Saturday, October 29, 2011

Double Vision

Daniel Pool's What Jane Austen Ate and Charles Dickens Knew is one of my favorite nonfic reference books, as it's written to inform but delivers the facts in a friendly, completely readable fashion. It's not just for writers, either; I think what daily life was really like in 19th century England is universally fascinating.

Today while rearranging some shelves I also discovered that I have two copies of the book (I'm pretty sure the extra was a gift from a friend.) While I'm very tempted to keep the spare -- I know eventually I'll read mine to pieces -- it's exactly the sort of book that begs to be passed along. Which means, you guessed it, a giveaway.

If you'd like a chance to win, in comments to this post name a reference, nonfic or how-to title that you've found particularly helpful (or if you can't think of any, just toss your name in the hat) by midnight EST tonight, October 29, 2011. I will draw one name at random from everyone who participates and send the winner my extra unsigned trade paperback copy of What Jane Austen Ate and Charles Dickens Knew by Daniel Pool, along with a surprise. This giveaway is open to everyone on the planet, even if you've won something here at PBW in the past.

28 comments:

  1. I work in a library and have done some great programs on "The First Ladies"

    I love to use "The First Ladies: From Martha Washington to Mamie Eisenhower, An Intimate Portrait of the Women Who Shaped America" By: Feather Foster

    Great book with some fascinating stories :)

    rachie2004 AT yah00 *d8t* c-m

    ReplyDelete
  2. The year 1000 by Robert Lacey and Danny Danziger. A glimpse into the life of the ordinary people during that period.

    ReplyDelete
  3. Oh, I love that book. And my copies always seem to walk off. I think I've bought it five times now.

    ReplyDelete
  4. Lots of great books that I enjoy reading. For writing, my favorite writing book is "Grammar Snobs are Great Big Meanies!" The title really does match the tone of the book and I love it.

    ReplyDelete
  5. Not in the running because I already have a copy. Just wanted to second this as a fun, useful reference. I got it out of the library then my hubby got me my own copy because I liked it so much.

    ReplyDelete
  6. As soon as I saw your post I knew I'd have to go out and buy the book. But a giveaway is so much better!
    I haven't got a title, except a fiction title I was reading a while back called The Open Air: An Anthology of English Country Life, from around 1940. It was really interesting, as the author/editor had lots of stories from his boyhood of people he knew and things they did.

    ReplyDelete
  7. The one that comes to mind at the moment is a title I ran across in the library recently that I intend to purchase - How to Be a Perfect Stranger: The Essential Religious Etiquette Handbook by Stuart M. Matlins and Arthur Magida.

    The name gave me a misleading impression (I was thinking ugh, Miss Manners), but I picked it up anyway and skimmed it, and was pleasantly surprised to find out that it's informative, readable, and could definitely be used to either familiarize yourself with real-world religions, or adapt for fictional faiths.

    ReplyDelete
  8. I love Lynne Truss' Eats, Shoots & Leaves. Truly the most entertaining book on punctuation I've ever. I recommend it to students all the time, and once, by recommending it to a potential boss in an interview, it helped land me a job. :)

    ReplyDelete
  9. I had to make sure I didn't already have this one. I have Life in the 1800s in this series. It was invaluable when I was working on my two historicals. When I worked on my "virus book" I read The Great Mortality, and The Hot Zone, both books were awesome resources.

    ReplyDelete
  10. I can't think of one off-hand but please throw my name in the hat for this book . . . it sounds very interesting.

    ReplyDelete
  11. My favorite reference book is mainly for writers, but even a non-writer might find it interesting. It's The Complete Guide to Heroes and Heroines by Tami D. Cowden and Caro LaFever. I find especially useful the last half of the book where the authors talk about mixing and evolving character archetypes to create more well rounded characters, as well as how a specific archetype would interact with a different archetype. The first thing I do when I come up with a new character is determine which of the 8 male or 8 female archetypes he/she most closely resembles and it does a lot to help me keep them acting consistently.

    ReplyDelete
  12. Sorry if this is a adouble comment... just throwing my name in the hat.

    ReplyDelete
  13. The book of quotes is one of may favorite reference books which I use frequently. many thanks.

    ReplyDelete
  14. I enjoyed The Art of Eating In very much. A special approach.

    ReplyDelete
  15. Louise DeSalvo's Writing as a Way of Healing is a great primer for those writing their way through trauma. It teaches that the writing process is just as important as the writing itself.

    ReplyDelete
  16. I have Eats, Shoots, & Leaves; The Year 1000; and First Ladies. I don't have What Jane Austen Ate..., Grammar Snobs..., or The Complete Guide to Heroes and Heroines. More books to collect. I'd love to start by winning this one, so please throw my hat into the ring.

    Thanks,
    Marilou

    ReplyDelete
  17. clairecherven10:02 AM

    The Bible! My "how-to" book on a lot of things (except on how to defrost the freezer without throwing out the contents).

    ReplyDelete
  18. I have been wanting that book forever!

    Stephanie Pearl-McPhee's "Knitting Rules" is my most-thumbed reference book.

    ReplyDelete
  19. I'm a chemistry geek, so I loved Napoleon's Buttons and The Disappearing Spoon.

    ReplyDelete
  20. If you like older cultures, check out _Working IX to V_ by Vicki Leon. It's got all sorts of careers from ancient Greece and Rome, all told with a wonderful sense of humor. Highly recommend it.

    ReplyDelete
  21. I used "Celtic Folklore Cooking" by Joanne Asala as a reference for the superstitions and tales of an older Scotland while I participated in my first NaNoWriMo. I liked it too much as I spent too much time searching than writing. And I've yet to cook a recipe from it! (Maybe that'll change soon ...)

    Thanks for the book ideas!

    ReplyDelete
  22. You're probably not going to believe this, but I have all generations of Vampire: the Masquerade's Storyteller's handbooks.

    They are very detailed in how to set mood with setting, keeping story flow going,building memorable NPC's that keep the players involved etc. It was the first edition that made me want to start writing in the first place.

    I reread them once or twice a year to remind myself that the reader participates in the story as an active observer. Then I try to immerse them in the world I'm writing.

    ReplyDelete
  23. Anonymous3:40 PM

    Oxford Shorter Dictionary. Love it for word histories.

    KB

    ReplyDelete
  24. I love Bill Bryson's "A Short History of Nearly Everything."

    ReplyDelete
  25. What strange timing, I was just looking for a copy of this book for some more research before I begin the next WIP which will be Victorian London based.

    ReplyDelete
  26. My favorite "reference" or "how-to "book would probably be A Treasury of Great Recipes by Mary and Vincent Price. It is a great book to read as well as cook from.
    Thanks,
    Jennifer Wofford

    ReplyDelete
  27. My current favorite is Ina May Gaskin's Guide to Childbirth. I've been living in baby land for a few years, and this was a lifesaver through both of my births!

    ReplyDelete
  28. On Writing by Stephen King - I know it's more of a biography, but I just love it.

    Erin

    ReplyDelete