My work study increased in size from a large single bedroom of our former home, to a decent sized double bedroom in our new place. There was a small downstairs study off the kitchen, but we've converted it into a pantry and laundry room. I prefer being tucked away!
I've been managing with my research books in several different places including the built in wardrobes in the bedroom which have good shelving, but a couple of weeks ago we bought some book cases to replace the old extra desk and haphazard shelving behind my main desk.
Some time ago I began a reference book blog to catalogue my titles. When I became busy with my day job, that aspect fell by the wayside and I am gradually catching up. If anyone wants to see my research library as far as I've written up, then here it is. Elizabeth Chadwick's Reference Books
If I could only take 10 of my research books to a desert island for a year, which ten would I choose? I thought I'd post them here:
Outside of the 10, it goes without saying that I would HAVE to bring my copies of the History of William Marshal in translation volumes 1 and 2. Edited and translated by A J Holden and S. Gregory wih historical notes by David Crouch and published by the Anglo Norman Text Society. They just have plain red board covers and wouldn't be very exciting to look at, but the content would keep me busy all year with ideas and first hand information about the life of a knight and courtier about his business in the late 12th century.
Now for the rest.
Not in any special order.
If you're only going to have one book about the Norman and Angevin period in England, it has to be this one. It covers absolutely everything you ever wanted to know. Robert Bartlett is a genius.
The next one is a fascinating read covering medieval trade. The routes, the products, the money exchanges. Who would have thought that merchants brought back superior quality olive oil soap from Spain - from Castile to be precise!
Book 3 is far more than just a cookery book. It details how ovens were constructed, what fuels were used and how the whole dining system in a medieval castle worked. So for example, the main meal tended to be eaten earlier in the day because cooking in the dark/dim lighting was something of a hazard.
Book 5 explores the often forgotten and obscure folklore of the Medieval period and is one of the most bizarre and fascinating books I have ever read. Who would have thought that shortbread biscuit moulds existed featuring the dildo seller? And what about the winged phallus lower right of the jacket?
Number 6 I wouldn't be without on my desert island. Essential reading for what daily life would have been like in the 12th century based on the observational writings of Alexander Nequam, whose mother was Richard the Lionheart's Wet Nurse.
Next up, number 7 would be this one - mainly because although I've read it once, I need to read it again. I was fascinated to discover that all monkeys were called Robert in the Middle Ages - a fact I used to write a scene in The Winter Crown.
Number 8. I have to have something from Chronicler Gerald of Wales, if only because to paraphrase 'one should always have something sensational to read on the train' Gerald was never afraid of making things up if it improved the story!
Number 9 is the best ever book on Eleanor of Aquitaine. It may not look like anything from the cover but trust me it's wonderful. It's like tough stain remover on all the detritus that's been heaped on her down the centuries and that includes a large pile contributed by some modern biographers.
Last but not least, and remember this is only 10 favourite books not in order and could be replaced by 10 others completely different, The Survey of Medieval Winchester, which goes into all sorts of social detail about such items as waste disposal in the butchery process, and all the different occupations and what rules and regulations governed them in daily life. It also shows plans for the layout of a house owned by John FitzGilbert Marshal, hero of A PLACE BEYOND COURAGE. This one's huge and on the big book shelf.
I have more books waiting to be sorted in my built in wardrobe book space, and I keep books for immediate use handy above my writing desk - held secure by a pair of kitsch but in subject keeping bookends! Would probably have to hide them if we ever moved house again and had to show people round, but I think they're fun!
Elizabeth Chadwick's award winning novels are all set in the Middle Ages. She has just handed in the third book of her trilogy about Eleanor of Aquitaine - THE AUTUMN THRONE and isabout to begin work on her next project.