Friday, September 4, 2009

Did I do my research?

When I posted some pictures of my books on a website recently, someone immediately asked whether I'd done any research. I guess it's a pretty valid question —it’s a bit much to expect people just to trust me when I'm only self-published. But it would take forever to list all the books I've used.

Remembering that ten's a really good Biblical number, I decided to make a list of the ten most readily available and pleasantly readable books that I've used. That way I can remember them, and maybe you might enjoy them too. Meanwhile, if you want to see what I made of my research, you can find my Bible books at http://stores.lulu.com/sdeeth. If you click on one you can even preview the first ten pages.

My top ten books for researching Bible stories:

1. Various translations of the Bible, including deuterocanonical and apocryphal books, the Jewish Study Bible Tanakh Translation—invaluable for its insights into culture and interpretation—and a Chronological Study Bible, which makes it much easier to follow the threads of history.
2. Who wrote the Bible by Richard Elliott Friedman, which ties together questions and answers about different versions of the same stories, different emphases and purposes, and the way that the writings of different people and times were collected together.
3. A River out of Eden by Richard Dawkins: While I don’t agree with his religious assumptions, I really appreciated his scientific and mathematical analysis of where and how human beings first lived, and how we might study our ancestry through genes and mutations.
4. Noah’s Flood by William Ryan and Walter Pitman, which describes the research that went into suggesting the Black Sea Valley during global warming as the source of the world’s, and the Bible’s flood stories.
5. The Miracles of Exodus by Colin Humphreys, which ties the Exodus stories to real-world history, geography and geology with incredibly detailed and convincing research.
6. Blood on the Mountain by Richard Andrews, which gives a fascinating picture of the various cultures and religions who trace their roots to the Bible.
7. Abraham by Bruce Feiler for similar reasons, more immediately topical.
8. The Stones Cry Out by Randall Price, which introduced me to the archeological evidence for many Bible stories and their interpretations.
9. Battles of the Bible by Chaim Herzog and Mordechai Gichon, which brought the military issues of Bible times to vivid life.
10. The Illustrated Timeline of Religion by Laura S. Smith, which puts the Bible into a clear historical and cultural context.

7 comments:

Helen Ginger said...

Do you have all these in your personal library - or use a physical library or do online research? It's quite a collection.

Helen
Straight From Hel

Jack W. Regan said...

I'm wondering the same thing as Helen. And now I'm curious about your writings, too.

I generally don't like doing research. I need to get rich so I can hire it out. Or maybe just dig up some dirt on someone else and blackmail them for free labor. :0)

Kathryn Magendie said...

ugh! hate research! ...but, I do some to make sure I have things correct; luckily, my fiction doesn't require much research... *smiling*

Sun Singer said...

I find it interesting to see what books other writers like as well as where they've gone for researching their own books.

Thanks for sharing.

Malcolm

Helen Ginger said...

I'm actually beginning to like research. The trick is to know when to quit, though.

Helen
Straight From Hel

Sheila Deeth said...

I always admire people who write historical fiction. I'm not sure I could cope with that kind of research - I'm not sure I'd ever think my fiction was worth the effort. But I love reading about the Bible, science and history, and mathematics too. It's fun trying to imagine how other people that I really care about lived and thought.

ptbertram said...

I used to like research, only I called it "reading." Most of my books came from the research, not the other way around. I learned a lot, and somehow stories got wrapped around what I learned.