Bruce’s Lucky Dip: New Year, New Hobby 2017 Edition

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I haven’t run a Lucky Dip post since 2015 apparently, so it’s high time I got back into it.  In case you are unaware, in my Lucky Dip posts I pop a search term into the Book Depository’s mighty search engine and bring you the most chuckle-worthy results.  I last ran the New Year, New Hobby lucky dip in 2015 (was it really that long ago?!) and have decided to repeat the performance today.  Sit back and peruse these ideas for potential new ways to spend your time in 2017.

For the person who remains traumatised by 2016 and has begun the year with a grim outlook:

diy-coffins

Do-It-Yourself Coffins For Pets and People: A Schiffer Book for Woodworkers Who Want to Be Buried in Their Work by Dale Power

For the person who remains traumatised by 2016 and has decided to take matters into their own hands:

diy-drones

DIY Drones for the Evil Genius by Ian Cinnamon

For the person traumatised by 2016 who would rather forget the whole thing and masquerade as an animal:

animal-hats

Animal Hats: 15 Patterns to Knit and Show Off by Vanessa Mooncie

For the person traumatised by 2016 who would rather forget the whole thing and BECOME an animal:

transform-yourself-into-any-animal

How to Transform Yourself into Any Animal: A DIY Guide to Surgical Procedures by Orca Man

For the person excited about new beginnings, and too much time (and too many hamsters) on their hands:

homemade-for-hamsters

Homemade for Hamsters: Over 20 Fun Projects Anyone Can Make, Including Tunnels, Towers, Dens, Swings, Ladders and More by Carin Oliver

Or indeed, too many cats:

cat-castles

Cat Castles: 20 Cardboard Habitats You Can Build Yourself by Carin Oliver

And finally, one for the booklovers…a sensible one, I promise:

bookcases

Bookcases: From Salvage to Storage (14 DIY Designer Projects) by Aurelie Drouet

I hope you’ve found something in this lot to inspire the creative juices for the coming year.  Do tell me how you plan to spend your down time and whether you plan to write an amusingly-titled book about it, won’t you?

Until next time,

Bruce

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Bruce’s Lucky Dip: New Year, New Hobby?

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It’s been a ridiculously long time since I last posted a Lucky Dip, so what better time to do it than my final post of the year!  For those of you unfamiliar with my Lucky Dip feature, it involves me typing a random search term into the Book Depository’s search engine and bringing you the wacky, unexpected or just plain hilarious results.  Today’s Lucky Dip will feature that evergreen search term, DIY.  I invite you to sit back, relax and allow these offerings to inspire you to try a new (and eyebrow-raising) hobby in 2016.

First up, for those who like a bit of a tipple during the holiday season, it’s time to collect up all those wine corks and get cracking on….

DIY Wine Corks: 35+ Cute and Clever Cork Crafts by Melissa Averinos

diy wine corks

I would suggest springing this book on your guests AFTER they have imbibed said tipples and then see who can make the best crafty item from the book.  If corks are not your thing however, you can always fall back on good old stretchable rubber with…

The DIY Balloon Bible For All Seasons by Sandi Masori & Rachel Porter

the diy balloon bible

I’m quite impressed that this book markets itself as something for ALL seasons.  Much better value than a DIY balloon book that only features one or two seasons.

If art and craft seems a bit tedious to you, why not spice up your life with the…

Illustrated Guide to Home Chemistry Experiments: All Lab, No Lecture by Robert Bruce Thompson

illustrated guide to home chemistry experiments

But don’t blame me when the police come knocking after they’ve been tipped off by alert (but not alarmed) neighbours who are worried about what you might be cooking up in your home lab.

Chemistry too mundane and pedestrian?  Looking for something totally wacky and unexpected?  Been wanting to refashion your leftover tinfoil into a stylish new hat? Well look no further than…

DIY Satellite Platforms: Building a Space-Ready General Base Picosatellite for Any Mission by Sandy Antunes

diy satellite platforms

I will be the first to admit that I have absolutely no idea what a space-ready general base picosatellite is, but it doesn’t sound like the kind of thing one could whip up at home.  Please someone buy this book, try it out and get back to me.

If satellites are a bit too airy-fairy for you and you’re looking for something more down-to-earth, I have just the thing. Literally.

Compost Toilets: A Practical DIY Guide by Dave Darby

compost toilets

The less said, the better, on this one, I think.  If, however, you are looking to move into a more environmentally friendly, chemical-free lifestyle in 2016, you may well be interested in taking a slightly less drastic step in the bathroom with…

DIY Toothpaste: Teach Me Everything I Need to Know About Homemade Toothpaste in 30 Minutes by 30 Minute Reads

diy toothpaste

 The perfect starter present for that friend who will spend hours bleating on about the dangers of modern living on every social media site going, but can’t devote more than 30 minutes to creating a solution.

