We came across an interesting book called A Curious Invitation – The Forty Greatest Parties in Literature, by Suzette Field, and since we love everything literary, we had to get it.
Some parties we had heard of, others not so much. We would have loved to attend one of Jane Austen’s balls, but 5 parties stood out that we would have loved to receive ‘a curious invitation’ to:
- Bilbo Baggins’s Eleventy-First Birthday Party (The Fellowship of the Ring) – After figuring out that this was the infamous hobbit’s 111th birthday, you wouldn’t need to worry about getting him a gift since the tradition for hobbits was that the birthday boy gets gifts for his guests! You wouldn’t have to do much small talk in this party as much of the time you would be eating, eating and eating some more!
- Mrs Leo Hunter’s Costume Breakfast (The Pickwick Papers) – Now this party we wouldn’t want to miss. It’s a garden party that was popular at the court of Versailles called a fête champêtre, meaning ‘pastoral festival’ where aristocratic guests would wear fancy dress and orchestras hidden between the trees would entertain with music.
- Gatsby’s Saturday Night Parties (The Great Gatsby) - Lavish parties every weekend in a waterfront mansion, the swinging 20’s, a mysterious millionaire all make for an ‘I need to be there’ party. The great thing was you wouldn’t have needed an invite, people just showed up. The only one who ever got an invite was the novel’s narrator Nick Carraway.
- Queen Alice’s Feast (Through the Looking Glass) – Celebrating Queen Alice, as long as you were a human in this party you would be safe! The menu and guests were interchangeable, with a leg of mutton or a plum tart making conversation with you or getting eaten! The rule is ‘it isn’t etiquette to cut anyone you’ve been introduced to!’
- A Pooh Party (Winnie-the-Pooh) – Who wouldn’t want to attend at least once a little party in The Forest, where your invite literally lands in your lap courtesy of Owl, and you get to spend time with the much-loved cosy characters Eeyore, Piglet, Kanga and all the rest!
If you want some inspiration for one of your parties, look to literature for some ideas!