10 books like Great Hostesses

By Brian Masters,

Here are 10 books that authors have personally recommended if you like Great Hostesses. Shepherd is a community of 7,000+ authors sharing their favorite books with the world.

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The Rituals of Dinner

By Margaret Visser,

Book cover of The Rituals of Dinner: The Origins, Evolution, Eccentricities, and Meaning of Table Manners

Manners can be a dull topic when merely outlined in a reference book of rules (hold your fork this way, pass the salt like so, etc…), but when woven into historical and cultural context, as Visser does here, all these hows and whys suddenly come to life. Visser covers everything from spitting to sitting, from banquets to burgers. 

The Rituals of Dinner

By Margaret Visser,

Why should I read it?

1 author picked The Rituals of Dinner as one of their favorite books, and they share why you should read it.

What is this book about?

With an acute eye and an irrepressible wit, Margaret Visser takes a fascinating look at the way we eat our meals. From the ancient Greeks to modern yuppies, from cannibalism and the taking of the Eucharist to formal dinners and picnics, she thoroughly defines the eating ritual.

"Read this book. You'll never look at a table knife the same way again."-The New York Times.


The Interior Design Handbook

By Frida Ramstedt,

Book cover of The Interior Design Handbook

Finally, a book for regular people that spells out the golden rules of design in a way that’s easy to understand and to apply to the homes we live in, whatever they may be. Ramstedt guides us through everything from lights to flower vases to the arrangement of furniture to choosing white paint. A book to help us see the places where we live with fresh eyes and tackle the kind of tweaks that will make us feel more at home in them than ever.

The Interior Design Handbook

By Frida Ramstedt,

Why should I read it?

1 author picked The Interior Design Handbook as one of their favorite books, and they share why you should read it.

What is this book about?

THE BESTSELLING SWEDISH PHENOMENON

What looks good and why?

Design consultant Frida Ramstedt runs Scandinavia's leading interior design blog. In this book she distils the secrets of successful interior design and styling to help you create a home that works best for your space, taste and lifestyle. Filled with practical tips, rules-of-thumb and tricks of the trade, The Interior Design Handbook will help you to think like a professional designer.

'Frida has created this BIBLE to interior design ... such useful info that has taken me years to learn, all in one place' Rebecca Wakefield, Studio Fortnum

'Beautifully illustrated with…


The Pocket Butler's Guide to Good Housekeeping

By Charles MacPherson,

Book cover of The Pocket Butler's Guide to Good Housekeeping: Expert Advice on Cleaning, Laundry and Home Maintenance

How to run a house is no longer part of our education system. The only way to learn this vital skill – one that helps make the whole of our lives run more smoothly - is by educating ourselves. This compact book teaches us everything from how to clean a room to how to fold socks to how to descale a shower head. It’s like having your own butler to turn to for advice whenever you need it.

The Pocket Butler's Guide to Good Housekeeping

By Charles MacPherson,

Why should I read it?

1 author picked The Pocket Butler's Guide to Good Housekeeping as one of their favorite books, and they share why you should read it.

What is this book about?

Everyone's favourite butler is back! Get your home spic and span with Charles MacPherson's expert tips and tricks for everything from polishing silverware to organizing the garage.

After over 30 years as a professional butler and household manager, Charles MacPherson knows a thing or two about keeping a home clean and organized. He has poured his vast knowledge and expertise into this pocket-sized volume, perfect for easy day-to-day reference or to guide your next marathon cleaning session.

Everything you need to know is here. With step-by-step instructions for cleaning, organizing, and maintaining every room in your home, The Pocket Butler's…


A Platter of Figs and Other Recipes

By David Tanis,

Book cover of A Platter of Figs and Other Recipes

Menu cookbooks can be tricky, but Tanis has produced this and another masterpiece (The Heart of the Artichoke 2010) both of which will up the game of any dinner-party host. The recipes are varied, imaginative, and infallible (Fish Tacos with Shredded Cabbage and Lime, Chicken Tagine with Pumpkin and Chickpeas, Rum Baba with Cardamom) and the menus sheer poetry.

A Platter of Figs and Other Recipes

By David Tanis,

Why should I read it?

