The Gift of Fear, Gavin de Becker, which I am reading first because it was on top.
Inside the Victorian Home: A Portrait of Domestic Life in Victorian England, Judith Flanders, which was actually a birthday present and I've already finished reading, but it is SO DEEPLY AWESOME that I will discuss it at length some other time.
A Nervous Splendor: Vienna 1888-1889, Frederic Morton, which I am INSANELY excited about because Black Ribbon actually takes place in 1889, and there's some character back story that happened in Vienna in 1888. This book may have actually been written by the fates for me, I'm not sure.
London Labour and the London Poor, Henry Mayhew: I forget who recommended this to me, but it must have been someone fairly reliable, or I'm not sure I would have known to choose this from all the millions of Victorian studies books out there.
The London Underworld in the Victorian Period: Authentic First-Person Accounts by Beggars, Thieves and Prostitutes, Henry Mayhew: You know you're a nerd when your reaction to this is, "And they're FIRST-PERSON accounts, too! YAY!"
The Victorian Underworld, Donald Thomas: You may be noticing a theme here--turns out that the underworld is a key but somewhat under-researched element in the story. Oops. I mean, I understand it in general, but I'm looking for some specific local color--personalities, names of individual gangs, specific scams, and so on.
A Dictionary of Victorian London: An A-Z of the Great Metropolis, Lee Jackson: A lot smaller than I expected, given that last year I got The Encyclopedia of Fantastic Victoriana and practically had to hire a sherpa to carry it around for me. Of course, it could be five pages long and I wouldn't care, because Lee Jackson is the mastermind behind victorianlondon.org, the alpha and omega of Victorian research on the intarwebs, and anything that supports him and/or his site is okay by me.
The Glorious Deception: The Double Life of William Robinson, aka Chung Ling Soo, the "Marvelous Chinese Conjurer," Jim Steinmeyer: I loved his Hiding the Elephant that I got last Christmas (which was, as you may remember, a Very Magician Christmas), and this is actually about the character (or the man who inspired the character, I can't remember if they use his exact name) that so fascinates Borden and Angier in The Prestige.
The Knife Thrower: and Other Stories and The Barnum Museum, Steven Millhauser: One of these collections has "Eisenheim the Illusionist" in there somewhere. Again, me with the magicians and the music halls and the sideshows.
The Midnight Disease: The Drive to Write, Writer's Block, and the Creative Brain, Alice Weaver Flaherty: Came highly recommended. I believe the disease in question is manic depression/bipolar... whatever.
The Difference Engine (Spectra Special Editions), William Gibson: I'm kind of afraid to read this one, as it's one of the great steampunk novels, and it might remind me how much I suck.
The New Annotated Sherlock Holmes: The Complete Short Stories (2 Vol. Set): I asked for this after I realized my big collection of Sherlock stories wasn't even half complete, AND this one is annotated. Also: the sherpa's got some more work to do, because it weighs about seventy-five pounds.
Grandes Horizontales: The Lives and Legends of Four Nineteenth-Century Courtesans, Virginia Rounding: In case you didn't notice, I did pick out all these books myself. Or rather, I put a long list on my Amazon wish list and let my family choose--but there's no way they would have been able to figure out what I specifically wanted, especially for research, since even I had to do a bit of looking into which books were most highly recommended on whichever topic, or which books were most specifically oriented (see: the Vienna 1888-1889 book). Furthermore, my grandmother can't really go out on her own anymore, so she chooses what she wants to give to my sister and me from what our mother's already gotten. Which I still think is sweet, because what she chooses still says something, I think. But my mother always likes to run things by me first. I really am surprised on Christmas a lot of the time, either because I really do get things I didn't ask for or because I'm so prematurely senile that I honestly forgot I'd asked in the first place, but regarding my grandmother, Mom checks first. She's mostly afraid she's going to give something to my grandmother that would be hugely offensive if she looked at it for, you know, more than three seconds. One year she gave me Laura on DVD for my birthday, which we were both really excited about--we love watching old movies together--and that was really awesome. On the other hand, she would definitely not want to give me a horror movie
Ghost Hunters: William James and the Search for Scientific Proof of Life After Death, Deborah Blum: I wanted a book about spiritualism, and I love biographies--I love the concrete details you can get from them, the specific mise-en-scène of someone's life.
Scary Stories Boxed Set, Alvin Schwartz: Yeah, the ones with the creeptastic illustrations that haunted your childhood. Frequently banned children's books FTW!
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