Sally Quinn is a longtime Washington Post journalist, columnist, television commentator, Washington insider, one of the capital's legendary social hostesses, and founder of the religious website On Faith from The Washington Post. She writes for various publications and is the author of The Party: A Guide to Adventurous Entertaining, Regrets Only, Happy Endings, and We're Going to Make You a Star, a memoir based on her experience as the first female network anchor in the United States. She lives in Washington, DC.
Having started her journalistic career covering the Washington social scene for the Washington Post's style section and now married to former executive editor Ben Bradlee, Quinn knows a thing or two about parties. "Over the years I have gone to thousands and given hundreds. And over the years I think I have been able to figure out what makes things work." Here she shares with anxious would-be hosts or hostesses her tips for throwing a successful party. Stressing the importance of making sure your guests have a good time, Quinn details elements to consider: the setting, food, booze, table, entertainment, and guests. She interposes her advice with gossipy stories of celebrity-laden disasters and hits. At times the name dropping becomes excessive ("Dick Cavett drove all the way from Montauk with his dog in the car, Swedish actress BiBi Anderson was there"). And how many of us entertain the president of the United States? But, unlike Martha Stewart, Quinn at least has a sense of humor. An optional purchase.‘Wilda Williams, "Library Journal"
"Treat your guests the way you would like to be treated," advises Quinn, erstwhile Washington society reporter, sometime novelist and wife of retired Washington Post editor Ben Bradlee. And how would Quinn like to be treated? Most of her advice to the hostess is common sense: arrange your seatings beforehand, cook the dishes you know, down a cocktail before your guests arrive‘and stock plenty of booze. The folksy socialite treats us to entertaining arcana‘where to place the secretary of state at the table; what to do if your guest of honor drains a fingerbowl‘ but the charm of her etiquette guide lies in its stock of warmed-over but delicious anecdotes: the dinner during which Nora Ephron ended her marriage with her philandering husband, Carl Bernstein, by pouring a bottle of red wine over his head, or the time newlywed Quinn inadvertently served Ann Landers stuffed peppers that were still frozen‘and was asked, repeatedly, for the recipe. In an age that has seen the Washington Novel supplanted by the Campaign Chronicle and Transplant's Tell-All, this assured how-to feeds a lingering appetite for a gentler brand of inside-the-Beltway gossip‘along with what every worried hostess hopes for, a dab of advice and a plateful of support. (Nov.)