On the rare occasion in which I am invited to dinner, I always take a bottle of wine. Sometimes flowers. (I've read that you should never take flowers as it creates more work for the host. I disagree. I love to get flowers. And really, how hard is it to fill a vase with water and plop 'em in?)
As much as I like wine, I like to shake routine. And so, I've been giving books!
I enjoy the process of considering my favorite books and then matching those to what I think my host may enjoy — Do I choose funny? thoughtful? irreverent? mainstream? I'm not sure I hit the mark — or that my hosts wouldn't rather have wine — but it's fun to try.
A few of my favorite hostess book-gifts are:
• How Not to Act Old by Pamela Redmond Satran
• Crossing to Safety by Wallace Stegner
• Traveling Mercies by Anne Lamott
• Cutting for Stone by Abraham Verghese
I'd like to expand my offerings (I once took my own book, a painting/poetry collaboration, but that felt self-promoting and weird). What books do you suggest? If I was invited to your home for dinner, what book would you like me to bring?