I hope this Lucky Dip has inspired you to widen your horizons for 2016.  You can thank me later for jazzing up your list of New Year’s Resolutions.

And while you’re thinking of challenges to undertake in the new year, why not have a look at the reading challenge hosted by the Shelf-denizens: The Title Fight Reading Challenge 2016!

Title Fight Button 2016

We’d love to have you aboard!

Until next year,

Bruce

Festive Frivolity: Bruce’s Christmas Lucky Dip!

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It’s time once again for one of my favourite features – Bruce’s Lucky Dip! If you are unfamiliar with this one, it involves me typing a random word into the search engine of the Book Depository and presenting to you the best and most unexpected results.  Appropriately for the time of year, this lucky dip is focused around Christmas.  So if you are still searching for the perfect present for that hard-to-buy-for character plaguing your Christmas list, sit back and let my festive fossiking provide the solution to all your woes….click on the book covers for more information on each title.

Firstly, for the hardcore crafty crafter:

knits before christmas

For the religious hardcore crafty crafter:

knitivity

Unsurprisingly enough, these two are by the same author.

For the ungrateful relative of a hardcore crafty crafter (religious or otherwise):

ugly christmas sweater

Remember, it’s the thought that counts.

For the person who just needs a little assistance to manage that carefree, Christmas happy-tude:

funny christmas verse

For the party-pooping Christmas sad sack who needs more than a bit of funny festive poetry to get them in the mood:

christmas therapy

Let those elves psychoanalyse the holiday grumps away…

For the entrepreneur with a desire for wealth untold and rapid upward mobility:

trees for pleasure and profit 4th edition

Scoff if you must, but do note that this book is in its fourth edition, so the author must have made at least a little bit out of this harebrained scheme…

For the animal activist, or that annoying child that keeps begging you for a puppy:

christmas turkeys

Imagine the expression of joy on their little faces when you present this book and then lead them into the back yard, accompanied by the sound of festive gobbling…

For those for whom mulled wine is not enough to spice up the holiday:

affair before christmas

Now it doesn’t happen often, but occasionally I come across a book in one of these searches that makes me do this face:

confused smileyThis time I have found hands down the most inexplicable Christmas title ever.  Clearly, I move in sheltered shelfish circles.  This one certainly has a fun and frivolous vibe to it, but it ain’t my idea of traditional festivities.  And it’s certainly not for children.  If you want to see it on Goodreads though, just click here.

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Bet you weren’t expecting that, were you? In fact, I bet you’re making the face right now.

And that’s my festive lucky dip for 2014 – I hope I’ve helped you with those tricky people on your present list….although if you’re buying that last one for anybody I don’t want to know about it.  You weirdie.

Stay tuned next week for a wrap up of the Small Fry Safari Kid Lit Readers Challenge, and a BRAND NEW CHALLENGE for 2015.  It’s going to be real bobby-dazzler!

Until next time,

Bruce

Bruce’s Lucky Dip: On Location at The Lifeline Bookfest…

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Good morning all! Today’s Lucky Dip is a little bit out of the ordinary, because instead of using the Book Depository’s search engine for my lucky dipping, I decided to send Mad Martha out into the real world to do some dipping at the Lifeline Bookfest!

For those not familiar with the Lucky Dip, it usually involves delving into the BD’s search engine to find the funniest or weirdest titles on a particular search term.  For those unfamiliar with the Lifeline Bookfest, this is a semiannual second-hand book sale put on by the charity Lifeline.  It’s been running for many, many years now, and although I haven’t bothered attending for at least the last six or seven years, I was inspired by a post by Jeann from Happy Indulgence back in January to send Mad Martha out into the world to do some real-life dipping into a large, conveniently located pile of books.  Here’s a picture of her using the public transportation system to arrive safely at her goal:

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How happy she looks to be out amongst the fleshlings! Without further ado, please enjoy the spoils of her toil in our first non-virtual Lucky Dip!

 For those who have become bored with the Where’s Wally? concept and wish to test their observational skills in a real life context:

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Home Alone 2: Lost in New York Where’s Kevin?

Although one could just as easily ask the question, where is Macauley Culkin now?

For those who wish to get their kids onto the neverending cycle of fad diets and unattainable body image early, we have The Wizard, The Ugly and the Book of Shame:

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At least, I assume that this book is aimed at dissatisfied women in their 30s.  It certainly sounds like the sort of magazines they read.

