Thursday, October 13, 2011

Lucia’s Ready Reference

To those that missed my great session on research, getting it, organizing it, etc… well, boo. But I understand, there were a Lot of great sessions to go to.

And in the spirit of the writerly sharing that was going on at the JRW Conference, for those that missed the session - and especially for Diann Ducharme…..

Lucia St. Clair Robson

Lucia’s Ready Reference:

Books I keep within arm’s reach:

Webster’s Ninth Collegiate Dictionary (with year of first use).

Rodale’s Synonym Finder

Roget’s Thesaurus of English Words and Phrases

The Oxford Dictionary of Quotations

A 1937 two-volume unabridged Webster’s dictionary

A Spanish dictionary, 1958 edition

A Dictionary of Americanisms

Oxford University Dictionary

Compact Edition of the Oxford English Dictionary (2 volumes)

Books that are close but that I have to roll over to in my desk chair:

Amo, Amas, Amat, and More. (Contains useful Latin phrases)

Latin, German, Italian, Japanese, and French Dictionaries

A Bible, a Bible Concordance, and a Bible dictionary

Eleven more quote books

A two-volume book of British poetry and prose, and a text of English literature

Complete works of Shakespeare (from college days. The two volumes cost $3.00, new, which indicates how not-new I am).

Thesaurus of Anecdotes ** I will add note here that Lucia told me this she found most useful

World Treasury of Proverbs

Greek and Roman Mythology

Ultimate Visual Dictionary

What’s What: A Visual Glossary of the Physical World

An Almanac

My father’s old set of Encyclopedia Brittanica

My aunt’s set of The New Funk and Wagnall’s Encyclopedia (1950 edition)

Reference books I have to walk three steps to reach:

Too many to list, but they include books on humor, flora and fauna, clothing, tools, artifacts, furniture, lighting, currency, architecture, inventions, medicine, old technology, transportation, music, poker and other diversions, guns, horses, the military, etc.

For historical details of the colonial period, I recommend anything by Alice Morse Earle.

For language,

Dictionary of the Vulgar Tongue, (1811 edition),

Shakespeare’s Bawdy by Eric Partridge,

Sut Lovingood by George Harris (a novel written in 19th century dialect… very vivid expressions),


Swearing: a Social History of Foul Language, Oaths and Profanity in English by Geoffrey Hughes.

Shelved above those are books on the current subject, whatever it might be. (Right now I’m on the scout for a Nahuatl dictionary, descriptions of Mexican jails, the effects of dynamite on train tracks, descriptions of old train cars, and examples of Mexican/Zapotec hexes).

The most useful on-line sites I’ve found for buying used and out-of-print books are: (auctions)

I’m sure there are many more, but those are my favorites.

- End of Lucia’s list - but there will be more interesting tid-bits to come. ;)

And since this is my blog I will add a footnote to these, well… because I can. ;) I will put in a buy-local pitch to also check with your local independent booksellers - they are incredibly friendly and knowledgeable lot.

In Richmond we are blessed with:

Fountain Bookstore - has a great new website that needs exploring,

Chop Suey books - that you saw at the Conf.,

Black Swan books that says “We buy and sell fine, unusual and rare books in most fields. We have a diverse stock catering to a variety of interests with particular emphasis in Antiquarian books, Americana, Civil War, History, Scholarly books, Art and Architecture. Additionally, we have an ever-increasing selection of prints, maps, and printed ephemera.”,

and a used book store on Midlothian that I can’t think of the name, and some others that are niggling at the edges of my mind that is still too brain-fried to think clearly anymore.

So Do try those first! If out-of-town, out-of-state, I know at least some of these ship, so send email / call and ask. I will also add a place where I’ve stumbled across out of print books online - Edward R. Hamilton, bookseller. Some I’ve missed by not being quick enough, but I’m often surprised by what I find there while browsing.

Yes, one of these days I will take time to do all the things I'm supposed to - fix this blog, and all that goes with it, change my Twitter from an egg-head, get all the laundry done - again, and oh, yeah, actually do some writing on my books!

And now I have such an urge to go out and search for / find books…. Guess I should rearrange my stacks and bookshelves first. Let me see how many steps…..

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