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15 of 15 people found the following review helpful
This neat little book by William Hanson and published in the Bluffer's Guide series runs to around 110 pages.

Although it is written in a humorous style I think this book could be quite useful when, in our largely informal world, formality is suddenly called for. The contents of the Guide are as follows; To the Manners Born; How Do You Don't; Dinner Party Decorum; Spaghettiquette (The Proper Way to Eat); Don't wear Brown in Town; Twittiquette; Etiquette when Hatched; Etiquette when Matched; Etiquette when Despatched; Fillies, Flowers and Flotillas (The Season); Corgi Courtesy (A Royal Audience)and a Glossary. As you can see, the book aims to cover all aspects of etiquette effectively from cradle to grave.

Although the style is light hearted there is plenty of genuinely useful advice, for example, how to eat awkward foods or the components of morning dress. One occasion I did think this book would have been very useful for was going to a Royal Garden Party - most people will only go once in their lifetime to such an event which adheres to traditional etiquette captured in this book. The section on "e-etiquette" (Twittiquette) gives the book a more contemporary feel than it might otherwise have had. However, like many of the chapters, it's not that the advice is perfectly practical or contemporary, more that the text raises issues that you are likely to have to confront, and, therefore the book helps you to be forearmed.

In summary, this book covers a potentially serious subject which may only rear its head from time to time in a lot of people's lives, but it's ideal for those occasions when it does. Recommended.
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13 of 13 people found the following review helpful
on 27 February 2014
I received this from Library Thing's Early Reviewers in return for a review.

I love it. It managed to be both extremely funny, informative and USEFUL, unlike many other guides to manners which are just excuses to make class jokes.

The tone of the book is witty and scolding, it makes no apologies for the fact that

'If you eat your toast incorrectly when you are a house guest in a U [Upper Class] household, you will not be invited back'

This is tempered with lots of interesting historical explanations as to why things are Done the way they are (my mind was blown by why spoons should not be placed at the top of the place setting, I won't spoil it for you though I see another reviewer already has!)

I must admit that I skipped the long list of explanations of different dress codes but it's comforting to know that they are there because if ever I am called upon to attend an event in Morning Dress I will be referring back to it (no straw hats before Easter!). The beauty is you can (and I will) use this stuff and it reminds us that most etiquette is just based around good manners. Strict rules of etiquette are seen as 'stuffy' or comic these days but as this tongue in cheek guide shows they are really all about social signals designed so that no-one is discomforted or embarrassed, ensuring that one exercises restraint in eating and drinking and making sure no-one catches their death through wearing inadequate clothing.

Two things that I learnt of particular interest to me
1) Primogeniture was never observed in the county of Kent (I originating from Kent)
2) British rail is now called Network Rail (as the book was pointing out that upper class people continue to call things by their previous names this suggests that I can skip a bit of homework)
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8 of 8 people found the following review helpful
on 9 February 2014
I received The Bluffer's Guide to Etiquette from the publisher as an ebook file which was easy to download to a reader.

The Bluffer's Guide to Etiquette is a short book that's full of humor and historical information about the ins and outs of manners and etiquette in the upper echelons of society. With dry British humor, Hanson explains how to dress in white tie, morning dress, and in other dress codes.

I enjoyed the history behind many of the social customs such as the place setting of a formal dinner. For example, I did not know that at one time, the salad fork was placed above the dinner plate, but then was moved to the side because the crest-shaped salad bowl is now placed above the dinner plate. Of course, I never knew that the formal salad bowl is crest-shaped to begin with...I also didn't know the rules about the dinner glasses either.

Overall, I enjoyed The Bluffer's Guide to Etiquette. I feel a bit more knowledgeable about social etiquette, and my vocabulary has expanded.
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14 of 15 people found the following review helpful
VINE VOICEon 26 January 2014
.....but I used the wrong fork, quotes dear Oscar Wilde. Well that need never again be a problem once you have read the most tongue in cheek volume yet published b the delightful Bluffer's Guide to Etiquette.

I would hazard a guess that etiquette is far and away the most fragile and non-specific element of most people's lives unless, of course, you should have the misfortune of being invited to one of Mrs Hyacinth Bucket's candlelight suppers and even she might have difficulty supplying the right number of oyster fork. Living, as I do, by the seaside I often witness tourists stabbing the glutinous messes with a supplied wooden fork resembling a sharpened lollipop stick...

