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.

Rapture 1988 cover

On Borrowed Time

88 Reasons Why the Rapture Could Be in 1988
Whisenant
1988

Submitter: This may be the very definition of a book with outdated information. While doing some weeding I recently came across this gem that has somehow managed to remain in the stacks until 2022. We are an academic theological library, and while we try to represent a wide range of theological perspectives, it’s hard to imagine how this ever ended up in the collection. Interestingly, it seems that this is not Whisenant’s first or last attempt at predicting the end of the world.

Holly: Edgar Whisenant was a NASA engineer. Bet he was fun at cocktail parties…

Baby Names cover

What’s in a Name?

The New Baby Name Survey
Lansky
2007

Picture it: there I was, moving out the oldest baby name books from the non-fiction 900s, fairly impressed that they are mostly from the last five years and circulating at a reasonable rate.
Suddenly, I came upon this one, much older than the rest with pages starting to yellow and a paperback cover starting to do that thing where it separates into two distinct pieces of paper, sort of curling up at one edge.

What do I do? Look up my name, obvi. Then I looked up Mary, as one does.

Wow, every name seems to have a really depressing, negative description! Holly is “overly sweet…despite her poor upbringing.” Mary has “a conservative, mousy appearance.” Even biblical names! “Ham” says “what else can you expect when you hear the name Ham? It’s not surprising that people describe Ham as a piggish, rude, and dorky man. They also claim he’s sloppy, ignorant, and totally unappealing to women.” Tough break, dude.

I’m sure there are some nice descriptions that would make you look at your sweet baby and say, “Yes! Sarina¬†is¬†determined and goal oriented with lots of confidence and a sharp mind!” Just ignore the part where she’s also apparently a potential “conniving and snobby backstabber.” Focus on the good part.

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!

Autism cover

Brain Balance

Autism: The Scientific Truth About Preventing, Diagnosing, and Treating Autism Spectrum Disorders – and What Parents Can Do Now
Melillo
2012

Submitter: People with autism have a hard enough time in life without being abused, threatened or discriminated against, and are invisible in mainstream society, so books, websites, etc. that spout hate, stereotypes and misrepresentations of autism harm the self-worth of already vulnerable people. The content of this book is no exception. (Click through to read more!)

Holly: Dr. Melillo’s Brain Balance Achievement Centers have definitely been criticized. Take a look at the external links on that Wikipedia page; especially the NPR piece.

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.