March 26th, 2011

What is YOUR One Essential Reference?

 It’s Saturday, so we won’t get too cerebral today, but this is a question I have been pondering for the last couple of days. If you were moving across the country in a covered wagon (this is an exercise I have played with since childhood when I was fascinated with Little House on the Prairie) and space was extremely limited — and there were not any Kindles, Nooks, etc. to make the question irrelevant — what is the ONE reference book that you could not live without?

Would it be 20 Master Plots and How to Build Them? Or perhaps Historic Costume for the Stage by Lucy Barton? One of my favorites to turn to is A Glossary of the Construction, Decoration and Use of Arms and Armor: in All Countries and in All Times, though it is only a starting point for detail.

Would you carry a dictionary? A thesaurus? (or get tricksy and find a copy of Reader’s Digest Oxford Complete Wordfinder: A Unique and Powerful Combination of Dictionary and Thesaurus so you would have both?)

When I look at my bookshelves, and see the myriad references on everything from herbs to shipbuilding, I am really glad that I don’t have to make this decision in real life. And that the Kindle has offerings like What Shall We Do Now?: Five Hundred Games and Pastimes for free if you look hard enough. Great for adding a bit of spice to the plot (or unexpected baby-sitting.)

So, what is YOUR one essential reference you would carry across country?