Leisure Team Productions (2004), $19.95
Layoffs were epidemic in this town for a while. Not that the situation's all better now, but round about early 2002, it was ridiculous. Still, anyone who thinks no good came of the dot-bomb should take a look at this funny yet hardheaded book, the brainchild of two laid-off tech workers. With impressively researched lists detailing cheap happy hours, free art, and ways to stop feeling guilty about taking a giant loan from Mom and Dad, this exhaustive tome eloquently preaches the love of leisure and the importance of wise financial planning. Editors Dean LaTourette and Kristine Enea offer enticing suggestions for what to do with your extended free time: Be a movie extra, usher for Cal Performances, or take the Anchor Steam Brewery tour (every Friday). They also recommend that you walk around the city, poke your nose in anywhere you're allowed (parks, libraries, the courts, smut shops), and generally enjoy yourself. The trick, they say, is just to hang in there and avoid getting any further into debt -- you'll probably be working again before you know it. This last part is the guide's only weakness: To readers who are not young, college-educated, and served by a familial safety net, Time Off!'s tone may seem flippant. Even so, its many practical resources are a help to anyone, and even luckless types should find a giggle.