I ordered two books through the interlibrary loan program our campus library has, both about conversations. I've recently wanted to know how to better hold conversations with people. A strange desire, maybe, but interesting.
The books I got were not quite what I was expecting. Very old, bindings falling apart... I took a video of them for you, but I can't find my cord to load it onto my computer, so you'll have to use your imagination ;)
The one in the box was published in 1891, and the binding is falling apart. I've never read a book so cautiously. It is called 'Conversation', and written by J. P. Mahaffy. I love the dedication, which reads 'to my silent friends'. It was a very tiresome read; boring, long, and dry. I read the main points, but none really seemed helpful.
The second one was much more interesting. It is called 'The Art of Conversation: Twelve Golden Rules', by Josephine Turck Baker and published in 1907. This one was, ingeniously, written as a conversation between He and She. They discuss conversations, and a few other topics, coming up with twelve rules. The most helpful of these, in my opinion, are: 1. avoid unnecessary details, 2. do not ask question two until question one has been answered; and do not ask too any questions nor too few, 3. do not interrupt while another is speaking, 5. do not do all the talking, give your listener a chance, and 9. make your speech in harmony with your surroundings.
I would actually recommend this last book if you have an hour, its fun to read, and interesting.
How do you deal with those akward silences? How do you keep a conversation going? Do you have any stories (funny or otherwise) to share? What is the oldest book you've gotten from the library? Any interesting stores about that?