Shelf Evaluation: How to Do Everything

How to Do Everything

I’ll bet a lot of Booklist staffers curate peculiar collections as they sift and sort through the incoming mail. I’ve always been a sucker for how-to books—but not just any how-to books. You can keep your How to Make Beaded Jewelry and your How to Code C++, thank you very much. I’m only interested in books whose titles make grandiose claims, offering knowledge so vast it can’t possibly be contained within two covers. (Some of these titles are sincere, some are sarcastic; I love them both.)

How to Be MiserableSo here, in my office, below my Todd McFarlane Hanson Brothers figurines, my spirit animal (I’m a sucker for lobster rolls; you can eat your spirit animal, right?), and various other knickknacks and gewgaws, is my small but growing collection of how-to manuals. Randy J. Paterson’s How to Be Miserable, a recent arrival, reminded me how well these titles lend themselves to book-spine poetry, too.

How-to book spine poem

Kind of tells a story, doesn’t it? I’m thinking Jason Reitman should write the screenplay.

Do you have any favorite how-to guides? Let me know!



About the Author:

Keir Graff is Executive Editor of Booklist Publications and the author of five books. His most recent is the middle-grade novel, The Other Felix (2011). Follow him on Twitter at @Booklist_Keir.

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