Friday Five: Library Finds

Believe me, it’s seriously easy to feel like you’re going overboard on the research part of writing a historical novel. On the other hand, it can sometimes take reading (or at least skimming) through several books to get a true sense of the time you’re writing in or to find a single answer to a question that truly impacts your hero’s path. So this morning, I drove back down to the Dr. Martin Luther King branch of the San Jose library and roamed the shelves again. As I headed over to the self-checkout line with my heavy totebag of books, I thought I’d better check if I had too many books. (Yes, I should have thought of this BEFORE I started looking, thank you very much.)

Me: Is there a limit to how many books I can check out?

Librarian: Yes. 100.


So, today, a few of the (hopefully) treasures I brought home:

1. The Positive Image: Women Photographers in Turn of the Century America, by C. Jane Gover

2. Avenues to Adulthood: The Origins of the High School and Social Mobility in an American Suburb, by Reed Ueda

3. The Souls of the Skyscraper: Female Clerical Workers in Chicago, 1879-1930, by Lisa M. Fine

4. Secondary Schools at the Turn of the Century, by Theodore R. Sizer

5. Lines of Activity: Performance, Historiography, Hull-House Domesticity, by Shannon Jackson

Honestly, part of me is saying, “Whee!” and part of me is saying, “Oh, dear.”

Oh, well. Here’s to knowledge!


  1. Time for adventure! Yes, it can be daunting! But you have some great titles there.


    • beckylevine says:

      I do. I totally rejected the books on my list that looked like pages of statistics with no people! These looked like there would at least be an interesting chapter or so in each.


  2. Jenn Hubbard says:

    I love that 100-book limit. I wonder if they’ve ever actually had to enforce it?


    • beckylevine says:

      I admit, I had fantasies of taking a dolly into the kids/YA department & just going crazy. 🙂


  3. Dawn Simon says:

    The books you chose sound interesting. I think you’re right about having to read (or skim) a few books on a particular time period to get a sense of it. I hope at least a couple of the books you selected are information gold mines, those books that have oodles of authenticating details and answers to what you’re wondering about. Good luck!


    • beckylevine says:

      Thanks, Dawn. I think one thing that happens, for me anyway, is that reading a bit more than one source on something makes me feel a bit more solid in my knowledge! 🙂


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