July 27th, 2015

A Reluctant e-Reader

Breakfast with a tabletI love technology. If there’s a gadget, I want it. Despite that, it took me a long time to warm up to the idea of reading a book on a device. I was too attached to the idea of feeling the rustle of pages under my fingers, of flipping to the end to see what happens, of smelling that old book smell.

A few different things motivated me to make the switch. The first was George R. R. Martin’s Song of Ice and Fire series. The most recent book in the series, A Dance with Dragons, is 1,152 pages long, and it is no exaggeration to say that I had to be careful how I read that book, lest the sheer weight of it hurt my hands. At that point, I thought, reading on a tablet might just help my health! Also, reading on a device allows me to use the Fictionary, which is an e-book dictionary that keeps track of fictional characters and places. When I just can’t remember who that minor character is, I can tap the name, and the Fictionary will remind me. The Fictionary is not available for all books, but there are several options available for fantasy, science fiction, young adult, and classic novels.

One of my favorite things about reading on my tablet is its ability to customize. Want to read white text on a black screen, as I often do at night? Fine! Need a bigger font or more space between the lines? Easy! The app for OverDrive, which the library uses to provide eBooks and e-audiobooks, even includes the OpenDyslexic font, which is designed to make reading easier for people who have dyslexia. (To learn more about the OpenDyslexic font, and to see how to change your font in OverDrive, check out their blog post.)

Have you ever finished your book and realized that you can’t get another because the library is closed? With digital devices, the library is never closed. You can find a book on OverDrive or OneClickDigital and be reading again in seconds. You can also download a magazine from Zinio or an audiobook from Hoopla—no lines, no fines. I’ve found that audiobooks are not just for my commute. I listen to them while I’m weeding my garden, while I’m doing dishes, or while I’m putting away laundry. My audiobooks make mindless tasks a little less boring.

At this time of year, digital devices are perfect for vacations. I used to need a separate bag for all the books I wanted to bring for a trip. When I went on vacation with my family last month, I took a few minutes before we left to download some books onto my tablet, and then I was ready to go. I’d also downloaded a movie or two from Hoopla, in case my daughter got bored during the drive.

Don’t worry—I haven’t gone completely to the Dark Side. I still love my paper books, especially for cooking and crafts. Now that I’ve started using reading, listening, and watching on my tablet, though, I have to admit that I wish I had started all this just a little sooner. Check out what you can put on your device on our devices and downloads page, or ask at your favorite branch.


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February 2nd, 2015

An Evening with Laura Lippman

Laura Lippman - photo credit Jan CobbI was thrilled to learn that award-winning local author Laura Lippman will be stopping at the Cecil County Public Library on Friday, February 27th at 7 pm, as part of her latest book tour. Best known for her Baltimore-based mystery series featuring private investigator Tess Monaghan, Hush Hush will be the first Tess Monaghan story since 2008. But that doesn’t mean she hasn’t been writing. In 2008 the author wrote what would become her first best-selling novel, What the Dead Know. Set in and around Baltimore, she wrote of a time and a place right out of my own past and evoked such a sense of nostalgia that I was transported right back to my childhood. In her best selling novel to date, I’d Know You Anywhere, the author wrote a complex psychological thriller, one that left me with many questions. These questions and the feeling of a shared experience make me eager to meet the author and hear more about her stories and life. I won’t be missing this opportunity!

Since the last Tess Monaghan novel, both she and Laura Lippman have become mothers. It is this experience she draws on in Hush Hush. It is a story of suspense about mothers; good mothers, bad mothers, homicidal mothers. It promises to be every bit as complex and psychological as her latest book.

During “An Evening with Laura Lippman,” a fundraiser benefiting the CCPL Foundation and the Friends of the Cecil County Public Library, the author will discuss her latest book and answer questions from the audience. In addition, each ticket holder will receive a hardback copy of Hush Hush, with a book signing to follow. Tickets can be purchased at any CCPL branch or online via our website.

If you can’t get enough of murder and mayhem be sure to check out “A Day in the Life of a Forensic Scientist” at the Elkton Library on Thursday, February 5th at 7 pm and “Homicide Detective and Cases” at the Perryville Library on Thursday, February 12th at 7 pm.

Laura Lippman photo credit Jan Cobb.

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