But oyster forks may well be the least of your problems when it comes to behaving correctly in a society that, quite frankly, barely exists any more. Knowing what to wear where and when has been replaced by how to announce your latest sprog on Twitter and Facebook. Correct place settings have been replaced by the street food and which bench is the most sociably acceptable to chow down on your burger/pizza/kebab. Baby showers (a wonderful image is conjured by this recent import) have replaced the solemnization of the bawling offspring in a country church peopled by dedicated god people producing Christening mugs and financial promises. Oddly enough funerals have not really been updated, I am guessing that grief is still too uncomical and very rarely do last rite details appear on Facebook any more than photographs are taken at this final gathering of the family clan.

This little volume is a true delight and Mr Hanson has plundered some well worn books on U and non-U tradtions. I was reminded of Lady Gough's "Book of Etiquette" from 1863 in which she established some social commandments of the time ; "One must avoid for example the intolarable proximity of male and female authors on library shelves. Books could only stand together if the authors were married like Robert and Elizabeth Browning" ~ truly delicious!!

Long live etiquette and its debt to British eccentricity..
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1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
I was offered this title by the publishers, having previously reviewed two other books in the Bluffer's Guide series - The Bluffer's Guide to Surfing (The Bluffer's Guides)and The Bluffer's Guide to Jazz (Bluffer's Guides).

Just like the other titles in the series, this book deals with the subject matter in a lighthearted, humorous style, so that the not-so-posh reader (like myself) won't be too intimidated at the sheer volume of rules to remember when stepping into the world of high society.

From introductions to dinner parties, to what one should wear, down to the rare but possible eventuality of meeting HRH Queen Elizabeth II, all the essential areas of etiquette are covered: after reading this book I feel that I could bluff it skillfully enough to at least not get kicked out of the Palace. Ok, I might not never become chums with Wills, Harry & co, but I think I can live with that.

This is a fun and very informative read, from which I've learned several interesting facts: did you know, for instance, that the Queen has dinner at 20:15? And were you aware that `pardon' will give you away as a member of the lower classes faster than you can say `sorry? And I certainly didn't know that euphemisms such as `he passed away' aren't favoured in upper circles, as clearly the elites prefer to be brutally honest about death, a trait which makes me warm to the upper classes a bit more. And I will be careful of what I say to the family of the deceased next time I'm invited to an aristocrat's funeral.
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1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
on 12 February 2014
Etiquette is often used as comic foil in the movies. The notion that there is strict code of social conduct observed by the cultural elite seems silly to the uncouth masses. Just how did such a thing come to pass? Partly it arose from more dangerous times; in the Middle Ages, hidden daggers were often a danger and some of these routines came about as a way to prove one is harmless. Mostly though, it's years of people having little else to do with their lives but obsess about such details as the color of (or even existence of) a hidden belt.

The Bluffer's Guides are British publications, and tend to focus on to get by in the UK. Much of what Hanson refers to as "American inventions" translate into unforgivable faux pas in British high society, particularly in the presence of Royals (don't call them "Royals.")

This is a very funny book to read, I imagine doubly so for a Brit, but as an uncouth American, I take perverse pride in my wanton violation of much of this book. I suppose this means I won't be invited to tea at Buckingham Palace, but if ever I were, I'd probably bring a six pack of my favorite beer. I don't often mingle with high society, and admittedly would be deemed pretty offensive among them . To follow the tenets of this book would lead me to punch myself. Maybe that's why I spend so little time among them -- courting favor of the platinum spoon set just isn't something I do. Bring them down to my level? You bet. A friend of mine and myself used to regularly attend the opera with the stated goal of making the experience a little less proper for most of those in attendance. This was often done not only via casual dress, but discussion between the acts transposing the opera we were seeing into a version acted out by The Three Stooges.

The Bluffer's Guide to Etiquette is an entertaining look on how the top 0.001% live. If you presume to partake in this rarified air, then there is certainly something to be learned here (to bluff ones way through, anyway...for staying power, take one of those silly classes often mocked in the movies). The author, however, makes an assumption that the reader understands the importance of these societal conventions, and actually apologies to readers who don't have the British royal family to hold in esteem. A chapter as to why some of this should matter to the rest of us might make a nice addition to later editions.
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1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
TOP 500 REVIEWERon 24 January 2014
Funny, practical tips and some just so laugh out loud ones, hand shaking too tightly made me splutter. I found quite a few day to day things in it about my life that I just had to share as thought it so apt.

