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Entertaining is Fun: How to Be a Popular Hostess Hardcover – October 29, 2004

4.8 out of 5 stars 13 customer reviews

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Editorial Reviews

About the Author

Dorothy Draper was born in 1889. She got her start in interior design. having decorated the Carlyle Hotel in Manhattan and the Greenbriar Hotel in West Virginia. She died in 1969 at age 80.
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Product Details

  • Hardcover: 268 pages
  • Publisher: Rizzoli; 1st Rizzoli Ed edition (October 29, 2004)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 0847826198
  • ISBN-13: 978-0847826193
  • Product Dimensions: 6.2 x 1.1 x 9.3 inches
  • Shipping Weight: 1 pounds
  • Average Customer Review: 4.8 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (13 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #543,379 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

Customer Reviews

Top Customer Reviews

Format: Hardcover
If you're looking for some new ideas, as well as a peek into entertaining during the 1940's, you'll find a lot to enjoy in this reprint of Dorothy Draper's charming guide to entertaining. With an emphasis on simple, unpretentious planning, I think it was quite ahead of its time. This might make a good hostess gift!
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Format: Hardcover Verified Purchase
Not as important or famous as Draper's "Decorating is Fun," but her 1941 "Entertaining" book is still amusing, deserving a spot on your coffee table next to an old 1940s Emily Post Etiquette book (when is somone gonna get wise and issue reprints of THOSE?).

Among the highlights is a full list of what every well-appointed home cannot do without, just in case an unexpected guest drops by ("a charming tea set," "a good hall mirror," and "a big metal bell with a lovely tone, to call people in from the garden for games or meals..."), and how to throw a dinner party--1940s style.

Fascinating book. In no time you'll be providing crisp stationery, fresh flowers, 700-thread-count sheets and a luggage stand for your weekend guests...and really, aren't those the "family values" that matter most?
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By Lady La on November 8, 2005
Format: Hardcover
This book is wonderful. I just love Draper's tone and conversational way of writing. She offers ideas for all budgets and lifestyles. Charmingly retro, with plenty of good advice for today's hostesses. I could not put it down.
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Format: Hardcover Verified Purchase
Some people will buy this for the camp value, but there is a surprisingly large amount of tips and info that are perfectly current, in fact timeless. Like this book.
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Format: Hardcover Verified Purchase
This book is sometimes funny in how it's dated now, but that isn't why to buy it. It is so good. The attitude behind the specific advice stands the test of time. Nowadays, you probably don't put a pin cushion with two threaded needles (one cream thread, one black thread) for your weekend guests.. but the reason you do that is so they feel comfortable and don't have to worry about being a bother. That still matters. Many of the specific recipes involve canned soups (and -MIXING- types of canned soups), but the idea that you don't need to be a top chef to be kind to your friends still matters.
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Format: Hardcover Verified Purchase
I bought this because I've seen it mentioned in numerous blogs as THE book for entertaining. I got a great deal on a used copy. I thought it would be a good coffee table book, however, I ended up reading it cover to cover. It was so much more lively and animated than a "how-to entertain" book. And it also had some great little nuggets about how to have a happy life no matter how much money or space you have.

Great book.
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Format: Hardcover
"Today fussy, formal parties are definitely out of style. Smart people...want to enjoy themselves, to have fun. And they want a hostess who isn't worrying so hard over her party that she can't have a good time with her friends. . . . Stop thinking about what is or isn't correct. Instead, think about you yourself.
"A delighted hostess is delightful hostess. Plan your party so that you and your husband (we hope you have one) will have a good time and your guests will have the time of their lives."

The Good Housekeeping columnist ("Ask Dorothy Draper") and NYC socialite was responsible for the look of the painted row houses on Sutton Place "black, black, and black, with white trim and shining colored doors," writes Carleton Varney in his introduction. She also designed rooms at Hampshire House, the "pool room" at the Met museum and famous hotels around the country. She thought of the tabletop as she thought of a room: the tabletop was treated as a wall. China patterns were designs like curtains, flatware and crystal were lamps and pillows, all coordinated & perfect. Here's another of Draper quotes that seems to speak against perfectionism, but it could be one of Hyacinth Bucket's lectures to her next door neighbor Elizabeth, who always became clumsy & nervous in Hyacinth's presence and dropped things during tea:

"There was a woman who never asked her friends to come in to tea simply because she hadn't a silver tea set. At least that is the conscious reason she gave her husband and herself. Actually It wasn't the lack of a silver tea set that prevented her from having a normal social life. It was the Will to Be Dreary. That perverse spirit simply seized on the tea set as an excuse. It can provide you with a dozen alibis, all of which sound quite plausible. But don't accept them. Remember what I said a while ago about fun being good for you. Try the prescription and see how it works."
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