1 author picked A Platter of Figs and Other Recipes as one of their favorite books, and they share why you should read it.

What is this book about?

In "A Platter of Figs and Other Recipes", David Tanis shows readers how to slow down, pay attention, and give ingredients their due. Worlds away from showy "Food Network" personalities and chefs who preach fussy techniques, Tanis serves up charming, unassuming meals for friends and family: couscous with rabbit and turnip for a special birthday fete, clam and chorizo paella to eat by the fireplace, and turkey with duck confit for Thanksgiving. Tanis has an elemental, unpretentious finesse with ingredients and a genuine gift with words."Dinner with Friends" is deliciously down-to-earth in covering such topics as 'Pretty vs. Beautiful Food,'…


Templar Families

By Jochen Schenk,

Book cover of Templar Families: Landowning Families and the Order of the Temple in France, c.1120–1307

The Templars are generally remembered as fighters and castle builders, yet their activities along the frontier depended heavily on the order’s huge support infrastructure across Western Christendom. Networks consisting of hundreds of estates spanning many countries dispatched vast quantities of cash and resources—as well as recruits and other supporters—to the Templars’ outposts in the Holy Land on an annual basis. In Templar Families, Jochen Schenk investigates these networks focusing especially on the relationships that developed between the order’s officers governing their landholdings in France and the many local families whose support enabled the order to function.  

Templar Families

By Jochen Schenk,

Why should I read it?

1 author picked Templar Families as one of their favorite books, and they share why you should read it.

What is this book about?

Founded in c.1120, in the aftermath of the First Crusade in Jerusalem, the Order of the Temple was a Christian brotherhood dedicated to the military protection of pilgrims and the Holy Land, attracting followers and supporters throughout Christian Europe. This detailed study explores the close relationship between the Order of the Temple and the landowning families it relied upon for support. Focussing on the regions of Burgundy, Champagne and Languedoc, Jochen Schenk investigates the religious expectations that guided noble and knightly families to found and support Templar communities in the European provinces, and examines the social dynamics and mechanisms that…


Sargent's Women

By Donna M. Lucey,

Book cover of Sargent's Women: Four Lives Behind the Canvas

There are many ways to approach history. Donna Lucey brilliantly chose to usher readers into the world of the Gilded Age via the captivating canvases of that era’s most sought-after portraitist, John Singer Sargent. There are always more stories lurking behind Sargent’s luxurious depictions of his subjects, and Lucey gets beneath the paint and the posing to give us her own picture of four very real women whose lives are far more nuanced than any portrait sitting can convey.

Sargent's Women

By Donna M. Lucey,

Why should I read it?

1 author picked Sargent's Women as one of their favorite books, and they share why you should read it.

What is this book about?

With unprecedented access to newly discovered sources, Donna M. Lucey illuminates the lives of four women painted by the society portraitist John Singer Sargent. With uncanny clairvoyance, Sargent's portraits hint at the mysteries, passions and tragedies that unfolded in his subjects' lives. Elsie Palmer carried on a labyrinthine love life in a Rocky Mountain castle; Elizabeth Chanler stepped into a maze of infidelity with her best friend's husband; as the veiled image of Sally Fairchild emerged on the canvas, her sister was lured into an ill-fated life in art; and shrewd Isabella Stewart Gardner collected both art and young men.…


Parlor Politics

By Catherine Allgor,

Book cover of Parlor Politics: In Which the Ladies of Washington Help Build a City and a Government

So much of the early presidency took place out of “office hours.” Social events where women were present were considered apolitical and non-partisan, but of course, women had just as many opinions about politics back in the Early Republic as they do today! Instead, these events served as helpful venues for brokering deals, arranging political marriages, and securing appointments for friends and family members. Wives were also essential partners in campaigns and coalition-building once politicians were in office. You can’t understand the early presidents without understanding the broader social context as well.

Parlor Politics

By Catherine Allgor,

Why should I read it?

1 author picked Parlor Politics as one of their favorite books, and they share why you should read it.

What is this book about?

