Before I get to this question, I should clarify one thing: unless I specify otherwise, when I post here for research help, I’m not asking people just to provide me with relevant-looking titles. That would be lazy of me in the extreme, since I’m usually capable of finding relevant-looking titles on my own, and I don’t want to be lazy. What I can’t do on my own is tell which ones are worth my time. So — not to thumb my nose at recommendations in general, because I do appreciate them, but what I’m really looking for are books you’ve read, or know someone who’s read, or otherwise have heard good things about. Some way to cull the list of all possible sources down to a smaller list of pre-vetted works. (And — the flip side — please do tell me if you know of any utter crap I should stay far, far away from.)
With that in mind: alchemy.
I really want to be able to use alchemy in fiction. I do not yet understand it well enough to do so. I need, not just old-school sources deliberately written to be as obscure as possible so that they won’t share your secrets with the uninitiated, but more modern secondary works that can help me unlock those old-school things, since otherwise I tend to skip off the top of them. But there’s a lot of vaporous New Age crap about alchemy out there, so if you know of any worthwhile books in a more scholarly/historical vein, please pass along titles. I’m already planning on giving Eliade a shot, and I’ve gamed Amazon into making a lot of recommendations, but it’s hard to separate the wheat from the chaff.