A-List Hostess is planning a dinner party. She has provided Nick Harvill Libraries with the guest list, including instructions to locate a vintage book relevant to each guest’s occupation or interests. At the dinner, the books will be incorporated into the place settings and be waiting for the guests when they gather at the table. What follows is an example of how such a request might be executed.
Guest, Michelle Obama
The book for Mrs. Obama, a sitting first lady, must be above all else, respectful. The White House Book of Etiquette is not only that, it is very rare. No other copies are for sale, and it is only in a few libraries across the country. It would make a welcome addition to the White House collection.
Guest, Anderson Cooper
Would the CNN anchor already own Double Exposure, the autobiography of his grandmother Gloria Vanderbilt (the elder)? Maybe. However, not the copy that is from the library of Andy Warhol. Moreover, what a conversation starter.
Guest, Anna Wintour
Fashion is too obvious. Why not a book about her other great passion, tennis? Not only does she play, but she is also a great fan of the professional circuit. A Midcentury book about Wimbledon, The Centre Court Story is perfect for her.
Guest, Gwynteth Paltrow
The Oscar-winning actress has become a diet and exercise maven in recent years, publishing books on the subject. She would be enthralled with Diet for Epicures, a groundbreaking book from 1932 that married the principles of healthy eating with the pleasures of French cuisine.
Guest, Bill Clinton
There are two obvious books to avoid in regard to the superstar former president. Leaves of Grass would be an awkward choice, and for the same reason, so would Sex and the Office. However, The Story of the U.S. Cavalry is a great alternative. It is from the library of Mr. Clinton’s political hero, John F. Kennedy.
Guest, Anthony Hopkins
What do you give a Shakespearean actor? Well, most books on the Bard would be too academic, too dry. They would not stir conversation at the dinner table. Not Shakespeare’s Bawdy, a glossary of the many sexual and scatological references to be found in the plays of Shakespeare.
Guest, Duchess of Cambridge
A simple but perfect combination. Who is photographed more in hats than Prince William’s wife? This book, Heads and Tales, is by the English milliner who, though now obscure, was the royal favorite in the Midcentury.
Guest, Tina Brown
Tina Brown has been involved in media for many years. She surely has an extensive and well-used library. Finding a book to surprise her presents a challenge, but fortunately Scoop is the clear choice. Evelyn Waugh calls the fictional newspaper in Scoop, his satirical masterpiece, the Daily Beast, which is also the name of Brown’s online daily.