A look at my bookshelf

Sometimes people ask me which books I use for my work. I figure everyone knows by now that I’m a Chicago Manual of Style 16th edition kinda gal when it comes to style, but what about other books?

I love my Encarta World English Dictionary, but honestly I don’t use it for my work. For that, I rely on the online Merriam-Webster entries. My reasoning is pretty simple. M-W is an established name in the reference world. Additionally, CMoS recommends M-W’s Collegiate Dictionary first, followed by Webster’s New World, American Heritage, Oxford University Press, and Random House. Encarta doesn’t have the same reputation (yet, anyway), despite it being the database used in MS Word. (Yep. When you click on the dictionary function within Word, you get Encarta entries.) For just browsing a hardcover dictionary, though, I adore my Encarta. (I do that. What? Why are you looking at me that way?)

I also have copies on my shelves of the New Oxford Style Manual (for UK usage), the Merriam-Webster Dictionary of English Usage, the Oxford Companion to the English Language, Chambers Dictionary of Etymology, and the Cambridge Dictionary of American Idioms. Oh, and I also have that 2012 edition of the AP style manual for the day job. My copy of the MLA style guide is one edition behind, and I’ve never had cause to use it, but I keep it around anyway. One never knows when one might need it. If I end up editing something that requires the current version, I can get help at the Purdue OWL site.

Here’s a photo for you to peruse at your leisure. I like having my reference books within arm’s reach; this sits on top of my desk, to my left. Usually there’s a cat blocking the bottom shelf.

All of this is within arm's reach, just to the left of my workspace.
All of this is within arm’s reach, just to the left of my workspace.

11 thoughts on “A look at my bookshelf

  1. I solemnly swear that I am up to no good. I also solemnly swear that I am NOT human.

    You asked us to leave comments for troubleshooting purposes.


  2. I have such reference envy seeing this bookshelf. I have had many of these in a prior life but finances and a long developed aversion to accumulating stuff keeps me without. Sadness. Now, lets see if I can post this comment.


  3. Heh. Volo gets EVERYWHERE. Nice shelf, Karen (you will note the careful word choice there). I own every one of these, though a family member borrowed my one-volume Oxford Shorter and I know I’ll never see it again (I use Pocket for spell checks and one of the two (different) big magillas for fun browsing: find words to put into my novels so editors have something to pounce on and take back out again. ;}
    And I see that your cat is much better at going invisible than mine.
    Big hugs, Great Lady.


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