The One Read reading panel narrowed the list of more than 160 book suggestions for the 2020 program to two top contenders. Between now and April 24, cast your vote for either “A Gentleman in Moscow” by Amor Towles or “The Last Days of Night” by Graham Moore.
“A Gentleman in Moscow” by Amor Towles
In 1922, a Bolshevik tribunal sentences Count Alexander Rostov to house arrest in the luxurious Hotel Metropol. For the next 30 years, the Count experiences his country’s upheaval and transformation from the confines of his attic room, the building’s grand public spaces and the behind-the-scenes domains of hotel employees-turned-friends. While Rostov cannot go out into the world, the world comes to him in the form of Nina, a bureaucrat’s precocious daughter; the film actress Anna Urbanova; American intelligence officer Richard Vanderwhile; and even political leaders like Nikita Khrushchev. This novel is a lightly drawn, episodic portrait of Russia’s 20th century political history, as well as a charming tale of one man’s dedication to family, memory and home.
In this historical thriller set in the 1890s, rivals Thomas Edison and George Westinghouse, both racing to be the one to electrify America, are locked in the so-called “War of the Currents.” Edison sues Westinghouse for patent infringement, and Westinghouse hires the brilliant but inexperienced young lawyer Paul Cravath to countersue. Lies, betrayals and even violence soon follow, as Cravath decides the key to winning the case lies in persuading the eccentric Nikola Tesla to invent a better light bulb. This novel based on historical events is a lively legal drama with a bit of romance tucked in.