OK so not to wear brown shoes unless a dress down day, but alright if living in the country. This is a male tip in this book. Thankfully we live in the country so husband is not letting his side down and showing a lack of etiquette when he does wear those brown boots. Phew one ticked off and doing that alright.

Funny, relevant in some parts ... The baby naming funny, everyone goes through the name choosing, Hugo our youngest should hopefully not be too scared for life with his name as only got big in 2013. So not even another called the same in class. He has not even had the 'Hugo, You go there' one either yet. This was said when we went to register his birth by a grieving family registering a family death on their side. It bought a smile to them at the time and something that we always remember.

The wedding section did have me thinking (where did we put that top tier of cake?) Is that what the mouse is about for then, ah that sort of makes me think.

The right glasses to use which plates to use. How to kiss whichever guest without causing a punch up ...... Funny, practical in some aspects but at others well should not really laugh as not a laughing matter. The only book that mentions the 'Death section' as to how late mum did, when someone died she would say they had just lost them. Only for me to say 'no mum, they have died and gone wherever not just lost like a bag or mislaid like an old card. Many a time I have laughed at that, then seeing this here in the book made me chuckle.

Even know the best way to behave if I meet any members of the Royal Family.....

So this book really is for PLU you will have to read the book to find that one out.
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1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
I have a number of `Bluffer's' guides, and `The Bluffer's Guide to Etiquette' is one of a series of guides to a diverse range of subjects with the publisher's light-hearted claim being they allow readers to acquire all that is needed to pass as an expert in whatever the guide title specifies - embracing sports, pastimes, music, cinema, pets, business, food and drink etc. I found guides entertaining and informative, I have previously reviewed guides to `Jazz' and to `Hiking' as something I know about. Surely everyone knows about `Etiquette', but are we right? Do we know how to behave in all situations?

I don't pretend to understand the complexities of etiquette but like for other guides I appreciate `The Bluffer's Guide to Etiquette' is full of witticisms and humour. It attempts to strike a balance between serious commentary on etiquette and lampooning those who may be considered incorrect or deliberately pretentious - but it sounds rather pompous. The guide deals not only with how to be correct oneself but also how not to behave. Narrative is generally impersonal and objective but there are a few obtuse and somewhat jarring comments on such as the Middleton family and SamCam.

Chapters include how to make introductions and how to meet and greet, small talk and choice of words, dinner party protocol and how to eat, what to wear when and why, social networking via the internet, conventions and formalities at birth, marriage and death, together with guidance on expectations for various public events and occasions, and finally conduct for mingling with Royalty! The author concludes by stating that no-one knows everything about etiquette, but urges readers to be confident and have fun - I suspect he had fun writing `The Bluffer's Guide to Etiquette'. He has done enough to allow bluffers to go forth and verbally skirmish with the best of them - though perhaps it is not as good as the `Jazz' and `Hiking' guides - for me it is too much inverted snobbery.
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1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
on 17 January 2014
I received this book free to read and review.
Although quite a short book there is much in here to learn to avoid some of the embarrassing pit falls should you ever need or want to meet with the "toffs". It will probably do me some good as even my dogs have better pedigrees than I have.
Written in a light hearted manner it is an enjoyable read even if you do not want to put any of the information into practice. I liked the example given of how an invitation should be printed with as much thought given to the quality of the printing as the actual message, I never thought of that. I would have liked to see a bit about hunting, shooting & fishing as I can imagine some hilarious gaffs that could be caused here.
I read this on a Kindle Paperwhite and if there is a criticism some illustrations and quotes are not so easily readable in "pale grey".
I think I am still spiritually a beige and plusfours man however I do now know how to dress if I ever get invited into the house rather than despatched to the hut with the rest of the pickers up.
Well worth a read.
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1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
The thing about etiquette is that its very nature is one of stuffiness. That can never be said about this lovely little guide. I probably should be disqualified from reading it as style is something I have never had. I have had a habit over the years of visiting great sporting venues - but not when anything has been taking place. Yes I have walked round Wimbledon, Lord's Cricket Ground and been to Henley. All when nothing has been happening. Weddings, Christening, breastfeeding, sport, funerals, are all here with tips on how to behave. How to eat pizza and burgers, how to send condolence messages and how to put death notices in the paper. The great thing about these guides is they manage to make serious points whilst seeming to be flippant and fun. All you need is a straw boater (worn properly of course), an armful of tickets, some dress sense and away you go for the great British summer of events.
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