Thursday, February 10, 2011

talk, talk, talk

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?

2 comments:

Elisabeth DeVries said...

This would be interesting to study. Honestly, I think conversation is an art that fewer people are learning. Awkward silences... I usually ask what kind of books they enjoy reading (if it's a new aquaintance). But of course, you run the risk of them answering: "Oh, I don't like to read." Which results in.. awkward silence. And all the while I'm thinking, "Not like to read? Not like to read?"

Marie said...

It is very interesting, and I'm finding lots of good info. There is another book published in 2007 that I am reading now, which is very good, too. Ha, I've had the 'I don't read' answer before, and I never know quite what to say... haha, I suppose you would ask what they do instead. :)