Great Reference Books to Keep by your Desk

There are certain reference books I would grab quickly if my house was burning! Besides one very good dictionary, the following are my favorites on my bookshelves:
The Synonym Finder J. I. Rodale
Thesaurus of Alternatives to Worn-Out Words and Phrases by Robert Hartwell Fiske
The Persons, Places, and Things Spelling Dictionary by William C. Paxson (I STILL can’t spell the name of our California “governator” . . .)
The Time Life Series (found in most libraries . . . 1900-1910, 1910-1920, etc.)
Any Oxford Dictionary on various any theme is bound to be great.

If these books can’t be found any longer at your neighborhood independent bookstore, I know many of them can be purchased cheaply USED on Amazon or another used bookstore site. (I LOVE to recycle books, and my favorite place to frequent is any good used bookstore.)

What about YOU? What nonfiction helpful book do you frequently turn to during your writing work?

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3 Responses to “Great Reference Books to Keep by your Desk”

  1. Lyttie Poe Says:

    My favorite is my 1961 Book of Knowledge, the best encyclopedia ever. In addition to general facts, every volumne also contained clasic stories, poems, crafts projects, nursery rhymes, fairy tales, and answers to questions like “Why doesn’t a green soap make green lather?” You’d be looking up the principal products of Spain and stumble on a fascinating article on everyday life in Colonial times. Ah, that’s the way to learn!

  2. Susan Taylor Brown Says:

    I love having a thesaurus on my desk. I’m not picky about which one but it has to be within reach. Also a rhyming dictionary. Both of these are available online but there’s something about physically picking up the books and turning the pages that seem to jumpstart things in my brain.

  3. lizbooks Says:

    Yes. My synonym finder is the same way with me. And books have to be all around me, too!

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