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Sunday, July 20, 2008

Writing Tip: In Search of Rare Books for Research

I found a copy of a rare book from the nineteenth century that provides much needed research about the little details for my current WIP. Can you say HAPPY?

I'm a facts type of gal.  Even though my historical WIP is fiction, I still want it to be as accurate as possible.  Otherwise, why go to all this effort to write about a different time period if the reader can't be right there, along with my characters?  

I've been doing most of my research on the web, since I haven't found much in my public library system.  And almost every site I researched, referenced this one particular book, which is apparently a collector's item. Harvard University, which is close by, has a phenomenal library perfect for my subject matter, but sometimes it's nice to be able to reference something at your own leisure.  Plus, after reading Chris Barton's post, I didn't want to spend $50.  I need to buy gas and I have three kids I need to send to college one of these days.  Ha!  As if it would make a difference...oh, well.  Every little bit helps.  But, I digress.

Enter Amazon.com.  Imagine my shock when I discovered Amazon.com had this rare book and I didn't have to pay a fortune.  They sell books published by Kessinger Publishing's Legacy Reprints, which offers "thousands of scarce and hard-to-find books."  

Kessinger Publishing has a printing statement in the beginning of the book:
"Due to the very old age and scarcity of this book, many of the pages may be hard to read due to the blurring of the original text, possible missing pages, missing text, dark backgrounds and other issues beyond our control.

Because this is such an important and rare work, we believe it best to reproduce this book regardless of its original condition."

I'm flipping through the book I just received, and this is definitely a photocopy of the book. Many of the pages are dark, though very readable. And I've already discovered some missing pages--I'm only hoping the pages I really need are here.

In any event, I can't wait to use this to tie up some loose ends in my manuscript.  I'm off to read now!

4 comments:

Christine M said...

How great that you found a book that will help with your research! Congrats on the great find!

PJ Hoover said...

Not only is finding stuff like this useful, it's also fun!
Hope all the pages you need are there :)

Jim D said...

Very cool find.

Hope your WIP is moving along well!

Jim D

Sarah Rettger said...

I'm also a big fan of Google Books for thoroughly obscure things like a history of Boston written in the 1800s (and obviously well past copyright).