JF Ptak Science Books Quick Post An Exciting Entry in the History of Nothing series
Sometimes publications have absolutely no pretense, stating exactly what it is that sleeps between their covers. And sometimes these titles seem more like declarative broadsides or posters and not books at all, the "book part", or any writing furthering the cover's statement, being unnecessary, their contents being obvious. The first example here (and one which begs the response "Yup!"), Saturn Has Rings, written in 1944 by Donald Lee Cyr (of El Centro), should've stopped at the end of the title of chapter one, "A Rose has Petals", and probably could have ended on the title page. But no, it didn't, and stretched itself over another fifty thin pages.
Frederick Blaine Humphrey's Know Your Groceries (1931) takes an unexpected twist, spiraling into something called "biochesspathy", "natural dianetics", and somehow "applying the natural science of the Bible...to the philosophy of youth and health".
The Book of Envelope Facts...yes. This is actually a lovely book, in its very special way, with 55 pages of non-stop facts and semi-useless information on envelopes, and fits into a category of Deep and Repetitive Obviousness. Chapter Two's "Arousing Interest with Envelopes" competes wildly with Chapter Three "Attracting Attention with Envelopes" and Chapter Four's "Creating Desire with Envelopes". It is completed with eight pages of a glossary of envelope terms.
This last example, Alice Mills' Notes on Reading Aloud, really doesn't belong, because it is mainly on acting; but the title is so lovely I just couldn't resist.
There are many hundreds of pamphlets similar to these that are sleeping their sound oblivious sleep here in the studio--in a way they'd make a beautiful if somewhat perplexing exhibition, though at the end of it all one might think that absolutely nothing at all had happened. The greatest thing about such an exhibition is that most of the stuff that would be included in it are so minor/odd/trivial/proto-uninteresting that few people would ever think of searching for them without already knowing that they existed--that might make an exhibition of value in and of itself.