My book shelf —

6 Jul

One reason I chose the theme for this blog is that the shelf of books reminds me of my desk, where my computer lives. We’re surrounded by bookshelves crammed with books! They’re my security blanket. Really!

The ease of doing research on the web has changed nearly everything. The way we search, the things we search for, the things we find that we didn’t search for – the list is endless.

But what happens when your ISP has a failure? It may last only minutes – but they seem like hours to an impatient writer. So what do you do then? Go for a walk around the block? Re-read what you wrote yesterday? Throw the computer across the room? Probably not too productive – that latter solution. Expensive, too! So when you absolutely have to know something now, what do you do?

If it’s during daytime hours, you can call your local library. Believe me, they’ll be only too happy to answer your questions for you. No matter how esoteric – librarians love questions!

Another solution is to turn to your own library of books for help. What? You don’t have your own library? And you call yourself a writer? Good grief!

I live in an apartment, surrounded by books – and in the last three or four years, I’ve nearly cut my stash in half! I still have too many, but I don’t know what to eliminate, so I just keep them around me. They’re my wealth. Truly, they’re probably not worth all that much, but just having them around me makes me feel rich. All that knowledge—right there at my very own fingertips whenever I want it! Wow!

My interests are varied (the understatement of the century, to be sure) so I have categories of books. My very best friend is my Webster’s Tenth Edition Collegiate Dictionary. If I can’t find the word I want in its 1559 pages, chances are excellent that I really don’t need to know it, anyway. I also have a smaller Webster’s Compact (trade-paper size) more portable dictionary that usually lives beside its bigger brother on the shelf. Plus, I have a French and two German dictionaries, and a nearly ancient mini-rhyming version. And a Thesaurus, of course!

In recent years, I’ve been writing about classical music a lot! So I have a fair amount of music reference books—about the music, the composers, and a few artist biographies. But even so, they’re in the minority. Probably half of the books that live around my computer are historical reference works. They are loosely in three particular eras: Plantagenent/Tudor England (roughly 1400-1600); the Regency (1800-1820) which of course, includes the Prince Regent, the Napoleonic Wars and Wellington, in addition to the Jane Austen books, and other related things. I have several books about the British Monarchy.

My favorite book on the Regency era, however, is by Will and Ariel Durant (the famed historians): The Age of Napoleon. Why I so love this book is that they investigate every country that was thriving at the time, and discuss the military, religious, political and social history aspects of each. Beethoven was an important figure in that era, so even though he was a musician, he’s featured rather prominently. As are other composers, too, of course. I also have the Wellington books by Lady Longford.

My third period of interest is the Great Lakes area during the 1800-1900s. So much happened in these states, politically as well as socially, I find it fascinating reading. Which is why my own first two books were set there. I’m hoping to have the third and final one out next year. (If I don’t get too far sidetracked, too many times, that is!) To go along with all these books, other topics are architecture, fashion, auto racing and there are even a few on women’s history. And photography. And various crafts — knitting, sewing, painting. Travel guidebooks. Not to mention fiction of all kinds.

Of course, I have a bunch of computer books, too. Many of these are near-antiques, I’ve had them so long. (My first computer dates to January, 1988!) My problem is that I just hate to throw out a book. It hurts, and I just can’t bring myself to do it!

I’m never at a loss for something to do – as long as I have a book nearby. How about you?

If you have questions or comments, please write to me at: bookmechanic@gmail.com
Please do feel free to pass this along to anyone you know who might be interested? Thanks!

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2 Responses to “My book shelf —”

  1. gloria hanson July 7, 2010 at 12:53 am #

    “The Timetables of History” is a good source of historical events. g

  2. Charles July 7, 2010 at 1:17 am #

    The greatest teacher, teaches by example. You’re the “greatest.”
    Thanks,
    Charles

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