Thursday, May 15, 2008

Booking Through Thursday: Manual Labor Redux

This week's BTT topic:
Following up last week’s question about reading writing/grammar guides, this week, we’re expanding the question….
Scenario: You’ve just bought some complicated gadget home . . . do you read the accompanying documentation? Or not?
Do you ever read manuals?
How-to books?
Self-help guides?
Anything at all?

Do I ever read manuals? Gee, I'm tempted just to say No and let it go at that! But that wouldn't be the whole truth, I suppose. In reality, it probably depends on how urgent the situation is (i.e., how quickly I need to use said gadget), and what language the instructions are in, and how long the instructions are, and whether or not I need to put my glasses on to see the print.

I generally only read instructions and the manuals that come with "gadgets" when I absolutely have to. That's usually when I can't get my hubby to read them first and then tell me what they say! I say "usually" because if it's something I'm really excited about, I might do the unusual and read the manual myself – I read the instruction booklet that came with my new digital camera, and discovered I really needed an instruction booklet to help me figure out the instructions in the instruction booklet.

How-to books? Again, if it's something I'm really jazzed about (can't think what that would be at the moment, but I know there must be something), I'd certainly look at a how-to book.

Self-help guides? OK, here I can definitely say No – I think the last self-help book I read was I'm OK, You're OK, back in the '70s. That was about the time I decided I was as OK as I was ever gonna get, and it was OK to give up on self-help books.

Addendum: I noticed someone asked about cookbooks. Well, if you include cookbooks under the heading of instruction manuals, I'd have to say yes and no. I have been known to read an occasional recipe (although mostly for the amusement value, since cooking isn't one of my strong points). But the instructions on frozen food packets are absolutely some of my most frequent reading material!


  1. I find that usually I can't figure out the instruction manuals either.

  2. "I'm OK, You're OK' is sitting on my shelf looking at me now. I didn't realise I'd had it that long.

  3. Certain How-to-books are interesting. Like craft books and Gardening ones. I do love going through those!

    My BTT post!

  4. booksplease--
    Yes, I especially dislike the ones with little pictures and icons that are supposed to be more meaningful than text. I never know what the little pictures are supposed to be telling me!

    table talk--
    Well, I believe the book is still a best-seller, so I guess there must be something valuable in it. Just not my cuppa.

    Oh, yes - I do love gardening books, even though I don't have a garden at the moment. Still hope to someday, though.

  5. I consider "I'm OK, You're OK" one of the gimmicky self help books I am really not interested in. I know that I am OK (whatever that means :P) but if a self help book can help me explore parts of me that are hidden, I am all for it. I hate when I am just acting and have no idea what my motivations are. I like reconnecting with myself.

  6. Hahah! Cooking! You,me and Bri -- ITCS -- AGAIN!

  7. Thanks for visiting TeaReads! I consider basic cookbooks how-to books because they teach techniques. I learned to separate egss, cut up chicken, carve turkeys, make meringues, and countless other things by reading cookbooks. "I'm OK, You're OK" - -meh. "Games People Play," from the same era was more interesting.

  8. Thanks, everyone, for stopping by!

    Yes you're right, the "OK" book was very gimmicky, but apparently still popular. I do agree that self-help books can be genuine guides to self-discovery and self-knowledge. But it's true some are better than others.

    Well, yeah, but you are actually a good cook. Me, not so much. I'm hoping the darling daughter has inherited your culinary genes.

    moon rani--
    Oh, yeah. I remember the "Games" book. I read that one, too. So I guess there was a time when I was a little more open-minded! You're right - that one was more interesting and much more helpful.

  9. I don't enjoy reading manuals for technical stuff, but I do enjoy reading self-improvement books or even how-to books for cooking, painting, writing etc... They're different IMO. ;)

  10. Now when John Wayne rode in to town to tackle the cattle barons in their fancy Eastern Style ranches you never see anyone struggling with a flat pack manual. Yet mail order catalogues took off in the 19th century so did the fancy furniture arrive all made up? We need an answer!!


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