Pick a Year, Any Year
In the spirit of the season, this blog is going to be short. Thus allowing you (and me) a few more minutes to WRITE, buy gifts, make gifts, do cards, decorate the house, the yard, yourself, bake goodies, wrap gifts and otherwise prepare for the holidays still to come and a Happy Hanukkah to all whose holiday is already a memory.
On my list of regularly consulted research books, is the encyclopedic volume entitled The People’s Chronology by James Trager. The cover announces that inside you will find “A year-by-year record of human events from prehistory to the present.” Personally, I do not have much use for the pre-history section but the years of the Regency are filled with useful information. It is one of the first places I look when I am starting a new book. It gives me a brief (God bless it) overview of what went on that year, what events would have influenced my characters lives, directly, indirectly or in the long run.
Let’s take a look at the year 1817 – of the thirty-nine entries, eighteen of them could have had an impact on the life of the characters in my WIP, from the publication of Rob Roy by Walter Scott to the extension of the Coercion Acts passed by Parliament to “extend the 1798 act against seditious meetings, suspend temporarily the right of habeas corpus … and has the effect of stimulating activity by extremists in the radical movement.”
Trager does seem to favor events in the
Have you noticed that research books fall into several categories: books you treasure, books you read constantly, books you consult occasionally and some you have never opened? I treasure Mrs. Hurst Dancing, have read Life at Burghley more than once, consult the above regularly and have never opened (but will someday) The Complete Angler. What other categories are there? And what makes your list or tresaured, oft read and ignored?