Taming of the Screw (Dave Barry) - Rodale Press - 1983 - 90 pages

Dave Barry has been a journalist since 1971 but is best known for his humor column that ran in the Miami Herald from 1983 to 2005.  The Taming of the Screw is his first book that was written before he began work for the Herald.  Barry is probably the funniest writer on earth (He gets my vote.) and this book is totally useless for home repairs but you should read it for your health.  He knows what is important - "(walls) ... keep the roof from falling down and damaging your television set."  The book looks at all common household problems and basically tells the reader not to try to fix anything without professional help.  The amount of research put into various subjects is impressive.  For example, I was completely unaware of "The History of Plywood" (page 56).  Plywood kites, beer cans and underwear may not have been successful but the first plywood president (Warren G. Harding) cannot be overlooked.  Barry does not ignore lawn and garden products (Chapter 12).  As we all know, "... crabgrass can grow on bowling balls in airless rooms ..."

Barry found room for "Impossible Projects" (Chapter 10) like building a home computer, redecorating your entire house in a day (Chapter 14), and finally, "Build Your Own House" (Chapter 15) in just six pages.  Where else can you get such concise information?  The book is wonderfully illustrated by Jerry O'Brien.  His drawings of the rhinoceros/clown wallpaper perfectly show Barry's warning about wallpaper planning.  [JAM 8/10/2010]