March 1, 2013

This isn't Fiction - How-To Guides, Hawking, and Heaven

If you don't know how-to do something, you better know how-to look it up. Yes, it's time to talk a bit about HOW-TO guides. You know the ones that can sometimes be more complicated in reading than trying yourself on, say, sewing on a button without any guidelines.

A how-to is an informal, often short, description of how to accomplish some specific task. A how-to is usually meant to help non-experts, may leave out details that are only important to experts, and may also be greatly simplified from an overall discussion of the topic. One of the earliest how-to books was published in 1569 by Thomas Wight and entitled, A booke of the arte and maner, how to plant and graffe all sortes of trees: With divers other new practise, by one of the Abbey of Saint Vincent in Fraunce by Leonard Mascall.

Generally speaking, anything from the manual you received when you bought your new toaster to the book with tutorials on crocheting, is a how-to book. Of course cookbooks are also a huge group within the how-to "genre" come to think of it. Apart from those more obvious books, there are also quite a few which qualify as, well, strange, but see for yourself.

Not to say that How to Shit in the Woods: An Environmentally Sound Approach to a Lost Art (Kathleen Meyer) might not come in handy one day, but it's most likely not the kind of book, you my fellow bookaholics will feel comfortable reading on the bus on your way to work. So how about something that's more down our alley?

I suggest How to Read a Book: The Classic Guide to Intelligent Reading (Mortimer J. Adler and Charles Van Doren) which personally I haven't read, but now that I think about it, would very much like to.

Last but not least, here are some websites which might be of interest to everyone who wants to read about how-to do just about anything:
For Dummies
How To
How To Books


Stephen William HAWKING is a British theoretical physicist, cosmologist, and author. He has achieved success with works of popular science in which he discusses his own theories and cosmology in general; his A Brief History of Time stayed on the British Sunday Times best-sellers list for a record-breaking 237 weeks.

Curious? Find out more about his work on Goodreads.

I have noticed even people who claim everything is predestined, and that we can do nothing to change it, look before they cross the road.


Delicious food tastes like Heaven. Stepping on the scale afterwards feels like Hell. But there's always Halloween when you can dress like a giant pumpkin and all is well again.

Heaven Is Here: An Incredible Story of Hope, Triumph, and Everyday Joy (Stephanie Nielson)

I Hope They Serve Beer In Hell (Tucker Max)

Death Makes a Holiday: A Cultural History of Halloween (David J. Skal)


I'm sure we all know how-to open a book, and we can tell what time it is too ... but where will be end up when time's up? Heaven or Hell?

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