Friday, July 23, 2010

Friday 56: Week 41

* Grab the book nearest you. Right now.
* Turn to page 56.
* Find the fifth sentence.
* Post that sentence (plus one or two others if you like) along with these instructions
on your blog or (if you do not have your own blog) in the comments section of this blog.
Post a link along with your post back to this blog and to Storytime with Tonya and Friends at
* Don't dig for your favorite book, the coolest, the most intellectual. Use the CLOSEST.

I've been writing book reviews for Town & Country magazine (Philippines) and have to select a book for the upcoming holiday issue.  I'm having a difficult time figuring out what sort of book to suggest.  Cookbook?  A book on conversation?  Dieting?  The Power of Pause?  I have a stack of books to look at -- and this one is on the top!

If anyone has suggestions for a book that would work well for an issue devoted to entertaining -- please comment or email me at gaby317nyc at  All help is appreciated!!

A Good Talk: The Story and Skill of Conversation
Here's mine from A Good Talk: The Story and Skill of Conversation by Daniel Menaker.   I just received the book this week and am very excited to start reading!
Here's the blurb:
Conversation doesn't always come easily, that's why there's A Good Talk.

The person you're sitting next to at dinner is explaining photosynthesis.  Or you notice that she is holding her eyelids open with her thumbs as you discuss soil-moisture ratios.  Or he says that Swedish people are dumb, and your mother's name is Inger Svensson. Or you're not sure whether to admit that you are old enough to appreciate banisters.  What do you do?

In A Good Talk, Daniel Menasker, one of America's most accomplished and personable literary figures, helps you navigate the shallows, reefs, and open seas of conversation.  After discussing the origins of language and social talk, this concise and often hilarious take on the most exclusively human of all activities (along with calculus) explains how good conversations work.  Focusing on first encounters and a single recorded exchange, the author shows that such talks have four stages: Survey, Discovery, Risk, and Roles.  He then addresses the deeper concerns that underlie conversations and their common social dilemmas and opportunities, from insults to instant messaging, from dating to dinner-ordering from the value of humor to the handling of hubris.

Finally, A Good Talk -- which is above all a really good read -- considers the physical benefits of conversation and its indispensable place in our social, moral, and political lives.  It's a book to enjoy, learn from, and -- yes -- talk about.

Here's my Friday 56:
Fred: [And I can't exactly remember why.] I think it's probably because you gave me a compliment. It was probably a self-aggrandizing reason, but also it was fun, so I thought I would try this. It's working.
Ginger: Oh, it's working? Has it been recording us already?


  1. I don't get the line but the book sounds pretty cool. An interesting idea would be to find a similar book from the 1800's or so and compare the art of conversation between then and now.

    Here’s mine!