If your favorite etiquette book contains instructions on leaving calling cards with a butler, it may be time to check out a few newer books. Classic books on manners may not address unanswered emails, posting unflattering photos on Facebook, or taking cell phone calls during dinner. In "Social Q's: How to Survive the Quirks, Quandaries, and Quagmires of Today" Philip Galanes collects a questions he received for his column in the "New York Times" Sunday Styles section. With an irreverent and witty approach, Galanes offers advice on many facets of modern life including online dating and surviving the holiday season.
Henry Alford's new book "Would It Kill You to Stop Doing That? A Modern Guide to Manners" is a survey of the current etiquette landscape. Alford approaches the topic like an anthropologist, traveling to Japan to observe customs, interviewing Miss Manners and Tim Gunn, and simply listening to people. Alford reports on greetings and conversations, analyzing how we may inspire harmony or create discord.
For updated advice from tried-and-true etiquette experts, you might consult "Emily Post's Etiquette: Manners for a New World" or "Miss Manners' Guide to a Surprisingly Dignified Wedding." With so many books available, there is no excuse for anything less than what Miss Manners calls "excruciatingly correct behavior."
--Jennifer A., Headquarters