In her instantly seminal book The Year of Magical Thinking, author Joan Didion relates her attempts, after the death of her husband, to “go to the literature” on grief. She found nothing much that was helpful, except from an unlikely source: Etiquette, by Emily Post. Though Etiquette has been updated over the years, it was Post’s 1922 original that Didion hailed as a masterpiece of matter-of-factness, and that manual has now been re-issued. Read Post not for her advice on debutantes, engaging though it is, but for her surprisingly modern dispensations on nothing less than the meaning of life: “If your community is to give you admiration and honor, it is merely necessary to be admirable and honorable,” reads one sample entry. “The more you put in, the more will be paid out to you. It is too trite to put on paper! But it is astonishing, isn’t it, how many people who are depositing nothing whatever, expect to be paid in admiration and respect?” Isn’t it, though?