I was looking around the blogosphere this morning and saw a blog post by one of my favorite historical fiction authors Elizabeth Chadwick, with a huge list of her mountain of research books.
Go check it out here.
So I decided to take a few pictures of my molehill of research books, which I’ve acquired for a variety of past projects and/or just out of curiosity and exploration of an era.
(Which is to say, I’ll get back to the Victorian era when I damn well feel like it).
I used to have Tudors boooks (I’m down to two, which are biographies of Henry VIII and Elizabeth I), but when I finally acknowledged that a) Tudor-land is oversaturated and b) I wasn’t actually going to write that story of the monastery being tore apart during the English Reformation, not knowing anything about Catholicism, Anglicanism, or monasteries beyond what Ken Follet’s books taught me, those books were sold on Amazon.
I expect some of these will get rotated out as well, at some point.
If you haven’t read Bury the Chains, by the way, it’s wonderfully written and not at all dry. It’s about the British abolition movement.
And Asians in Britain was fascinating, super detailed, and I can’t wait to weave in what I learned in it into a few of my nineteenth-century set stories at some point.
The blue book is called Jane Austen: The World of Her Stories. Really great things in there about Jane Austen’s era, from the late eighteenth to early nineteenth centuries, and it covers the Regency period and what was going on in the world and how they reflect and come up in Jane Austen’s novels.
Staying Power is about the history of black people in Britain.
The top two here are when I realized I knew nothing about sailors and specfically, the shipping trade in Bristol in the eighteenth century. Turns out I didn’t need to know all that much to write Pearl, but they came in relatively useful.
Bluestockings is about the first British women to get a university education in the late nineteenth into the twentieth century. I got a few funny anecdotes from it, but it was very focused on Cambridge and Oxford, even though other universities were admitting women as full students much earlier.
The little books are Daily Life in a Victorian House and Colonial Wiliamsburg, which I bought at age eleven in Williamsburg, and tried to use to write an American Girl-style Revolution story. It didn’t work out.
And yes, the bottom three are American Girl Collection books. Children’s books are awesome for research because they often have maps and pictures.
These are the print books I have; there were others I read on Kindle for research, but print books are the best for research books, guys. It’s harder to highlight, underline, flag, or flip back and forth in an electronic book.
One of my plot bunny ideas is a contemporary idea, where the research will be more like “research.” I’m so looking forward to that.