Confessions of a Reference Book Junkie: Odd Books Build an Inspiring Library

Saturday, October 30, 2010

When I was a little girl my brother would tease me by saying I should read the dictionary–to be as smart as him. I would scoff and return to whatever it was I was doing. Who knew I would actually end up a reference book junkie, the compulsion for books only exceeded by my pen fetish? Charity book sales, used book stores, The 99 Cent Store, garage sales… I am compelled.

Among my more odd specimens are old medical dictionaries and legal manuals; mythology, psychology, geomythology and quantum theory; studies on the Quabalah, a library of Wiccan and Druidic knowledge and several books on Buddhism. I must say though, that my favorite references are The Old Farmers Almanac and Pocket Ref by Thomas J. Glover.

More than just places to find an answer, these pages entice a question and spur my imagination. In the Farmers Almanac I can hear people in the fields discussing the best phase of the moon for planting their next crop. I can learn how to predict the weather or find delicious tidbits of folklore and trivia. Thomas’ Pocket Ref offers a primer on knots and their uses; Morse code and Braille alphabets; a perpetual calendar; every type of conversion table you could ask for and a chili pepper hotness scale. Actually, the amount of information in the Pocket Ref is mind-boggling; it is by far the most fun I have had for five dollars.

Sure, you can find just about any information you need on the Internet, but a book can answer the questions you don’t know you have.

What’s in your bookcase? Are you an information junkie? Has an encyclopedia or other reference book ever spurred a project? What are some of your favorite reference materials? Let us know!
by Robyn Chausse


Angelica R. Jackson said...

We are book junkies in general, but at least half of our books are nonfiction/reference. We have big sections on fairy/folktales (I used to be a professional storyteller), maritime history, ancient history, eastern philosophies, and natural history (heavy on the birds, since my husband is an avid birder).

Robyn Chausse said...

Hi Angelica,
Historical reference books are fun, even recent history. As society changes it is important to know where your character is "coming from" --especially in regards to the female characters.
Thanks for sharing with us!

Angela Artemis said...

I most certainly am information junkie! I read mostly non-fiction and cannot seem to part with my books. Each time I move I try to scale down and get rid of books and many times I end up re-buying some of the ones I get rid of! My reference books are on writing, spirituality, astrology and tarot.

Robyn Chausse said...

Hi Angela,
I have mostly non-fiction as well. I can't seem to part with them either, even the ones I don't use, because I know that some day I'll be saying, "Where is that book on..."
You mentioned spirituality and tarot. Along those lines, two of my favorite books on my shelf are Wise Women by Susan Cahill and Numerology and The Divine Triangle by Faith Javane and Dusty Bunker. If you like the tarot you might enjoy numerology. This particular book is rather detailed as it is based on the Pythagorean theorem.
Thanks for sharing!

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