Getting the Story Straight

Photo of Marlene Samuels

Marlene Samuels

Remember library research? We did it all the time when we were kids. Then the web came along and we got hooked on instant access. Trouble is, there’s a lot of bad, biased, and unsubstantiated info online, so we’ve got to be vigilant in our search for credible sources. And sometimes, to get the facts that we need to tell our stories with accurate and compelling details, we need to go offline.

That’s the argument my friend Marlene Samuels makes in her new book, When Digital Isn’t Real: Fact Finding Offline for Serious Writers, a guide to almost one hundred essential resources—real books that you may find at your public library to research personal memoir, family history, murder mystery, geography, places, culture, and lots more.

As a sociologist, memoirist, and teacher of memoir writing, Marlene draws from her years of experience with research and fact finding to highlight reference books that she has used and relied on, books that contain information not available online. She brings humor and expertise to the writing and sprinkles the book with proverbs and pithy quotes.

Photo of book cover, When Digital Isn't Real, by Marlene Samuels.As I read When Digital Isn’t Real, I marked all the books that I want to explore. Then I went to my library’s website and found them in the online catalog. Then I started exploring topics and made a list of additional books to look at for a particular research project. Next up on my to do list: a trip to my local library, with my list of books and my copy of When Digital Isn’t Real in hand. Marlene’s book has helped to kick-start my research!