Tuesday, January 1, 2013

Condensed Books


   For ages Reader’s digest magazine has assisted busy people by condensing material for quick consumption.  I used to have a collection of Reader’s digest monthly magazines from a specific time.  I noticed as the War in Viet Nam geared up, the appearance of the feature Humor in Uniform returned to the Digest.  I collected them all.  From yard sales and thrift stores, I had every Digest from the Era.  I eventually gave them to a Viet Vet who asked me about the magazines and had never read one.  A lot of the humor was relatable to him and he started borrowing the magazines to read the background articles he had missed from his time away at war.  Reader's Digest gave him the history of his time in the army.

   Reader’s Digest had also published a quarterly hardback book that contained the condensed version of best sellers.  I could have read the originals but I got a lot more out of reading the best bits of the best literature available at the time.  How else was a housewife going to find time to read four best sellers and raise four boys?  It worked for me.

   I was at a yard sale a few years ago and came across a book called Reader’s Digest’s Book of Facts.  I snapped it up at the $1 price.  It was a glossy covered hand held encyclopedia of everything.  When my son went back to college, I passed it over to him as a refresher.  You forget a lot of what you learned in high school and this book covered the ancient world in three four page chapters.  It was a helpful tool to bring all the old forgotten lessons forward.  It is also full of interesting little known facts and a fun read.

   Since then, I have had my eyes open looking through all of the boxes in driveways where the old books go to die before they hit the landfill.  I always suggest they get dropped off at the library.  I have since found two more Book of Facts.  One is mine, and one will be a gift to another son’s library.  I did not know how many other great books Reader’s Digest had to offer until I started looking.

   I have found three helpful household books you might consider for your own library.  The practical Problem Solver offers substitutes shortcuts, and uses for things you have on hand to solve your household problems.  The Household Hints and Handy Tips book is set up in sections relating to indoors, outdoors, home and family.  Extraordinary USES for Ordinary Things will help you get the most use out of things you already have.  It is set up alphabetically.  Look up candles and you will find how to un-stick a drawer, weather proof labels and quiet a squeaky door.   There are thousands of entries.

   I know there are many more titles, some may be better suited to your needs than these listed here.  Look it up!  That’s mommy talk for, “Do your homework!”  Take a look online.  Keep your eyes open at yard sales and charity shops. could end up at www.amazon.com for your book.

    Reader’s Digest may offer you a clue to what was going on in the country while you were away at war.  It may give you a leg up on your reading list.  You may want to keep the Book of Facts on hand for quick reference for homework papers or the next Jeopardy! game.  You may not want all three of the books I have for tips and  42 uses for duct tape, I don’t know, maybe you do.  Look to Reader’s Digest to cover a lot of information in a short amount of space.

What’s in your library?

(After note:  I found a Reader’s Digest Legal Problem Solver, A Quick and Easy Action Guide to the Law for $1 at a yard sale!  It includes a law dictionary and solutions to dozens of general problems from property disputes to school suspensions!  YAAAAAY!)

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