the other day at the fairfax flea market, i picked up these hilarious booklets on how to improve your the quality of your life. these my two favorites– “how to fight nervous troubles” and “how to develop your sense of humor.”
after doing some research on them i found that a man named e. haldeman-julius began printing these tiny stapled books in 1919 and cost 25 cents a piece. they became extremely popular and achieved a total of more than 300 million books sold over the lifetime of the series.
after world war II, the FBI apparently deemed these books a threat because they covered controversial topics such as socialism and atheism – and described sexuality in a frank and straightforward manner.
while they are considerably difficult to read due to the wordy and complicated nature of the writing, i still think they make great and hilarious gifts.