what to do with the rest of your life cover

Figure Out Your Life

What to Do With the Rest of Your Life
Catalyst
1981

We have had a couple of books authored by the organization Catalyst. This non-profit advocated for women in business. They published career advice for women in the 1970s and 1980s. If you have been a long time reader of this blog, you might remember this particular book.

It felt like this book was more about introspection and finding your “perfect” career path. It was definitely published with nice, privileged, ladies in mind. See the bottom paragraph on the introduction page.

Like I have commented before, this very much is for that 1% of working women that have resources and a nice safety net. I doubt that the single mother trying to make ends meet doesn’t have time to have an introspective meditation on career satisfaction.

Really, just get in there and weed those career advice books.

Clowns Fun Makers cover

Clowns, the Fun Makers

Clowns: The Fun Makers
Boring
1980

Submitter: This book has not circulated since 1999, and I can see why. The photos are pretty boring. Plus being a history book on the topic of clowns that is now over 40 years old – it’s time to replace and update.

Holly: Or, as Mary says, “Clowns: The Nightmare Makers.” I guess if your last name is Boring and you’re a writer, you find something fun to write about. It’s basically just a history of clowns and circus entertainers (ending at 1980, obviously). Not the worst thing I’ve ever seen, but definitely old and…well, boring.

nothing hurts but my heart cover

Friday Fiction: Nothing Hurts But My Heart

Nothing Hurts But My Heart
Barr
1987

I saw this and immediately picked it up for the perfect 1980s hair and make-up. This is straight out of the Brooke Shields’ handbook for 1980s beauty. I mean, look at those eyebrows!

Our protagonist is Lisa who is a high performing gymnast with an eye for the Olympics. However, she is diagnosed with scoliosis and must give up her gymnastics career. She also has to wear a back brace for several years to keep the condition from getting worse. I remember a few students having to wear those back braces. They did look uncomfortable and I can only imagine it was difficult to adjust to the brace and having certain activities limited.

The book is dated, but I also liked the fact there wasn’t a magic solution. The reality for Lisa was no gymnastics and wearing a back brace. There was a lot of discussion about scoliosis which bordered on excessive. Yes, life doesn’t always go according to plan, but at least there is a cute boy named Jeff from her math class.

what you should know before you buy a car

Haggle your way to a new car

What You Should Know Before You Buy a Car
Till
1968

This is one of those books that is part consumer guide and part “let me show you the sleazy dealer underworld”. I don’t think that today’s car shopping remotely resembles how it was in the 1960s. Like any consumer purchase, there should be an attitude of “caveat emptor”. Car shopping today is much different with the Internet and sites like Kelley Blue Book, Cars.com, Autotrader, and others that can give consumers more information and buying options.

By the 1970s, there was considerable change in product liability laws and other consumer protections. So, by the end of the 1970s, this book would have been out of date and eligible for weeding. Since this isn’t a straight up buying guide, but rather a bit of a narrative on shady sales techniques, it might have value in a specialty collection on consumer scams or business practices.

Nicotine and Caffeine cover

Nicotine and Caffeine

Focus on Nicotine and Caffeine
Perry
1990

Submitter: It’s a little jarring to see nicotine and caffeine lumped together. Maybe nicotine has decreased in “everyday drug” status since 1990 or maybe I just don’t take caffeine seriously enough, but it seems like an odd pairing. And the “current” stats (from 1989) on smoking are obviously a little of out date by now—down from 29% to about 14% in 2019, per the CDC. The sentence “Like little smokestacks, smokers send out poisonous gasses into the world around them and deep into the world inside them” is pretty great though.

Holly: I think you’re right – smoking is just not as commonplace as it was when this book was published. Caffeine use, however, is still very prevalent. And I agree – we don’t generally lump those two drugs together. Maybe also because there’s no age-related law on purchasing caffeinated foods and beverages. Kids can buy a chocolate candy bar and a Coke; they can’t buy cigarettes.

finger weaving cover

Finger Craft

The Basic Book of Finger Weaving
Dendel
1974

Another craptastic craft book for your consideration. The copy I happened to see was pretty beat up. That said, all I had to do was note the quasi “harvest gold” palette of colors to determine that this book was straight out of the 1970s. Looking at the crafts, you can see this is related to the macrame books of the same era. Everyone knew about macrame, but I never heard the term finger weaving used.

Of course we have some perennial 1970s looks: ponchos, vests, and a decorative collar. I believe I have seen a similar example of an afghan on every couch when I was a kid.

This is a weeder, the dirt on the book and a somewhat broken binding qualifies it for the recycle pile. Retro crafts can be something fun, but how about a book from this century?

find the man of your dreams using the internet cover

Dating when the bar is low

How to get the man of your dreams using the Internet
Chance
2005

Ladies! Here is your chance to find the man of your dreams using the Internet. We have had a lot of dating books on our website over the years. By the time this book was published, many online dating sites were still in their early days. Very little is offered about finding the right type of service, although the author said that a good quality in a service is a chat room.

The advice is thin, even for the early days of Internet dating. Some of the other books we have featured on our site about Internet dating have more depth than this book.

Hello Mr Chips cover

Why Did the Computer Cross the Road?

Hello, Mr. Chips! Computer Jokes and Riddles
By Ann Bishop
Published 1982

Submitter: Turns out computer joke books age about as well as any other kind of computer book. The content starts before the title page, with a picture of a computer carved from a literal apple, though I’d be hard pressed to identify it as a carving of a computer if it wasn’t captioned. There’s a nice Red Scare Era joke on page one, and later on a joke about computers driving cars that reads a little differently now that computers are driving cars. Also a joke about humans turning computers on—is that supposed to be literal, or did we put innuendo jokes in books for children 40 years ago? Shockingly, this book circulated as recently as 2016, which is also about when I became responsible for this collection. Honestly, I’m a little embarrassed it took that long for this book to come to my attention.