Rachel Khoo


Posted by Rachel

March 28th, 2013

On My Bookshelf – A Compendium of Kisses

Update: Congratulations to Adam, winner of this book giveaway!

The French are known for romance and their kissing. I’m not talking about French kissing here – but when you greet people. Is it two? Or three (I discovered in Marseille they do three), or maybe four? The art of kissing can be a complicated business. Flip through the delightfully witty pages of ‘A Compendium of Kisses’ to search for answers to your amorous questions.

A pocket-sized guide to kissing in all its forms, Lana Citron’s ‘A Compendium of Kisses’ covers every aspect of kissing you could possibly imagine. From a step-by-step explanation of the anatomy and the physical nature of a kiss, to famous kisses throughout history, Lana’s little pink book leaves no stone (or should I say kiss) unturned.

You’ll find such quandaries as what’s the recipe for a perfect kiss? When passing through Switzerland, is the appropriate greeting two or three (or four!) kisses on the cheek? What’s the meaning behind a stolen kiss? What’s the world-record for the longest kiss ever (clue: imagine kissing someone for more than a whole day!)?

You’ll learn about the chemistry behind kissing, and why – in scientific terms – your heart starts to flutter in the moments leading up to a kiss.

If you’re not too keen on the science behind kissing, don’t worry – Lana keeps things lighthearted. Four whole pages are dedicated to songs to kiss to – including ‘Kiss the Girl’ from A Little Mermaid and ‘In France They Kiss on the Main Street’ by Joni Mitchell.

You can dip in and out of the pages (some of the anecdotes are only a few sentences long), and you can open it up at any page and chances are you’ll learn something new about love, kissing, affection, or simply human interaction in its rawest and most honest form. The book even explains the origins of why we sign off with noughts and crosses as a sign of affection.

‘A long, long kiss, a kiss of youth and love,

And beauty, all concentrating like rays

Into one focus, kindled from above;

Such kisses as belong to early day.’

– Byron, as included in Lana’s book

Whilst flipping through ‘A Compendium of Kisses’ you are bound to come across snippets of poetry, however it’s far from sappy, nor overly doused in romantic whimsy. The guide uncovers the secrets behind kissing in all its forms (romantic and other). Whether it’s discussing why tiny babies crave human contact, or why kissing is important in many biblical tales, to how kissing is depicted in Renaissance art or the definition of a pagan kiss – this little book covers it all.

A sweet, smart and quirky book, ‘A Compendium of Kisses’ is a fun and entertaining addition to the bookshelf. Whilst you might hesitate before giving something as personal as this as a gift, I think it’s a perfect present for almost anyone – after all, it’s a guide dedicated to something that we humans crave, and have always practiced throughout the entire history of the human race (apparently – according to the history of kissing!).

A Compendium of Kisses

GIVEAWAY: I’ve got a signed copy of Lana Citron’s ‘A Compendium of Kisses’ to giveaway. Leave a comment here on my blog (and bonus points for sharing this giveaway on your own blog, twitter and facebook!) for your chance to win :)

I’ll be randomly drawing the winner on Tuesday April 2, so you have until Monday April 1 to enter this giveaway.

Note: This giveaway is now closed.

Bisous! x

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46 thoughts on “On My Bookshelf – A Compendium of Kisses

  1. Sounds like a great book. I do always wonder what is correct in kissing someone when you meet them. I am an American an its not a normal practice for us, but when traveling overseas what’s correct. Love your book Rachel.

  2. Love the idea of this book! I once had a long conversation with a friend over email about why I signed off with xo’s. Never did look up the origin of that but would love to read this book!

  3. Definitely something the british should be more relaxed about, I think are reserve can be inhibiting sometimes.

  4. 2nd April is the due date for my baby #2… Hopefully I’ll be giving out lots of petite kisses that day as well as reading about them! ;)

  5. How absolutely wonderful. As a recent singleton (not of my choice) this would be a lovely romantic read to make me think of all the kisses I’ve yet to find.

  6. I love this French (and more generally European) tradition. It’s affectionate and warming and I think physical contact is good for the soul. Would love to learn more! x

  7. I happened to be in France and was kissed once on both cheeks, I didn’t mind but I was tying my shoe laces at the time!

  8. I’ve been looking for romantic hardback books that mean something to me, to place with flowers as a table centre as I’m hoping to get married next year, this would be SO ideal with my books of love poems and Jane Austen novels!:) X

  9. As an American with friends from all over the world – I usually just stand paralyzed until they finish kissing me because I never know what to do. Europeans are the worst bc they are all different – one kiss, two kiss, three kiss. I cant keep up……

  10. Here in Holland we go for three kisses! But you both have to start with the left cheek, then right, then left or. it gets very muddled!

  11. My wife Marion and I always spend our wedding anniversary in Paris so we were there a couple of weeks ago. needless to say we love kissing, especially in that City of Love.The prize would be great for Marion’s birthday on 4 April

  12. My wife Marion and I always go to Paris for our wedding anniversary so we were there a couple of weeks ago. Needless to say we love kissing, especially in that City of Love. The book would be a great present for her birthday on 4 April!

  13. I just discovered your show for the first time on the Cooking Channel today. You are an absolute delight and I am sure this book is as well!

  14. Rachel,
    In Brazil, most of the times, we do two kisses. Depending on the city, it’s three!
    And when you meet a close friend, there’s always a hug involved.

  15. Hi Rachel, I am a huge lover of your blog and just love opening my e-mails to see what you’ve been up to and try out some of your lastest ideas and recipes. I am from the UK and have just arrived back from Paris for a short Easter break just yesterday – it’s a shame your ‘Little Paris Kitchen’ is closed, I would have loved to have gone. X

  16. A kiss, the best sweet treat ever !
    Need this pretty book on my bookshef too !
    I share that little giveaway on twitter / fb right now..! :)

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