Awesome Books – Not Awful

Prejudice 101
Abracadabra...You're Famous!

Once in a while Holly and I get submissions that are just awesome and wonderful.  Do they fit in a library collection?  Depends on your audience.  I have a couple of these books that are just too fun not to talk about.  Hint:  these might make good gifts for that special librarian in your life.  Feel free to give me one these books as a gift.


Pop-Up Book of Phobias

Submitter: I was recently in a class where we did a mini weeding workshop, and while most of us went for either old, tattered books or new ones with multiple copies just sitting there, one guy came across The Pop-Up Book of Phobias.  When you open up the page, the phobia pops out at you.  Like, a big clown face propelling itself from the center of the book.  I’m not so much thinking this needs to be weeded but I’m really curious about where you’d catalogue it!  I mean, I hope it’s not in the psych section!  Also, what is the audience for this book?  How many libraries have it on the shelf, what is the circulation… I hope you’ll take a look at it because to me, it just seemed… WRONG!

Holly: This is hilarious!  Yes, wrong, wrong, wrong, but funny.  There are close to 200 library holdings in WorldCat, and it is cataloged as an adult book with subject headings like “phobias–miscellanea,” “toy and movable books–specimens,” and “phobias” with a call number of 616.85.  A few libraries do have it in the youth non-fiction section.  Check out this example:



Bar Mitzvah Disco
Bennett, Shell and Krull

The music may have stopped, but the party’s never over

Are you a fan of Awkward Family Photos? Would you die if your teenage years were published for all to see?  This is your book.  Organized like a scrapbook, this lovely book features bad fashion, teen angst and assorted memories for everyone.   Not awful, this book is AWESOME!  And how cool to have a foreword from the Village People?

Mazel Tov!

Mary and Holly

Here are a couple of pics from the book that had me laughing.



  1. I had forgotten about the first one. I think my 19 year old son needs it as he is a psych major. It reminds me of “Get Stuffed: 24 Projects for the Bereaved Pet Owner” by Chuck Iglesias–the book that tells you how to make salt and pepper shakers out of your pet rodents, and a remote caddy out of your deceased dog. My nearby public library has this book (3 copies system-wide), and I talked to the librarian as she was putting it in the new book display. She said, “It wasn’t what I was expecting”. My kids promptly checked it out and they still talk about it years later. Here is the Amazon link:

  2. I have the Phobia one. AWESOME. My kids ( about 7 and 9 at the time) took it off the shelf and read it and had a lot of questions. I’m pretty sure they came to the conclusion that Mom’s pretty weird. But hey.

  3. I actually own the Bar Mitzvah Disco book – I bought it when working at a bookstore and think it’s hilarious. One day I’ll keep it next to my Bat Mitzvah album.

    Also, I’m pretty sure I went to some of those parties on Long Island in the late 80s/early 90s. My social life kicked it back then.

  4. I’ve seen that in book shops before! 😀 It was absolutely awesome. I’d put it in the comedy section.

    There was another great recent pop up book about a mouse (?) that was in the school library. Any idea what it was?

  5. Maybe I’m weird but I can’t imagine being scared by the purple spandex. Then again, maybe I’m so over exposed to men with baggy, saggy pants and their dirty boxer shorts that even the tightest, purplest spandex pants can’t phase me.

  6. What would really be cool would be a pop-up book featuring the white socks and the purple bulge. I’d pay quite a bit for That!
    That purple spandex looks painful!

  7. Oooh! I’ve got to get that phobia book! The kids at my library are forever asking for scary books, and if that one doesn’t scare them, nothing will. That disco Bar Mitzvah book might scare them as well, but the phobia book will get looked at more often.

  8. “That purple spandex was so tight you could tell if he’d had a Bar Mitzvah of his own when he was 13.”

  9. I have the phobia book, too! I think I got it from the humor section of the bookstore, but it’s a hoot. And the Bar Mitzah book … yikes! Now I’ve got a phobia of purple spandex bulges …