Catherine Allgor describes the various ways genteel elite women during the first decades of the 19th century used ""social events"" and the ""private sphere"" to establish the national capital and to build the extraofficial structures so sorely needed in the infant federal government.


The Remains of the Day

By Kazuo Ishiguro,

Book cover of The Remains of the Day

Take everything you know about British Empire—its royal traditions, its stiff-upper-lip haughtiness, its unflappable sense of superiority—and cram it into the character of a nearly-irrelevant, self-deluded yet heartbreakingly sympathetic butler named Stevens, whose comical misadventures lead us from an outdated British manor house across the spectacular countryside of England in his search to recapture a romance that (spoiler) may never have actually been. Kazuo Ishiguro employs the ultimate “unreliable narrator” to poke fun at the British class system; in the process he creates an opera buffo that plays against the haunting rural beauty of that sceptered isle. For my money, it’s a better taste of England than all the tea in Buckingham Palace. Just sayin’.

The Remains of the Day

By Kazuo Ishiguro,

Why should I read it?

7 authors picked The Remains of the Day as one of their favorite books, and they share why you should read it.

What is this book about?

*Kazuo Ishiguro's new novel Klara and the Sun is now available to preorder*

The Remains of the Day won the 1989 Booker Prize and cemented Kazuo Ishiguro's place as one of the world's greatest writers. David Lodge, chairman of the judges in 1989, said, it's "a cunningly structured and beautifully paced performance". This is a haunting evocation of lost causes and lost love, and an elegy for England at a time of acute change. Ishiguro's work has been translated into more than forty languages and has sold millions of copies worldwide.

Stevens, the long-serving butler of Darlington Hall, embarks on…


Joy in the Morning

By P. G. Wodehouse,

Book cover of Joy in the Morning

I could have picked most of the Jeeves novels - though the Mulliner stories are almost as funny - of the immortal P.G. Wodehouse, but this one is especially full of panache. Bertie Wooster is forced to pretend to be Gussie Fink-Nottle in Deverill Hall - a stately pile infested with any number of critical aunts - and the machinations Jeeves is involved in while sorting out the love lives of the rest - not Bertie, on this occasion - are brilliantly done. A great introduction to Wodehouse, for the uninitiated - for the aficionados, a treat.

Joy in the Morning

By P. G. Wodehouse,

Why should I read it?

1 author picked Joy in the Morning as one of their favorite books, and they share why you should read it.

What is this book about?

Follow the adventures of Bertie Wooster and his gentleman's gentleman, Jeeves, in this stunning new edition of one of the greatest comic novels in the English language. Steeple Bumphleigh is a very picturesque place. But for Bertie Wooster, it is a place to be avoided, containing not only the appalling Aunt Agatha but also her husband, the terrifying Lord Worplesdon. So when a certain amount of familial arm-twisting is applied, Bertie heads for the sticks in fear and trepidation despite the support of the irreplaceable Jeeves.


Walkaway

By Cory Doctorow,

Book cover of Walkaway

Doctorow and I had a mutual friend in common—the incredible Possum who organized Toronto’s Anarchist Free University for many years until his early demise, Rest in Power—full disclosure, and that’s how I started reading his fiction. Walkaway is one of my favorites. This is a world where 3D printers have changed everything. People who are poor, exploited, unhappy, or maybe just feeling adventurous can—and do—walk away from the capitalist world within the city walls and live quite literally on the fringes, using 3D printers and their imaginations of a world without exploitation to construct whole new societies. Can they successfully build a utopia despite the many conflicts that arise? Who knows? But I do know I’m hoping for a sequel.

Walkaway

By Cory Doctorow,

Why should I read it?

1 author picked Walkaway as one of their favorite books, and they share why you should read it.

What is this book about?

In a world wrecked by climate change, in a society owned by the ultra-rich, in a city hollowed out by industrial flight, Hubert, Etc, Seth and Natalie have nowhere else to be and nothing better to do.

But there is another way. After all, now that anyone can design and print the basic necessities of life - food, clothing, shelter - from a computer, there is little reason to toil within the system. So, like thousands of others in the mid-21st century, the three of them turn their back on the world of rules, jobs, the morning commute and... walkaway.…


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