Books for the Guest Room
Tis the season for overnight guests! In addition to a variety of pillows and good lighting, you can make your guests feel extra special by offering a selection of reading material in the guest room.
Here are five books which offer something for everyone.
As I mentioned in an earlier newsletter, A Man Called Ove is the feel-good book of the season. Also, a major motion picture (Swedish), Fredrik Backman’s novel is charming and easily read over a two-night stay.
For truly mindless entertainment, add any Jack Reacher crime novel to the nightstand. In these reliable page turners by Lee Child, the plot is elaborate but not tricky, the violence is satisfying but not gory, and the good guy always triumphs.
(Also, movies starring, inexplicably, tiny Tom Cruise.)
If you want your guests to feel smart, leave a historical tome in the room such as
George, Nicholas, and Wilhelm, Three Royal Cousins and the Road to World War I by Miranda Carter.
Thanks to Queen Victoria’s numerous offspring and obsessive matchmaking, by the early 20th C the great European powers were ruled by three first cousins, King George V of Britain, Kaiser Wilhelm II of Germany, and Tsar Nicholas II of Russia.
Although European Royalty has always been an insular club in which the members have more in common with each other than their citizenry, a rapidly changing world and their own personal limitations made these three rulers especially out of touch.
If Saxe-Coburg-Gotha/ Romanov Inc. had been a chain of family owned dry cleaners, the petty squabbles, the weird obsessions, and overall stupidity would be comic (and a Reality TV show.) Sadly, the family dysfunctionality was not merely tragic for SCGR Inc. but for the world.
A lot of fascinating what ifs.
For Christmas visitors, you must, must, must include Kay Thompson’s classic Eloise at Christmastime, brilliantly illustrated by Hilary Knight and entirely suitable reading for adults.
On Christmas Eve, Eloise, who resides on the “tippy top floor” of NYC’s Plaza Hotel with Nanny, Skipperdee (turtle), and Weenie (dog), zippity jingles about the hotel spreading mayhem and her antic version of Christmas cheer. (Published in 1958, Eloise’s parents are nowhere in evidence, although Mother calls from the Mediterranean. They are not missed by the reader or apparently, Eloise.)
Fa la la la fa la la lolly ting tingles of angel hair. Blow music of trinkles and drinkles of glass there’s Christmas everywhere.
After a long day of sightseeing and socializing, your guests will happily nod off with a book of short essays such as Food and The City, New York’s Professional Chefs, Restaurateurs, Line Cooks, Street Vendors, and Purveyors Talk About What They Do and Why They Do It.
A fourth-generation duck farmer, the owner of a Brooklyn based tortilla factory, a legendary kosher caterer, and the head chef at the NYC Department of Corrections (47, 000 meals a day) are a few of the forty interviews conducted by author Ina Yalof.
There are so many great books about our city, but perhaps a coffee table book such as Home to Us: Six Stories of Saving the Land published by The Land Trust of Tennessee will remind your guests that despite the hip restaurants and auto plants, Tennessee is still a state with rural charm.