August 17th, 2015

One Maryland, One Book

boys-in-the-boat

Do you find that when you discuss a book, you get so much more out of it compared to when you read it by yourself? I know that every time I talk about a book over dinner with friends or in the break room at work, I find myself surprised at how I missed something. The other person will have a great point or insight into the plot that I completely overlooked. Reading books by yourself can be great, but when you discuss as a group, there is so much more to learn! In addition to our monthly book discussions, here at the library, we have an additional opportunity coming up for you to delve deep into a book.

One Maryland One Book is an initiative of the Maryland Humanities Council designed to bring people together, across the state, to share in the experience of reading the same book. Every year, they choose a book based on a certain theme and in its eighth year, the selection is: The Boys in the Boat: Nine Americans and Their Epic Quest for Gold at the 1936 Berlin Olympics.

I cannot wait to take part in this discussion with other people from Cecil County. Each person that comes to this book discussion will bring perspective from different walks of life, so I’m sure the conversation will be rich and full of new insights for me. Six of our seven branches are offering book discussions, on different nights, with free books available on a first come, first served basis, while supplies last. You can also download the e-book using OverDrive or the e-audiobook using OneClickDigital.

Will you join the conversation?


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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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