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Commonsense Etiquette: A Guide to Gracious,…

Commonsense Etiquette: A Guide to Gracious, Simple Manners for the…

by Marjabelle Young Stewart

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Amazon.com Amazon.com Review (ISBN 0312242948, Paperback)

Do you have a clue when it comes to the art of civility? Despite appearances to the contrary (road rage, airport rage, the age of litigation), Marjabelle Young Stewart believes, civility is as important now as it ever was--perhaps more so, as diverse groups with disparate expectations attempt to socialize and do business without smearing egg all over their collective faces, figuratively or literally. For all their steps forward in electronics and medicine, today's generation could do with a refresher course when it comes to table manners, office etiquette, and the polite giving and receiving of gifts, and Stewart, dubbed the Queen of Courtesy by Newsweek, is the woman for the job.

She explains the mechanics of a good conversation, commends the ritual of introductions, and discusses the prickly business of how to address one's parents-in-law. She takes on formal invitations, the social kiss, call waiting, and cellular phones, and delves into the niceties of which fork or spoon to use, as well as when, how, and why. Stewart compares the American and continental methods of eating, instructs how to eat fruit, pasta, mussels, and French fries politely (for which she advises a fork and knife in formal situations, but that seems a bit much for fries). Stewart's not, however, out to dictate rules for the sake of controlling your life. As she says, "Manners should never be a source of worry. On the contrary, knowing how to go about the business of eating and entertaining properly can provide a sense of confidence--for children and adults alike--that makes life easier."

In a similar vein, Stewart treats the dos and don'ts of weddings and thank-you notes, dining out and rites of passage, obituaries and emoticons. And she saves the best for last: "Fifteen Ways to Make the World a More Civilized Place," including "Resist the temptation to react when presented with bad behavior," and "Be aware that your actions--good and bad--affect those around you." Stewart's returns etiquette to its proper place in our society. --Stephanie Gold

(retrieved from Amazon Thu, 12 Mar 2015 18:20:02 -0400)

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