Tuesday, September 1, 2009

Day Three: Five Books Every House Needs

My third book recommendation is Emily Post's Etiquette which needs no introduction. If I were to introduce it, however, I would say, "Friendly Reader, I would like to introduce Emily Post's Etiquette." (See what useful information is contained in this book? Also, notice I did not use the phrase 'introduce you to . . .' - you English majors will understand.)

In the early 20th century there were myriad etiquette books. In the mid-1920s, Emily Post's first etiquette book became a best seller and it has guided readers through all aspects of personal and private life ever since. (As a side note, the 1922 edition is online at Bartleby's.) During the turbulent 1960s and 70s, interest in etiquette dropped and only a handful of etiquette books remained in print. Emily Post's Etiquette, however, is now in its 17th edition. I think this is due to the non-regulatory approach to etiquette that underlies the whole book - etiquette is not strictly about rules, it's about common sense guidelines and common courtesy.
When you need a quick answer to a tricky etiquette question this is the book for you. Wondering how much to tip the movers or whether you should tip your wedding consultant? Not sure if it's rude to e-mail condolences? Should you continue to wear your wedding rings after a divorce? Should you remove your hat when the national anthem is played? And so on . . .
The final reason to add this to your reference shelf - it has thumb indexing!
Stay tuned to book three tomorrow. I'll even give you a hint - it has lots of beautiful photographs.

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