Monday, November 7, 2011

Musing Monday..Let me Just Look That Up!

If it's Monday, it's Musing.. from MizB at Should Be Reading ...

This week’s musing asks…

Other than for school, do you read books to learn how to do something? What was/were the topic(s)?

The question might be what have I not learned from books!

Of course, you must remember that there was a time when there was no internet. In fact, there was not even cable TV! Yes, shocking, but true!
So back in the dark, distant past, what were your options to learn how to do something? Well, you could have asked someone who already knew or you could try to figure it out from a book. Being as I am a shy, introverted person, you might guess which I picked.
Oh yes, my friends, the books.

My first big example of that was many decades ago. My mother owned a building. Thing temement, not Donald Trump. Our business was on the first floor and there were 3 apartments above, one of which we lived in. The other two were occupied by two older, bachelor men who had lived there from before we bought the building. Well, when one moved out, let’s just say it was going to need a bit of work before we could get a new tenant. It became my summer project while I was off from school.
I replaced the kitchen floor, painted the whole place and most dramatically, replaced the whole bathroom. I took it to the studs, sheet rocked it, put in a new subfloor, tiled the walls and floor, put in new fixtures…and I did the whole job by following a book. I had never done any of those things before. I remember the was big and yellow with a shiny, hard cover and it was called The Reader’s Digest Complete Book of Home Repairs. Or something very close to that…

I would read the relevant chapter and then set about doing it. Read it carefully, think it out, make a plan…and it worked out pretty darn well. You could go look at it but the building later burned down. Years and years later and nothing to do with my renovations.

And I still have that book around here somewhere.

And if I do say so, that bathroom came out very nice.

I have always thought if you have a good book and read and follow it carefully, you can learn to do just about anything. I remember I learned to crochet from a book, make Pysanky, Ukrainian Easter eggs and plant a Square Foot garden, all from a book. Oh the list is endless, all from books. I have had any number of interests and hobbies in my life…I am a bit fickle that way…and I learned most if not all of them from books.
And I am pretty sure that after reading Moby Dick I could harpoon a whale.
OK, maybe not.

In my experience, I had a lot better experience learning to do things from books rather from that new thing, the World Wide Web. Maybe there is just too much competing information on the internet, too many ideas. I need one, definite way to follow when I have no idea what I am doing.


  1. If you could do that renovation, yes, Caite, you most likely could harpoon a whale! But really, would you want to?

  2. I remember a time before the internet too. ;)

    Here’s my Musing Mondays post. :)

  3. Glad to hear about the whale; I was thinking I might want one. I was just looking sadly at all of our reference books last night. They used to be so essential before the internet!

  4. I am envious. I cant learn by reading; I learn by watching, by doing .. I've never done anything as extensive as a renovation but I am quite good at figuring out whats wrong with my computer and fixing it .. small things not major repairs tho I suspect I could if I had the right parts/tools.. mostly I use my head!

  5. I am better learning from a book than a person...

  6. Hey, I have a square foot gardening book! :-)

    (Thanks for stopping by my blog!)

  7. I more or less taught myself to crochet. My daughter was learning how to crochet in her Home Ec. class in school, and she taught me the basic steps, and from there I bought the books and followed the directions and that's how I learned.

  8. LOL - There was actually a time we didn't have Inernet or cable? I'm way too young to know about this... okay, so I'm not too young. It just seems like there was never a time we didn't have these things. I've become very spoiled :)

  9. This was wonderful!! Despite the Internet and all the resources we have now, my kneejerk reaction is still to buy a book if I need to research something or learn how to do someting. I'm impressed with the home repairs you took on!


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