Make no mistake - I think Google is wonderful. Want to check something out quickly? Then do a quick search and you have the answer. Never fails to amaze me, the knowledge that is now available to all and available in a nano second as well.
But as Ratty realised in Wind in the Willows that there was 'nothing, absolutely nothing half so much worth doing as simply messing about in boats' and there is nothing better than messing around with reference books. Unlike Google however, reference books are addictive and once you open one and check out the piece of information you are looking for, your eye will fall on something else and then something else and so it goes.
I have a shelf in which repose my reference books and it transpires that they are all from Oxford University Press. Do check out their extensive list. Some of these I have had for a while, the Shorter Oxford Dictionary I purchased a few years ago when I was doing an Open University course and realised I really needed a new one, and I had a copy of the Oxford Companion to English Literature for many years, ditto the Dictionary of Quotations. Thanks to the generosity of OUP to this book blogger, I now have new copies of these plus other books they have sent me in the past.
A simply marvelous book Who married Figaro? As an opera buff, but one who does not pretend to know all the answers, this is sheer delight full of the most interesting facts and nuggets of information.
Then the Oxford Companion to the American Musical. Oh, how I love musicals. The Proms now feature John Wilson and his orchestra each year featuring music from this genre so they obviously love them to and as they are always sold out in about fifteen minutes (as I have discovered to my cost) the audience for these is now guaranteed.
And now I have the simply glorious edition of the Oxford Companion to Children's Literature, brand new, edited by Daniel Hahn and with a foreword by Michael Morpurgo.
Oh it is gorgeous and oh it is totally time consuming as I spent the other day just checking all my favourite authors, Philippa Pearce, Rosemary Sutcliffe, Barbara Leonie Picard, Enid Blyton, Kenneth Grahame, Lorna Hill (remember Lorna Hill? I so longed to be a ballerina) Noel Streatfield and on and on and on.
There are also some fascinating authors I have never heard of, Maria Gripe who is a Swedish author born in 1923; Carol Kendall an American author, creator of the Minnipins, a peaceful race of small people; Cecilia Gibbs, an Australian author who wrote a number of stories about 'gumnut babies' the most well known rejoicing in the title of Snuggleppot and Cuddlepie. You can spend hours flicking through and coming up with marvelous bits of information.
Production values are high, as they always are with OUP, lovely strokeable paper which will last and last and beautifully and clearly set out. This book is sheer delight and alongside all my other books these are books I will treasure and always keep.
Thank you OUP - I love you....