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  • Writer's pictureGaili Schoen

Three Books for Fun Fall Entertaining

Hi Bookish Buddies!

If you’re like me, you have been craving company more than ever before. In searching for new, creative ways to get together with friends and family, I've found these three books to be the most inspiring. Some of us still prefer to gather outdoors and The Art of Picnics: Seasonal Outdoor Entertaining by Alanna O’Neill offers styling and recipe ideas for eating al fresco in a wide variety of settings. The Art of Picnics opens with suggestions for transporting, displaying and storing food you take on the road, as well as backyard picnic presentations. I’m a sucker for a spread served on a board or a plank, and when you add some cuttings from your garden (leaves, flowers, fruits, herbs, branches) and some delicious finger foods, an artful picnic is born. Categorized into the four seasons, the book’s Autumn pages transport you to orchard and mountain picnics with beet salad, apple turnovers, panini sandwiches and butternut squash soup. I love Autumn picnics: spreading a table cloth adorned with fall leaves, eating rustic foods while wrapped in a cozy auburn sweater. I can’t wait! French Country Cottage: Inspired Gatherings is first and foremost a picture book; it’s filled with gorgeous tablescapes for the party-starved host/hostess. Lifestyle blogger Courtney Allison is a Californian who has been influenced by the French sensibility of simple yet appealing adornment in outdoor entertaining. She sets her beautifully clad tables with linens, candles, and an abundance of flowers, leaves, and bits and bobs from nature, on patios and parks, beaches and barns, lakes and lawns. I’m not an intuitively artistic person, and as you can see from my myriad of post-its (does anyone else do this?), I love Allison's ideas, and have used and built upon them during Covid while entertaining friends and family.

I adore the book Wabi-Sabi Welcome: Learning to Embrace the Imperfect and Entertain with Thoughtfulness and Ease; I have read it twice since purchasing it, and have given it to my daughter and a friend as gifts (they love it too!) Wabi-Sabi refers to the Japanese appreciation for the impermanence and imperfection of all things, and Wabi-Sabi Welcome uses this aesthetic to encourage the reader to take a more relaxed and lighthearted view of entertaining: “It’s a willingness to be easily delighted instead of critical, skeptical or fearful….Embracing Wabi-Sabi as we entertain gives us license to reorder our priorities, letting go of what we think is required of us and replacing it with our own version of what special and meaningful look like on our own terms.” I must admit that my default is to get very stressed while preparing for a dinner party, but Wabi-Sabi Welcome has helped me to calm down, simplify menu and décor plans, and to keep my focus on savoring time with my guests. Author Julie Pointer Adams divides the book into five regions: Japan, Denmark, California, France and Italy, discussing lifestyle and entertaining philosophies in each. Common themes amongst all of the regions: slow down, make-do, connect, enjoy.

You can view some interior pages in the links below, but do consider purchasing these books from your local bookstore!

Please note: I originally wrote this review for Pam Lamp's lifestyle blog Who I Met Today. Check it out! I think you will enjoy her profiles of interesting people, places, travel and more!


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