So finally I was like, Being busy is no excuse — if you have time to surf the internet for a few hours, you have time to read.
And so I did.
The Gies’ Life in a Medieval City was a fun and fast read, absolutely crammed with useful details and indispensable for world-building. I recommend it as a jumping-off point to anyone doing research for medieval or fantasy fiction — it has enough information in itself for people who just want a period feel and don’t require strict historical accuracy, and it also has a comprehensive bibliography for people who do.
This book focused especially on the rise of commerce and the merchant class, which is particularly relevant to my interests, since the protagonist in one of my books (the book that is Most Likely To Be Publishable, should I finish it) is the son of an urban merchant/trader, and money & politics (& magic!!) is the backbone of that plot.