For the youngster with a date with the juvenile justice system:

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In case you can’t read that, it’s called Susie and the Wise Hedgehog go to Court. Yep.

If I had the choice between a trained lawyer and a cute little woodland creature I’d probably pick the hedgehog too.

Next is that book on every kid’s TBR pile:

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It’s How Will I Behave Today and the Rest of My Life?

How indeed?! If Susie had read this book early on, maybe she wouldn’t have ended up going to court with a hedgehog, however wise said hedgehog might be.

Now for my favourite book filed in the Children’s section:

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An Australian Murder Almanac: 130 Years of Chilling Crime

I admit, I nearly bought this one.  After all, who could go past a book that labels a collection of murders such as those committed by “The Baby Killers” as a set of “gripping yarns”?

Panic not though, for although this book was obviously placed in the wrong section, I later came across this one:

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A Child’s Book of True Crime

I’m not sure why the cover features a nice collection of Australian wildlife (unless that’s an artist’s impression of the dingo from the Chamberlain case with a hitherto unacknowledged Kookaburra accomplice) but it’s nice to know that kids get their very own tome related to the more base aspects of human nature.

So they were the best that Mad Martha could unearth in the short time that she spent rifling through the books on offer.  She did, however, come across this serendipitous and inspired mash-up of book categories:

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Honestly, you couldn’t script that, could you? Wonder how the New Agers felt about that pairing…

And finally, after coming across piles and piles of these:

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We decided that Stephanie Meyers has a LOT to answer for.  And the same goes for you, Collins:

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There was an absolute abundance of these two sets of books.  Mad Martha didn’t bother looking in the adult fiction but I’m sure there would have been more than a few stacks of Fifty Shades, unable to be sold yet unable to be burned to keep the homeless warm.  A travesty.

So really, that was about it.  Mad Martha mentioned that stepping into the children’s section in the $1 category was like taking a time-bending trip back to a primary school library of the 1980s.  Bliss! She managed to pick up a long sought-after copy of Finders Keepers by Emily Rodda (in our favourite cover too!) and a slightly dog-eared RL Stine book that we recently searched for online but were dismayed to find was now out of print – this will be the focus of an upcoming Tomes of the Olden Times feature!

We hope you’ve enjoyed this unusual Lucky Dip – we’d love to hear if any Brisbanites managed to get down to the Bookfest this time around and whether you picked up any gems.  Or indeed, if anyone has come across some untapped veins of gold in a second hand bookstore in their own wanderings!

Until next time,

Bruce (and Martha)

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Bruce’s Lucky Dip: My first book (of titles one wouldn’t expect in a My First book)…

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Morning all! Today I will be presenting a lucky dip, which involves typing a term into the Book Depository’s search engine and carefully mining, processing, polishing and presenting to you all the diamonds in the rough that you perhaps wouldn’t normally encounter in your day-to-day book searchery.

This time around, I thought I’d search for that perrenial favourite of children’s literature – the “my first” book.  You know the type. My First Book of Colours, My First Book of Horses and Ponies…..how odd, I hear you ask, could this search really get?  Well sit back my friends and enjoy My First Lucky Dip of My First Books for Odd Children and Others…

For the budding politician, thespian or other precocious child: 

My First Monologue Book: 100 Monologues for Young Children (Kirsten Dabrowski)….Initially I read that title as one thousand monologues.  Still, at 100 there’s probably about 95 too many here.  I can imagine this kid being a right old hit at dinner parties later in life, can’t you?

my first monologue

For the budding philosopher or pint-sized lover of classical literature:

My First Kafka: Runaways, Rodents and Giant Bugs (Matthue Roth/Rohan Daniel Eason) … actually, I wouldn’t mind this one myself. I’m quite happy to have classic literature dumbed down for me so I can look intelligent at parties without having to actually read the original.

my first kafka

For the budding sociopath:

Hack/Slash: My First Maniac (Tim Seeley)…admittedly, I don’t think this one’s for kids…

my first maniac

For the budding granny, grandad, craft or fashion enthusiast:

My First Cardigan Workbook: Knit Your Way to Success with 8 Top-Down Cardigans (Georgia Druen)….notice that the title indicates that success will come with the cardigans.  Who’d have thought – all this time people have been chasing success through money, hard work, cheating…when all they had to do was foster a love for the twin set.

my first cardigan

For the budding geneticist or evil cloning genius:

My First Book About DNA (Katie Woodard)..I can just picture a whole generation of small girls using this book as the first step in cloning a whole army of Dollies…

my first dna

And finally, for the slightly impressionable young Harry Potter fan:

My First Little Workbook of Wicca (Violet Rieth)…nope, I didn’t see that one coming either!

wicca book

If you know of any unexpected (yet welcome!) My First titles, please do share them in the comments!

