles something incoherent]. But in truth, back then, there was nothing I loved more about sledding than coming in from the cold afterward, drinking some hot chocolate, and cracking open a book. Some things never change.
But this month, we’re all about slippery slopes of a whole other nature. Our February leader, RealSimple.com Production Manager Anastasia Signoretta, has picked four books around the theme of social climbing. (How delicious, I thought when she proposed the idea, sounding like a character from, probably, any one of them.) See the choices below, and vote for your favorite by 11:59 p.m. ET on Sunday, January 29.
Rules of Civility, by Amor Towles
November’s near winner chronicling the sophisticated swells of Manhattan circa 1938, and the young Wall Street secretary who finds herself running with their crowd, returns.
The House of Mirth, by Edith Wharton
A heartbreakingly brilliant commentary on the cruelties of “polite” 1890s New York society from the woman who, quite literally, wrote the book on the insular, moneyed world she was born into.
The Line of Beauty, by Alan Hollinghurst
Thatcher-era England is the setting for Hollinghurst’s critically acclaimed novel, which juxtaposes straights and gays, the powerful and the weak, high society and the demimonde, beauty and ugliness.
Snobs, by Julian Fellowes
More social scheming across the pond, this courtesy of the man behind Gosford Park and the blockbuster Downton Abbey. In this comedy of manners, Fellowes wickedly observes the British upper class—and the socially ambitious who wish for nothing more than to join their ranks.