Books of choice

Books on my desk at work.

One of my friends, Kenny, always teases me that no matter where I go my desk always looks the same; in other words, it is always laid out the same way. And he’s right, but there’s a good reason for that: it works for me.

One of the parts of that system-that-works-for-me is a small collection of reference books that I always have to hand. At home they are on a shelf next to me, at work they are on my enormous desk.

At the moment these are my reference books of choice:

  • TerminalFour SiteManager userguides (TerminalFour)
  • Web design style guide (Me!)
  • Cascading Style Sheets: The Definitive Guide, Meyer (O’Reilly)
  • HTML & XHTML: The Definitive Guide, Musciano & Kennedy (O’Reilly)
  • JavaScript: The Definitive Guide, Flannagan (O’Reilly)
  • PPK on JavaScript, Koch (New Riders)
  • Pro JavaScript Techniques, Resig (Apress)
  • Practical Thinking, Edward de Bono (University library book)
  • Celebrating Common Prayer, Society of St Francis
  • CSS Pocket Reference, Meyer (O’Reilly)
  • HTML & XHTML Pocket Reference, Niederst Robbins (O’Reilly)
  • JavaScript Pocket Reference, Flanagan (O’Reilly)
  • PHP Pocket Reference, Lerdorf (O’Reilly)
  • SQL Pocket Guide, Gennick (O’Reilly)

At the moment the least used of these are the SQL and PHP Pocket Reference guides, and the most used are the Definitive Guides for XHTML and CSS, and since I’m debugging code for a website launch Celebrating Common Prayer is also getting a look in once or twice!

My close-at-hand collection of books at home is completely different:

A shelf of books at home.

Mostly Scottish Episcopal Church books — Code of Canons, liturgy, and the Red Book (contacts) — a bible (NRSV) and Revised Common Lectionary, an English dictionary and thesaurus, a copy of Getting Things Done and two copies of the Visual Quickstart Guide for WordPress 2.

So now you know! What are your close-at-hand books of choice?

Published by

Gareth Saunders

I’m Gareth J M Saunders, 52 years old, 6′ 4″, father of 3 boys (including twins). Enneagram type FOUR and introvert (INFP), I am a non-stipendiary priest in the Scottish Episcopal Church, I sing with the NYCGB alumni choir, play guitar, play mahjong, write, draw and laugh… Scrum master at Safeguard Global; latterly at Sky and Vision/Cegedim. Former web architect and agile project manager at the University of St Andrews and previously warden at Agnes Blackadder Hall.

12 thoughts on “Books of choice”

  1. On the book case by my computer, there are different technical volumes for computer software, the Daily Office SSF, an NRSV, the Message Bible and most hymn-books known to the Church of England and Scottish Episcopal Church!

    Crockfords, a dictionary and a thesauraus are shared and live in a different room!

  2. I also have a selection of books which are always in the same place on my desk…unfortunately they are:
    The Oxford Handbook of Clinical Medicine
    The Oxford Handbook of Clinical Specialties
    The Oxford Handbook of Clinical Oncology
    The Oxford Guide to the Foundation Programme
    McLeod’s Pocket Clinical Examination
    and The Oxford Medical Dictionary.

    Sorry. Dull. I have only just noticed that Oxford has managed to take nearly all of my money, what a bummer!

    On my next-to-bed bookcase are more interesting books:
    The Bible
    ‘The Last Straw and other stories’ by Helen Parker (!!!)
    ‘The Time-Traveller’s Wife’ by Audrey Niffenegger
    ‘The English Patient’ by Michael Ondaantje
    and just added after I went to the book launch this evening:
    ‘The Dawkins Letters’ by David Robertson.

    Better, and non-medical which is always nice!

  3. Well, you did ask…

    A pile of phone books, Yellow Pages etc (a good bookend)
    A Code of Canons
    Roget’s Thesaurus
    A large spiral bound map of Edinburgh and East Central Scotland
    The Church of Scotland Year Book 2001 (if anyone would like to pass on a more up to date version I’d be delighted)
    New patterns for Worship
    Saints on Earth
    Complete Anglican Hymns Old and New
    Exciting Holiness
    Common Worship Times and Seasons
    The Common Worship Lectionary
    Crockfords Clerical Directory 2006/07
    The Red Book
    Alternative Collects and Post Communion Prayers
    Calendar and Lectionary of the SEC
    Scottish Liturgy 1982 with Propers and RCL
    Affirmation of Holy Baptism 2006
    Marriage Liturgy 2006
    Diocese of Edinburgh Prayer Cycle
    SEC Calendar and Lectionary Guide 2006/07
    Opening Prayers : Collects in Contemporary Language
    Scottish Episcopal Clergy 1689-2000 by Bertie (a wonderful book and bookend)

    All sitting on top of the fire next to my desk with my digital radio atop the phone directories and my scanner at the other end. And above them all the most wonderful framed poster of the Duomo di Siena.

    As for the 2 desks… well they could probably do with a little bit of a tidy.

  4. Aha, I have a Java based book on my desk too, Objects First with Java, using BlueJ

    Also a book called A Hard Days Write – a Beatles book about the origins of their songs. Aside from that there’s only my 24 DVD 5 season boxset and loads of free space.

  5. Seeing a copy of GTD by David Allan on your shelf, have you had a look at/opinion of the Thinking Rock software? Or perhaps it would not fit into your combination of Outlook and Psion software?

    Did your idea for a feature in your favourite software surface yet?


  6. In response to “Scottish Roundup” I tend to use electronic bible resources more than a physical bible book, as I find it quicker to look up; besides copy and paste is quicker than copy, remember and type.

    My favourites are e-Sword and Nelson’s Ultimate Bible Reference, which is a Libronix product and has the NRSV, which e-Sword lacks.

    I also use the PDF version of the Revised Common Lectionary (which gives the readings for every Sunday and major festivals).

  7. On/by my desk:
    Brock Biology of Microorganisms
    Pocket Medical Terminology
    Cellular and Molecular Immunology
    Mims Pathogenesis of Infectious Diseases
    Metal Hammer (for revision breaks!)

    By my bed:
    The Faber Book of Landscape Poetry
    Monsterous Regiment by Terry Pratchett
    House of Bush, House of Saud by Craig Unger (banned by apparently!)
    The Curious Incident of the WMD in Iraq by Rohan Candappa
    The Story of God by Robert Winston
    Frank Miller’s Sin City: Booze, Broads and Bullets

  8. oh dear.

    I have no books on my desk (I currently have no fixed abode at work). My desk at home is also no longer.

    However, my bag (as a good metrosexual, I have a bag with me most of the time, even when walking the dogs, but that’s only to pick up…anyway) features a v handy edition of the New American Standard Version that my Dad passed to me. I enjoy reading ink on paper, don’t hold that against me. My Diary and My Journal also make a regular feature in said bag.

    Books that make their way from my bedside table to my bag are:

    Secrets of the Secret Place, by Bob Sorge
    As used on the famous Nelson Mandela, by Mark Thomas
    The New Mystics, by John Crowder
    The Pursuit of God, by AW Tozer
    The Cloud of Unknowing, unknown author
    You’ve already got it, by Andrew Womack

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