Saturday, August 20, 2016

Favorite Reference Books

Like most people (I assume), I do a lot of research online. But for some things, I still need (want) a book I can flip through. So, I keep a collection of those on my bookshelf.

Here are some of my favorites.
1. A naming book (I have seven or eight of these, but From Aaron to Zoe is my favorite). I also, yes, rely on the internet and on a personal list I keep in a notebook where I can reference which names I've already used and when/where they were used.

2. A couple of visual dictionaries. These are useful when you know what the whole object is called, but you don't know the individual parts. I recently found a science visual dictionary, but I'm not sure when or if I'll be using that.

3. Several usage manuals. I have more, but The Chicago Manual of Style, The Merriam Webster Dictionary of English Usage and Words into Type are three of my favorites. These are especially helpful when I'm editing and get into one of those head scratching moments when I've forgotten the rule that applies. For the record, I've also occasionally subscribed to The Chicago Manual of Style's online presence (where questions can be asked or where a person can access questions others have asked), but that costs money that must be paid annually, so usually I just rely on the book.

4. The book that is standing up is one I found at an estate sale the other day. It's by Rodale of thesaurus fame, and it's an interesting addition. I can look up a word and find other words that might be used to describe it (such as Honey, described as pure; limpid; thick; flavored; fine; fermented; amber; sweet and nectareous. I doubt I'll be using the word nectareous any time in the foreseeable future, but this is still a useful tool).

I also have books listing flowers, trees, birds, and buildings, among other topics.

What can I say? The internet is great, but sometimes a writer just needs a good book to help her (or him) along.

Have a great day!



Laney4 said...

One of my favourite web sites is I can input letters so it determines one or two words using all those letters (re word find puzzles); I can type a word in with question marks for unknown letters to see what word/s they spell (for crosswords); I can use its thesaurus/dictionary; or I can request rhyming words (for writing poetry).

I too keep a few reference books on hand but use them less and less each year. My Merriam-Webster Dictionary used to be my Bible (but now Googling or Spell Check work much faster. I also have a secretary's manual that helps me with grammar rules. When typing for doctors, my prescription book and medical encyclopedia really come in handy too!

Myrna Mackenzie said...

I'm bookmarking that web site. It sounds interesting. Yes, I still have Webster's Ninth on my shelf, but I seldom use it. When I first started writing, I was writing historicals and it was useful for finding out when a word was first used, but these days I mostly use an online dictionary and thesaurus (I no longer even have a print thesaurus). It is, as you said, much faster. The internet has definitely made it much easier to find facts (and definitions) faster.

Myrna Mackenzie said...

Oops, I spoke too soon. gave me some weird warning, but did the trick. I'm not sure it's the same site, but it looks good.

Laney4 said...

Oops. My apologies.

Myrna Mackenzie said...

That works! (No need to apologize. Think of how many of my typos you've caught over the years, for which I am truly grateful).

Laney4 said...

Wasn't even a typo. I just didn't remember it correctly! Story of my life. (Jeepers; now I sound like One Direction, LOL!)