Karen A. Chase’s Reads
While this isn’t my bedside nightstand, it’s my writing table next to my desk in my office which is where I tend to pile the most books. On this table and wall are items I refer to often for my writing. I see it as a mix of items that are more like a snapshot of topics and books I juggle in my head.
For my novel about the Declaration of Independence I have The Battle for New York by Barnett Schecter, 1776 by David McCullough, and Signing Their Lives Away by Denise Kiernan and Joseph D’Agnese. I have the recipe book from Philly’s City Tavern’s Chef Staib to help me with food for the period, and the old inkwell and quills are objects for inspiration – both for the book and writing in general. (Though sometimes I do hand-write letters using the ink pen.) A reminder card about Virginia’s Festival of the Book in March sits in the back against a wall where I’ve pinned up historic maps of Philly, the US, and a copy of the Declaration. The broadside copy came from the Franklin’s print shop in Philly and is a reproduction of the Katherine Goddard version that is part of my book.
I get bored sticking to just one thing, so I recently began working on a book about Woodstock, so Back to the Garden by Peter Fornatale is here along with my admission ticket to the Bethel Music and Arts museum I visited this summer. The VW bus inspires me, and under it are my writing journals. I have these in so many places–my writing room, downstairs, my purse, my car–but I do try to keep one topic to each journal. One of them is what I call my book of book ideas. It’s a place to put epiphanies so I don’t lose ideas for future novels. I also have The Emotional Thesaurus by Angela Ackerman and Becca Puglisi here. It helps me describe character emotions based on how they are manifested physically, internally and externally.
What you don’t see are the library books on my desk and the big shelf of other reference books behind me. I think I have a very real (and healthy) book problem.
Karen A. Chase is the author of Bonjour 40: A Paris Travel Log (40 years. 40 days. 40 seconds.). She is the owner of 224Pages, a design studio specializing in the creation of book materials for authors and publishers. Her weekly blog, Compositions, focuses on writing and creativity in fewer than 250 words.
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