afghans cover image

Craft yourself an Afghan just like Grandma

Afghans
Traditional and Modern
Bray
1977

I was prepared for a very 1970s vibe for this relic of a craft book. I wasn’t disappointed with a few crafts that looked like it came from a grandma’s couch. However, I was surprised that a few were actually quite good. There were some very plain but nicely detailed afghans that would have made nice throws for a couch in this century. The bad news is that the projects were crowded out with the examples below. (Warning! A clown afghan is one of the examples!)

A children's book about whining cover

How about some cheese with that “whine”?

A Children’s Book About Whining
Berry
1988

Gotta hand it to Joy. She is so optimistic that kids might reconsider their behavior after a moment of self reflection. I am of the mind that many adults haven’t quite mastered this skill. More than once I have faced off with a parent who had better whining skills than the average kindergartner.

I can appreciate the intent, but I doubt this book has very little impact on a child’s behavior. A better strategy is ear plugs and a drink (preferably alcoholic).

Don't slurp your soup

Table Manners for the Kids

What to do when your Mom or Dad says …
Don’t Slurp Your Soup!
Berry
1984

We have a lot of old Joy Berry books here at ALB. Her stuff from the 1980s is dated and I just don’t like the illustrations. However, her books are popular with kids. Rather, I should say they were popular with kids 30 years ago. I guess if it works for your library, then more power to you.

I will just throw some caution out there that since many of the topics are sensitive for both adults and kids, these books should be evaluated regularly. Language from even 20 years ago might be considered inappropriate in 2022.

This one is about table manners. Frankly, plenty of adults and kids would do well to review basic manners. Will a book make a difference? Probably not.

focus on marijuana

Focus on Mary Jane

Focus on Marijuana
Zeller
1990

I think a lot of folks would like to focus on marijuana. Since legalization (or decriminalizing) seems to be a trend, maybe an updated book is needed. There is also a statement about marijuana as a gateway drug. From what I can tell, this is still a debate from the scientific community. There is also no recognition of the on going research into the benefits of marijuana such as chronic pain, anxiety, and epilepsy.

I really don’t have an opinion on the benefits since my experience is limited to a shared joint in 1981. I was more worried about getting the munchies and killing any ambition to keep my ass from expanding any further.

These types of books kind of bother me. They have more of an agenda than about real information. I have had many a teen and preteen that must do a “drug report”. More than once I have had a teen question me on why marijuana is “worse” aka illegal than alcohol. Gotta say my favorite questions are ones where the teens call b.s. and ask me to help them get better resources so they make a case.

cover of what to do

Old fashioned Manners

What to do
Everyday guides for everyone
Bendick and Warren
1967

This one looks a bit sad. Highlighting and a few damaged pages make this weed worthy. I am happy to report that this book was sent to the bindery so the ugly cover is in pretty good shape. Those old bindery covers could probably withstand a nuclear explosion. That said, I think 1967 etiquette rules are probably due for some updating.

The phone advice is comically out of date. We are still over a decade from even having portable phones, let alone smart phones. Individual phones were just not a concept. In my high school, if you had more than one extension in your home, you were living the good life. I am also surprised there wasn’t a comment about calling “late” or tying up the phone by talking too long. This was a HUGE issue when I was a teen. If any of my friends called past 10 pm, I was in trouble!

complete home decorating

Retro 70s Decor

Complete Home Decorating
Devitt
1978

Looking for a retro look? Want to induce nausea or maybe dizziness and headaches? Good for you! This book has that and much more! In many ways this book is a salute to home decor for the 1970s.

  • Harvest Gold and Avocado Green
  • Giant overpowering prints for wallpaper
  • Stripes and more stripes
  • Bean Bag Chairs

There are even a few quirks, such as a doll collection,a combo TV/Sewing center, and some weird accent pieces or “Objet d’art” – particularly, that planter in the shape of a head.

Sexual harassment on the job cover

Lady Problems at the Office

Sexual Harassment on the Job
How to avoid the working woman’s nightmare
Backhouse and Cohen
1980 (originally published in Canada in 1978)

This was still in active circulation as of this writing.

When this was published, there wasn’t much talk on sexual harassment. It was mostly treated as a joke. I remember several dudes back in the 1980s constantly saying “we need more sexual harassment around here”. (Hilarious) There weren’t a lot of protections or policies in place. It’s still a decade before Anita Hill’s testimony.

The advice is lukewarm. Since there is no mechanism to report or enforce policies, anyone that complains is probably fired or harassed until they quit. This book does talk about the range of behaviors, but without the legal definitions, laws or policies, women didn’t have a lot of options. The general advice amounts to saying you have a boyfriend/husband, avoid being alone, and ignoring the overtures.

sexual fitness cover

Let’s Get Physical!

Sexual Fitness
Complete Vitality
Time Life Books
1988

Feeling sluggish and want to get back into a high intensity bedroom “workout”? This is the book for you. Grab your partner and bring on the sexy. Exercise and general fitness is essential for a healthy sex life. Getting in shape with your partner has the added benefit of getting those sexy times started.

We also have lots of options in workout gear. Ladies, break out the tights and leotards for a sleek look. Sexy exercise also includes lots of touching, so evidently the expected “workout” attire is a lace camisole.