Find your next read in the reference section

This book is simply delightful!
This book is simply delightful!
This book is simply delightful!
This book is simply delightful!

What comes to mind when I say reference books? Usually people say: encyclopedia, dictionary, atlas or almanac. Yes, those are great reference books. However, if that's all that came to your mind, then you probably haven't browsed the reference section of the library recently. It's a great place to find your next interesting read. 

In the reference section, you can find books like:

-The Butler's Guide to Running the Home and Other Graces, which is full of information like: how to properly pack your luggage for vacation, the art of napkin folding and how to entertain royalty. Now, I know nobody reading this is expecting William and Kate for dinner, but if you like Downton Abbey, Jane Austen, or anything BBC you will love this book.

-The New York Times Practical Guide to Practically Everything estimates the average cost of raising a child from birth to age 18 is approximately $217,000 (yikes!). This practical guide also knows that the proper temperature to store wine at is 40-65 F, depending on the individual characteristics of the wine. Should you desire to switch careers, the top three choices are nonprofits, nursing and teaching. Oh, and did I mention that this book also has a section to help you obtain and read your F.B.I. file should you suspect you have one?

-Encyclopedia of the Exquisite, An Anecdotal History of Elegant Delights: What an awesome name for a book! I checked this book out before I even cracked open the cover because of the title alone. I enjoyed reading about a pillowbook, defined as a diary, or book of musings, kept under the pillow. After reading this entry, I am now interested reading The Pillowbook of Sei Shonagon mentioned for her prickling wit and creative list making. The entry for "shabby chic" (unassuming stylishness with a disheveled edge) I found particularly delightful: Back in 1772, Denis Diderot (1713-1784) bemoaned, with bohemian pride, the loss of his favorite, battered garment.... "Why on earth did I ever part with it?" he crowed. "It was used to me and I was used to it." While the old dressing gown was agreeably covered in ink statins, the new one was anonymous. Worse, Diderot realized that the new dressing gown suddenly made the rest of his apartment look tired. My favorite entry, though, was "Xenia; Ancient Greek hospitality," which states: Welcome any stranger, especially a foreigner, as an honored guest, and treat him to a good meal without even asking his name until after he has finished eating.

-Tales of the Weird is a collection of unbelievable true stories, such as "Astronauts' Fingernails Falling Off." Apparently, the number-one health problem for space walkers is fingernail trauma and other hand injuries as a result of space suit gloves being unable to stimulate hands properly. Some space walkers have taken to having their fingernails removed prior to their space journey!

-Loch Ness Monsters and Raining Frogs, The World's Most Puzzling Mysteries Solved will answer those burning questions like: Who killed Marilyn Monroe? What was Agatha Christie's own mystery? And where is the Mona Lisa? More than 30 mysteries are solved in short, bite-sized chapters. 

-The Visual Miscellaneum, A Colorful Guide to the World's Most Consequential Data - If you love graphics, you'll love this book! The Visual Miscellaneum is full of interesting facts displayed and arrayed in pictographs rather than paragraphs.

Next time you're ready for an interesting, out-of-the-ordinary read, try browsing the reference section.


Great list Justina! The Visual Miscellaneum and The New York Times Practical Guide to Practically Everything are now on my to-read list. Have you read The History of the World in 100 Objects? That's one of my favorites of this type of book.

Hi Kristen, No, I have not read The History of the World in 100 Objects but I will certainly look into it. I'm still holding on to the Encyclopedia of the Exquisite, I just can't seem to let go of it yet :)

Hi Justina, I love this list and have always enjoyed reading reference books. Two of my current favorites are Learn Something New Everyday: 356 Facts to Fulfill Your Life and the Intellectual Devotional Series. So fun to read about your favorites in this list!!

Beth Ann, I would love to learn something new everyday - how fun! I will look into that book too!