Wednesday, April 18, 2012

Genre Reading Group recap - etiquette

The next GRG meeting is on the last Tuesday in May, the 29th, at 6:30pm.  The topic is an easy one, for it is one of our biannual Salon Discussions!  Bring any book on any topic (and I do many ANY) and tell us about it.

The etiquette meeting was a rousing success and there was a surprising variety of manners on display.  Read on for the list!

Well, butter my butt and call me a biscuit! Delivering belly laughs, hee-haws, and downright slackjaw amazement, this hilarious guide to the homeland of George W. and Willie Nelson is the essential how-to for surviving in the Lone Star State. From strange Texas laws and the history of Dr. Pepper to "Texas Talk" (in which a "turd floater" is a heavy downpour) and final-meal requests by death row inmates, Kinky Friedman, "the oldest living Jew in Texas who doesn't own any real estate," provides an insider's guide that will be loved by native Texans and the rest of us poor devils alike.

Even if you don't know the difference between an Aggie and an armadillo -- or what's really in the back on Willie Nelson's tour bus -- you can pass for a Texan with the Kinkster's expert coaching. So grab your hairspray and the keys to the Cadillac and get reading!

Most people would agree that thoughtful behavior and common decency are in short supply, or simply forgotten in hurried lives of emails, cellphones, and multi-tasking. In Choosing Civility, P. M. Forni identifies the twenty-five rules that are most essential in connecting effectively and happily with others. In clear, witty, and, well...civilized language, Forni covers topics that include: 

* Think Twice Before Asking Favors
* Give Constructive Criticism
* Refrain from Idle Complaints
* Respect Others' Opinions
* Don't Shift Responsibility and Blame
* Care for Your Guests 
* Accept and Give Praise

Finally, Forni provides examples of how to put each rule into practice and so make life-and the lives of others-more enjoyable, companionable, and rewarding.

Choosing Civility is a simple, practical, perfectly measured, and quietly magical handbook on the lost art of civility and compassion.

From novelist and gracious host Jesse Browner, a fascinating guide to our real motives for entertaining.

When we think of hospitality- to "give food to eat, beer to drink, grant what is requested, provide for and treat with honor"-we generally like to picture it as a simple expression of generosity. In truth, something far darker and more elemental often lurks behind a host's best intentions.

Partisan, witty, and laced with astonishing historical detail, The Duchess Who Wouldn't Sit Down is dedicated to a new understanding of the art of hospitality. Jesse Browner leads the way back through Western civilization, from a present-day poker game where Browner's devastatingly delicious sandwiches leave the best players penniless, to the ancient Greeks, whose gods punished or exalted the mortals according to their excellence as hosts. On the way, we visit Hitler at his summer home (a staunch vegetarian, he liked to lecture his guests on the horrors of the slaughterhouse); Gertrude Stein (a marvelously successful hostess) in Paris and Lady Ottoline Morrell (a dismal failure) in England; Louis XIV at Versailles (whose opulent feasts and parties were matched only by his regulation of his courtiers' behavior, controlling even who was allowed to sit down); and the Roman emperors (for whom classic dinner-table entertainment was a good poisoning). 

As delightful and edifying as an evening in favored company, The Duchess Who Wouldn't Sit Down is a must-read for everyone who's ever accepted an invitation-or wonders why they keep sending them out. 

"Talk to the hand, ’cause the face ain’t listening," the saying goes.
When did the world stop wanting to hear? When did society become so thoughtless? It’s a topic that has been simmering for years, and Lynne Truss says it’s now reached the boiling point. Taking on the boorish behavior that for some has become a point of pride, Talk to the Hand is a rallying cry for courtesy. Like Eats, Shoots & Leaves, Talk to the Hand is not a stuffy guidebook, and is sure to inspire spirited conversation.

