Sunday, July 12, 2009

Book Review: Show Me How

I've always been a fan of "how-to" books. I'm not talking about relationship guides or self-help books; instead, I like the practical how-to books that give advice on everyday scenarios. The only drawback for most of these books is that some tend to be heavy on written instructions and light on helpful illustrations. While some things, like making lemonade or preparing a steak dinner for four, do not need a lot of visual aids, other things, such as tying a certain knot or french braiding hair, need illustrated instructions.

The answer to this problem came in the form of Show Me How. The book's cover says that it contains "Instructions for life from the everyday to the exotic." This subtitle holds true, as the book covers everything from style (applying make up, wearing a suit) to food and drink (making a variety of cocktails, using chopsticks) to leisure and recreation (hanging a hammock). However, what makes this book stand out from the myriad of how-to books is that all of the instructions are illustrated. Although this might seem like a small addition, it is a genius move on the part of the authors. Not only do the drawings provide a much-needed visual tool, they also add a healthy dose of humor and whimsy, two ingredients that are often missing in the dry, pragmatic world of the how-to book genre.

The colorful illustrations and helpful subject matter make Show Me How an excellent gift for people just starting out on their own, such newlyweds and recent college grads. Furthermore, the book's quirky appeal and large size would make it an unexpected, fun addition to a coffee table. Plus, it is much cooler and infinitely more practical than a hardcover tome featuring Anne Geddes photos.