August and September have been exceptionally good months for books. From the French Riviera to Claiborne Swanson Frank’s new book, there has been no shortage of page-turners in my shopping cart. One of my favorite arrivals so far (though, trust me, it’s hard to choose just one) has been Dinner Diaries: Reviving the Art of the Hostess Book. Published by Assouline, the glossy tome follows the same format as their Proust “questionnaire” books (Wine Questionnaire, Fashion Questionnaire). This one focuses on the art of the dinner party and features questions such as “What was the greatest dinner party you ever attended?” and “What makes for a great guest?” You’ll find handwritten answers from expert hostesses around the world, including Ivanka Trump and chef Alex Hitz. They cover every topic you can think of, too – lighting (candles or votives?), good hostess gifts, flatware preferences…everything! My favorite question is the topic of seating arrangements. As someone that loves to entertain, I find seating arrangements to be one of the trickiest parts. It’s a crucial part to a any good dinner party, and it’s something every hostess strives to get right.
Throwing a good party is an art form. If you love to entertain, this book is a good one for your shelf. Or, even better, gift it to your favorite hostess.