Why hasn’t your nephew ever thanked you for your carefully selected gift? What makes your contractor think it’s fine to snub you in the midst of a major renovation? Why do crowds spawn selfishness? What accounts for the appalling treatment you receive in stores (if you’re lucky enough to get a clerk’s attention at all)? Most important, what will it take to roll back a culture that applauds those who are disrespectful? In a recent U.S. survey, 79 percent of adults said that lack of courtesy was a serious problem. For anyone who’s fed up with the brutality inflicted by modern manners (or lack thereof), Talk to the Hand is a colorful call to arms—from the wittiest defender of the civilized world.

An "entertaining and engaging" exploration of the invisible forces influencing your life-and how understanding them can improve everything you do. The world around you is pulling your strings, shaping your innermost instincts and your most private thoughts. And you don't even realize it. Every day and in all walks of life, we overlook the enormous power of situations, of context in our lives. That's a mistake, says Sam Sommers in his provocative new book. Just as a museum visitor neglects to notice the frames around paintings, so do people miss the influence of ordinary situations on the way they think and act. 

But frames- situations- do matter. Your experience viewing the paintings wouldn't be the same without them. The same is true for human nature.

When should you email, and when should you call, fax, or just show up?

What is the crucial—and most often overlooked—line in an email?

What is the best strategy when you send (in anger or error) a potentially career-ending electronic bombshell?

Enter Send. Whether you email just a little or never stop, use a desktop or a handheld, here, at last, is an authoritative and delightful book that shows how to write the perfect email—at work, at school, or anywhere. Send also points out the numerous (but not always obvious) times when email can be the worst option and might land you in hot water (or even jail!). 

The secret is, of course, to think before you click. Send is nothing short of a survival guide for the digital age—wise, brimming with good humor, and filled with helpful lessons from the authors’ own email experiences (and mistakes). In short: absolutely e-ssential.

50 Things Every Young Gentleman Should Know is a young man's guide to becoming the type of guy that people respect and enjoy. He knows how to shake hands. He knows how to be a good sport. He knows how to give a genuine compliment and how to speak his mind without being offensive. His friends listen to what he has to say, and he returns the favor. He knows how to achieve the perfect knot in a necktie, and more important, he knows when he should be wearing a tie in the first place. Oh, and his favorite ball cap? He knows when to wear it and when to leave it at home on his dresser. Becoming a gentleman doesn't happen in an instant; it's a lifelong exercise in refining etiquette, social interaction, and personal discipline. It all begins here.

In our fast-paced, electronic society, the most basic social interaction—talking face-to-face—can be a challenge for even the most educated and self-assured individuals. And yet making conversation is a highly practical skill: those who do it well shine at networking parties, interviews, and business lunches. Good conversation also opens doors to a happier love life, warmer friendships, and more rewarding time with family.

For those intimidated by the complexity of personal interaction, or those simply looking to polish their speaking skills, The Art of Civilized Conversation is a powerful guide to communicating in an endearing way. In its pages, author Margaret Shepherd offers opening lines, graceful apologies, thoughtful questions, and, ultimately, the confidence to take conversations beyond hello. From the basics—first impressions, appropriate subject matter, and graceful exits—to finding the right words for difficult situations and an insightful discussion of body language, Shepherd uses her skilled eye and humorous anecdotes to teach readers how to turn a plain conversation into an engaging encounter.

Filled with common sense and fresh insight, The Art of Civilized Conversation is the perfect inspiration not only for what to say but for how to say it with style.

Dedications, Titles, Epigraphs, Footnotes, Prefaces, Afterwords, Indexes... These and other "invisible" literary necessities form the skeletons of many a book, yet these unacknowledged and unexamined forms abound in wisdom, curiosities, or eccentricities.

With both erudition and wit, and drawing on examples from every part of literature's history, ranging from the greats such as Shakespeare, Beckett, and T. S. Eliot to lesser known writers such as Fernando Pessoa. Jackson's mixture of serious literary analysis and jovial wit means Invisible Forms will appeal to anyone who is interested in books and in the art of writing. It is the perfect companion for literature lovers everywhere.

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