Until next time,

Bruce

Bruce’s Lucky Dip: Unlikely Pursuits for your Weekend…

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imageIt’s time once again for a Book Depository Lucky Dip! For those uninitiated folk, this consists of me typing an enticing search term into the Book Depository’s engine, and then hand-selecting the finest results for your viewing pleasure.

Given that in Australia it is currently the peak of the summer/school holiday boredom season, and parents are seeking more elaborate ways to escape from their hyperactive and ever-present offspring, I have selected the search term “Things to Do”.  Parents, you can thank me after you have successfully adopted some of these new avenues to personal growth.

For those wondering what to do with that extra whalebone they’ve got lying around the craft room:

corset building

The Basics of Corset Building: A Handbook for Beginners (Linda Sparks)

For those who like to spend quality reading time in the bathroom:

52 things to do while you poo

52 Things to Do While You Poo (Hugh Jassburn) …if that is his real name….

For the disenfranchised Twentysomething set:

retirement park trailer home

Things to Do in a Retirement Home Trailer Park…When You’re 29 and Unemployed (Aneurin Wright)

For the God-botherer looking for a shortcut to paradise:

anxious christians

Good News for the Anxious Christian: 10 Practical Things You Don’t Have to Do (Phillip Cary)

For those too busy to pursue leisure activities in the prime of their working life:

to do when you're dead

100 Things to Do When You’re Dead (Rob Bailey)

And my personal favourite,

For those who live in locations with plummeting land values, or conveniently located adjacent to a museum of military history:

tank spotters guide

Tank Spotter’s Guide (Marcus Cowper/Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-Day Saints)

This is my personal favourite not so much because it is a guide to spotting tanks (that may proliferate in one’s local neighbourhood one presumes) although that is reason enough.  What I love most about this title is the fact that it is compiled by the Church of Latter-Day Saints.  Now, to members of the CoJCoLDS, there may be some bleeding obvious reason why tank spotting is a reasonable and expected leisure pursuit, but as I do not count myself amongst this membership, the authorship of this book seems bizarre at the least, and therein lies its worthiness as pick of the bunch for this foray into Lucky Dipping.

Other contributions are most welcome, if any of you are aware of a not-to-be-missed title relating to “things to do”.

Until next time,

Bruce

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World Mental Health Day: A Cheeky Lucky Dip…

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Happy World Mental Health Day everyone!  I’m very pleased (especially in the current circumstances round the shelf) that the powers that be only require us to have one mentally healthy day per year, so that’s as good a reason to celebrate as any.

Today I present to you a Book Depository Lucky Dip that hopefully suits the occasion – for the uninitiated, the BD Lucky Dip involves me typing a random search term (or terms) into the Book Depository’s search engine and picking the most surprising or giggle-inducing results for your viewing pleasure.

So in thinking about Mental Health (or lack thereof), the terms that sprang immediately to mind were cats, irritating musical instruments and crafting.  Please, sit back, relax, and make yourself feel better by  perusing a lucky dip that may have you questioning the sanity of others and affirming your own….or vice versa.

For the sufferer of paranoia who is also handy with a ball of yarn:

kyo moKnit Your Own Moustache: Create 20 Knit and Crochet Disguises by Vicky Eames

For the person who appreciates the profound mystical connection between heavy metal music and diminutive stringed instruments :

metallica uke

Best of Metallica for Ukulele by Steve Gorenberg

For those who laugh in the face of hypoallergenic craft supplies:

crafting with cat hair

Crafting with Cat Hair: Cute Handicrafts to Make with your Cat by Kaori Tsutaya

For the hunting enthusiast who believes fur is murder:

craftydermy

Craftydermy by Tracey Benton & Ziggy Hanaor

For those who like to ponder life’s big questions:

would you eat your cat

Would You Eat Your Cat?: Key Ethical Conundrums and What They Tell You About Yourself by Jeremy Stangroom

And finally, for the ultimate thrillseeker:

fun with accordion

Mel Bay’s Fun with the Accordion by Frank Zucco

Clearly, I have acquitted myself of my duty on this most important of days, to contribute to the ongoing mental well-being of my readers with this varied and enticing collection.  You can all thank me later.

Until next time, may all your brain receptors be flooded with feel-good hormones,

Bruce

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