I don’t know about you, but I could read about food and gatherings all the live long day. I really enjoy reading about hospitality – what works for other people, what unique ideas they have for gathering people in their homes and at their tables, how they prepare for guests, what kinds of things they do with their guests, etc. I love reading stories and I love reading tips.
Here are four GREAT books about hospitality that I’ve recently read. Each author has a very different approach in her book, but all have the overall theme of gathering people together to feast and fellowship. I think you’ll love them, too!
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Hands down, The Lifegiving Home is one of my favorite books of all time! If this book doesn’t inspire you that YOU can use your home, and especially your kitchen table, to make a difference in the lives of others, I just don’t know what will.
WHAT I LOVED ABOUT IT:
Sally and her daughter, Sarah, give you more encouragement than you could ever need to create a space in your home to love and serve others. I loved how much they dove into detail on even the simplest of things. The Clarkson family clearly loves good food, good books, beautiful art, and cozy spaces, and they very evidently extend that love to EVERYONE who enters into their presence. This book is incredibly inspiring and invites the reader in to enjoy the gifts that God has given us to bless others well.
The Clarkson ladies talk extensively about family traditions and rituals, as well as offer the reader numerous ideas for how she can apply the love of hospitality and serving others in her own home. They remind you how important warm and inviting spaces are, and how much of a blessing it is to create and provide an environment for others to just be themselves and to thrive. SO good. If you haven’t read this book, you really need a copy. And get one for every lady you know. It is truly wonderful.
As I would read others’ blogs who are in my niche – hospitality and food – I felt like I was the only one who hadn’t yet read this book! I decided I definitely needed to read it after I heard all these rave reviews about it, and wow, I now understand why! I flew through this book – I think I read it in just a couple of evenings. (Which, for me, says A LOT, because usually by the time I actually crawl into bed after chasing my kids all day, I’m OUT in just a minute or two!)
WHAT I LOVED ABOUT IT:
Shauna is quite raw and vulnerable in this book – she shares real life with you, just like you were with her at her very own kitchen table. She talks about how valuable her community has been (and is) to her, and how much the gatherings she planned (by herself and with others) were so incredibly important. Shauna talks about how gatherings are often beautiful, big, and grand ordeals, as well as just very simple, last-minute get-togethers to celebrate something/someone or to mourn with someone going through serious suffering and loss.
Shauna very much reminded me how much we can use our table to serve others and share life with others, and I just love her philosophy on food. I’m a big “food person” too – I think about food – what I’m going to make, how I’m going to make it, how I could improve recipes, etc. – ALL the time. She loves food for what it is practically – taste and nourishment – but also for what it does emotionally when you share it with other people: it’s a bonding agent for sure!
She offers great recipes in here that she would use for various gatherings and get-togethers, and she shares that she genuinely hopes that these recipes will bless others and their communities like they’ve blessed hers. I loved this book, and I really think you will, too.
I’m a list person – I love me a good, thorough, bullet-pointed list.
If there were a Type AAA, I’m pretty sure I would be on that list.
This book isn’t so much of a prose-rich book about hospitality, but rather a book of tons of tips and ideas on how to prepare your home in the simplest (yet effective) ways for gatherings.
WHAT I LOVED ABOUT IT:
Melissa is very down-to-earth and offers incredibly practical tips for how to prepare your home for simple gatherings, NOT in a way that pressures the reader to feel like they need to have “all the things” and everything figured out, but rather to help the reader think about some really simple things to make gathering people EASIER and less stressful. Reading this book, I felt like I just kept saying, “Me too! Me too!” for several of her reasons why she suggests the tips she offers.
This book definitely made me feel like there are some simple things I can do to make myself more prepared for gatherings, but it also offered a great reminder that I don’t have to have everything all together or figured out in order to open my home up for people. If you’re a list person and if you like having people over, this is the perfect book for you to read and keep on your coffee table!
I was listening to Kristin on Jamie Ivey’s podcast, The Happy Hour, and as I was listening, I was thinking, “I have GOT to read this book they’re talking about! They were talking about Kristin’s “Front Yard People” movement and how she started offering hospitality to her neighbors in her front yard using a simple turquoise table. I was so intrigued!
WHAT I LOVED ABOUT IT:
I had this book on my to-read list, and then one day soon after I had heard about the book, when I went into the library to check out some books with my daughters to read to them, I saw this on the new release stand right there in the front. I snatched it right up! This book is all about how Kristin uses this turquoise table of hers to connect regularly with her neighbors – how she got started doing it, and then how this movement of neighborly hospitality has morphed and grown across the country. Her type of hospitality is very intentional but go-with-the flow, and one of the main purposes of the table in the front yard is to have people over WHENEVER – don’t have to worry if the house is picked up or if the perfect meal is being served, as much fun as it is to have a clean house and a big ‘ole meal to offer!
The stories in there are so encouraging and inspiring. Our front yard is TINY and on a big slant, but my husband and I are brainstorming now how we could make something like this work in our front yard. After reading this book, I felt like Kristin was telling me, “You can do this! You can figure out how to do this!” If you need a little boost on how to make a difference in your neighborhood, read this book. It’s so good and will remind you that you truly can make a difference.
Ok, friends, what other books about hospitality do I need to read?! I’m ready for more good ones!
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