how to write cover

Betty Draper Needed a Hobby

The New How to Write for Homemakers
2nd Ed
Richardson and Callahan
1962

Submitter: To say that this book is dated is an understatement. Its gender bias is clear, if implicit. Chapters begin with metaphors likening writing and rhetoric to putting on a dress or following a recipe. The only explicit reference to a man shows him grilling at a barbecue. To be fair, though, the book does offer some reasonable advice on writing and rhetoric. For example, an unappetizing photograph of pineapple in jello does make a few valid points about visual rhetoric. Of course, we would better serve our patrons by providing a contemporary work over this.

planning a family reunion

Family Fun

Planning a Family Reunion
Wisdom
1988

I have been asked over the years for a how to guide for throwing a family reunion. Showers and other types of parties have evidently moved over to Pinterest and other websites. Family reunions, will probably follow, but I would still like a book for my library collection. This book isn’t it. The general advice is decent, but for a serious event, there needs to be some discussion of technology. Just flipping through this book I kind of felt sorry for the person trying to coordinate an event, among family, no less. Having to physically assemble and track downs relatives would be a real chore before wide use of the Internet.

paneling painting and wallpapering

Paneling Promises

Sunset Home Remodeling Guide to
Paneling, Painting & Wallpapering
Sunset Books
1976

Bring back the groovy days of the 1970s with some seriously cool looking paneling. If paneling isn’t your thing, than try some of the more interesting wall coverings and paint decorating ideas. I am a bit torn between the groovy orange playroom and the striped wallpaper. I really don’t know how anyone could live in this decorating nightmare. Aside from the choices in decor, the instructions were decent enough. I just couldn’t get through the book without sunglasses and some Tylenol.

1001 decorating

1,001 Decorating Ideas

1,001 Decorating Ideas
Carter, Editor
1972

Yet another book of decorating ideas circa 1972. It’s still got a groovy vibe but its early enough that avocado green and harvest gold haven’t made their mark yet. The decor features a room by room plan for updating your home. My favorite is the carpet of what looks like Astro Turf in the kitchen. Bright colors dominate and the wall accessories are overdone (this is my way of saying ugly).

creative decorating book

Color Me 1970s

Creative Decorating
on a budget
Better Homes and Gardens
1970

I really love the decorating books we have on our site. I think just about everyone I knew as a teen was either decorating in that awful avocado green or the harvest gold yellow for their color scheme. This book at least features some more eye catching color, but the effect is over the top. I don’t think I could relax in any of the rooms presented. Too much matching colors or print between walls, furniture, and window treatments is just too much.

family room

Retro Design Help

Family Rooms, Dens, and Studios
Sunset Books
1979

Are you a retro hipster writer looking for that special space to create the next great American novel? This book has lots of ideas for converting that corner, basement, or garage into your studio. Most of the ideas are for small offices. I counted no less than 10 pictures of typewriters artfully placed on neat desks. I am convinced no one really does actual work in these spaces; they just look too tidy and are created to make people like me feel bad for not staying better organized. But I digress.

While decorating is a matter of style, there is a function to specialty rooms that need to consider changes in technology. While the concept might be okay, modern offices – even home offices – have a completely different set up for modern technology. Where do we put the printer/fax? How about all the electrical requirements for modern tech? I don’t think an extension cord is the answer.