"Ms Manners" says that while written thank you notes are the gold standard (noting who doesn't like to receive written cards or letters in the mail), they aren't the only 'right' way to say thank you anymore, and one must consider the source. For example, if you normally correspond in email, she says email is fine. She argues that the important thing is to acknowledge a kindness. That's true. That is always the important thing. That's one reason I usually shoot off an email to let the person know I've received their gift or whatever, and will be following up with a written note of thanks. My mom ingrained into me to write a thank you note within 24 hours. I still maintain, despite what MM says, a handwritten note is the only real appropriate response to acknowledge someone's kindness and thoughtfulness.
In the sour grapes department, for instance, I needlepointed a huge Christmas stocking for my darling grand daughter that took more than 3 months and cost upwards of $300 in materials and finishing costs, not to mention the time it took. Although it was something I wanted to do, I am still appalled my step daughter didn't do much more than smile when she opened it and put it aside. A lot of effort and love went into something unique that Parker will, I hope, treasure in her life as she grows older.
But back to writing--as far as birthday greetings are concerned? I'm sorry - if you're going to 'send' me an electronic greeting card, or post on FB after being reminded by FB, please don't bother. I'd even prefer an email note. I'm not much for phoning it in. I went to the store, picked out a card I thought would be amusing to you, and mailed it with a special stamp. If you can't be bothered, fine. But remember actions speak louder than words, and I'm one of those dinosaurs of etiquette who still conforms to standards that are fading away.
Talk Show, Dick Cavett's latest book culled from his newspaper columns and blogs, is excellent, to the point I have read his other two books. As clever as his shows were, I laughed at his anticdotes and remembrances on every page.
Death Comes to Pemberley by PD James, takes up 6 years after Jane Austen's most famous characters married, fared -- the murder mystery involves the younger sister Lydia and her earstwhile husband who Darcy had to pay off to have her married to prevent scandal so he could marry Elizabeth...