Guest blogger Jason Sanford often rants on his website at www.jasonsanford.com. His fiction has been published in Interzone, Year’s Best SF 14, Analog, Intergalactic Medicine Show, Pindeldyboz, and other places, and has won the 2008 Interzone Readers’ Poll and a Minnesota State Arts Board Fellowship.
So you dare call yourself a writer! If that’s the case, here’s my question: What reference books sit on your desk?
And yes, we know all about that amazing resource called the internet. And yes, we all use Wikipedia as a quick learning tool (even if we don’t admit it). And yes, if we have to quickly look up the spelling of a word, we Google it.
But what reference materials are so vital to your writing that they sit in bound form on your desk?
For me, these vital reference books are:
- The Chicago Manual of Style, 15th Edition
- The Merriam Webster’s Collegiate Dictionary
- The Oxford American Writer’s Thesaurus
- The Merriam Webster Dictionary of English Usage
Unfortunately, my Dictionary of English Usage is getting a bit old, so my Christmas wish (to be fulfilled by Santa in the form of my ever-loving wife) was to request a copy of the brand new Garner’s Modern American Usage. I’ve heard great things about this book and can’t wait to receive it.
For good measure, I also requested a copy of two books by Theodore M. Bernstein which I’ve previously read but no longer have: The Careful Writer and Miss Thistlebottom’s Hobgoblins: The Careful Writer’s Guide to the Taboos, Bugbears, and Outmoded Rules of English Usage. All of these new books already have a space waiting for them on my desk.
Otherwise, my desk has a few religious texts and concordances (mainly Christian and Buddhist), along with the newest book in my reference library: Booklife by Jeff VanderMeer. I know, I know. That seems like a bit of a suck up considering this is Jeff’s blog, but the book is still there so I must be honest. Beside, Booklife is a great resource for writers, as I mentioned in my review a while back.
That’s what’s on my desk, or will be shortly. What reference materials are on your desk?