Monday, October 04, 2010

On the Bookshelf: What's on Your Kindle?

It's no surprise that I love reading.  I read quite a bit and I buy hardcover and paperback books as well as e-books.  I love my Kindle, it allows me to take a collection of books with me to peruse wherever I go.  The great things about these different e-reader systems, is that you can use the software on your computer, iPod/iPad and smartphone for free.

I typically read non-fiction books. As I read, mostly books with a historical slant, I am checking out the footnotes and bibliography to see what other books/articles about the topic might be of interest to me.  I am also searching the book for research methodologies and sources the author has used. Often times, history researchers, journalists, and other genealogists, may use a different source or conduct their research in a way that I think might be helpful to genealogists.  I use these observations when I give presentations and I write articles.

So what's on my Kindle?  Lots of books!  But some are those that I think could be helpful to genealogists as they think about researching an ancestor or writing a family history narrative. Although I have these books on my Kindle, you don't have to purchase them in e-book format.

From Hardtack to Homefries by Barbara Haber.  I've written about this book before.  It's a great study of cookbooks and foods during different time periods.  Some of the time periods/topics covered are the FDR White House, WWII Japanese Interment Camps in the Philippines, African American Cookbooks and more. You can read more about this book and the author at her website.

The Lost Ravioli Recipe by Laura Schenone is an interesting look at a woman who is trying to regain some of her family history by learning about their ravioli recipe and how it has changed as the family immigrated and came to America.  Her search includes interviews, travels and more. Very interesting how she takes one small part of her family history and vows to learn more. You can read more about this author and her books at her website.

How to Do Everything Genealogy by George G. Morgan.  I actually have the book version and the e-book version of this book, both editions.  I love this book by George, I firmly believe if you buy one genealogy book, this is the one.


It is no surprise to anyone who knows me that one of my favorite books is Annie's Ghosts by Steve Luxenberg.  This book written by a journalist is one of the best treatments of what can happen with good genealogical research.  It's the story of a man who knew nothing about an aunt who was his mother's "secret" and researched her until he pieced together her story.  His quest includes interviews with over 120 people.  When's the last time you interviewed people, aside from family, to get to the bottom of your genealogy?  He interviewed neighbors, school friends, physicians, and other experts.  What a great example of a different way to research your genealogy.  Learn more about this book at Steve's website.

Jeannette Walls is known for her book The Glass Castle, the story of her life growing up with a family that is less than ideal.  But her second book, Half Broke Horses answers the question, "why in the world did her mother allow this to happen?"  This is the story of her maternal grandmother and the life she lived and how her experiences shaped Jeannette's mother.  This book is a fictionalized account of that grandmother's life and while I wished she had done more genealogy on her grandmother, she does consult two family history books and use interviews with her mother. This book is a good example how a genealogist could take some information and write  their genealogy as a fictional account. You can read more about this book on Amazon.

The last book I will list, is one by my friend Ron Arons, The Jews of Sing Sing.  This book is an interesting look at one group of prisoners locked up in the famous Sing Sing prison.  Ron's research no doubt lead him to write his follow-up book, Wanted! U.S. Criminal Records.One of the interesting discussions in Ron's book is about bigamy and the prevalence of it.  I have believed for some time from my own research that bigamy happened more often than we know.  I have researched people who in the early19th century stereotypically left the house to get a loaf of bread and never came back.  However, they were really in the next county with a new wife and family.  An interesting topic for further research.

So what's on your Kindle?  

1 comment:

Lori said...

Oh, I am so jealous! Someday, I vow to have a Kindle as well. It will never take the place of books that I can hold in my hand, but it will be wonderful to be able to carry them ALL with me wherever I go!