Short Takes: Two Elegant Gift Books

Crash some of the greatest parties in literary history in scenes that range from Vanity Fair to Bel Canto to The Hitchhiker’s Guide to the Galaxy. This affordable little anthology includes forty fictional festivities as seen through the eyes of the world’s greatest writers—both a great read for oneself and an inventive hostess gift!

With panache, attention to arresting details, and a flair for mixing literary classics with pop-culture hits, prominent London event planner Field invites readers to 40 fictional parties, including those portrayed in Plato’s Symposium, Joyce’s Finnegan’s Wake, and Poe’s The Masque of the Red Death.… Field’s tone is one of breezy erudition. The conversation at the Pooh party (in Winnie-the-Pooh by A.A. Milne) is “Beckettian,” while Gravity’s Rainbow has “a reputation for being dense and difficult to understand, but it’s really just a picaresque romp.” … [S]he quotes lavishly from her sources to splendid effect.”
Publishers Weekly

A Curious Invitation: The Forty Greatest Parties in Fiction (9780062271839) by Suzette Field. $15.99 trade paperback original. 10/15/13 on sale.


This is one beautiful book. The photos are gorgeous and evocative; the essays are intellectually satisfying. With photographs from parks around the world by acclaimed photographer Oberto Gili, the eighteen personal essays include both acclaimed writers (Pico Iyer, Nicole Krauss, Zadie Smith, Colm Toibin) and influential figures like Candice Bergin and Bill Clinton. The essays convey each writer’s relationship to a public park and celebrate the nature of memory and the enduring comfort of nature within cities. It’s both a portrait of parks around the world–from London to Brooklyn, Calcutta to Chicago, Paris to San Francisco—and a lovely rumination on our human relationship to public experience.

City Parks: Public Places, Private Thoughts (9780062231796) by Catie Marron. $50.00 hardcover. 10/15/13 on sale.

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