Rebecca Lowman reads RULES OF CIVILITY, a debut novel by Amor Towles, who is an investment banker with an MA in English from Stanford. His main character is Katey Kontent, a poor Wall Street secretary whose ambitions soon eye higher floors in late 1930s New York society. Suitors with money pursue her, while the compromises needed to ascend the marble staircases vex her, and at each step her unfolding life is a canvas for life-altering choices. Lowman is always believable as Katey, a character who will resonate with today's ambitious young women as well as anyone on American Idol. The new rage in music is jazz, though, and in tone there are only nods of the top hat to Dominick Dunne and Nicholas Sparks.