December 14th, 2011

Audiobooks Make Everything Better

42-16471757I’m a mom and I work full-time, so I’m usually scrambling to get too much done in too little time. Always multitasking is said to be bad for the brain, but it’s how I function: folding laundry while watching TV, helping kids with homework while cooking dinner, scraping yet another mystery stain from my good work sweater while attempting to pay a few bills… you get the idea.

My latest discovery, and it’s an indulgent one, is the audiobook. Although I love reading, I rarely get time to sit down and do it. But with my iPod in tow, that long car ride or even the jog to stave off holiday poundage becomes an enjoyable excuse to slip into a great book – by listening.

Cecil County Public Library just launched an even easier way to get audiobooks, for free, from the convenience of your own home. OneClick Digital provides a great selection of downloadable audiobooks, most of which are always available (no holds necessary!) Grab your library card, create an account, and you’re set to start browsing. Will listening to an audiobook make all dreaded tasks fun? Probably not, but it certainly makes them more enjoyable. So, excuse me as I turn on my audiobook, take a deep breath, and decide which items to tackle next on my to-do list…

What’s your multitasking secret?


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August 19th, 2011

Steampunk Mania

twenty thousandDear Librarian: What in the world is a Steampunk book?

Dear Reader,
Oh, I am so glad you asked that question. I love Steampunk! Excessive amounts of coffee and Steampunk books are my two favorite guilty pleasures. According to Dictionary.com, Steampunk is “a genre of science fiction set in Victorian times when steam was the main source of machine power.” Technically, that definition is right on, but it sounds a bit too boring for me. Personally, I like this definition from Steampunk.com: “To me, Steampunk has always been first and foremost a literary genre, or at least a subgenre of science fiction and fantasy that includes social or technological aspects of the 19th century (the steam) usually with some deconstruction of, reimagining of, or rebellion against parts of it (the punk).”

Dear reader, keep in mind that there is no strict, absolute or final definition for this imaginative fiction genre, so you may find some disagreements out there. Classic Steampunk titles include Twenty Thousand Leagues Under the Sea by Jules Verne and The Time Machine by H.G. Wells. Some current popular Steampunk titles are The Map of Time by Felix Palma, Leviathan by Scott Westerfeld & Keith Thompson, Clockwork Angel (Book One of the Infernal Devices series) by Cassandra Clare and my personal favorite Soulless (Book One of the Parasol Protectorate Series) by Gail Carriger. For even more titles, try out this list of favorites from our staff, Steampunk: Gears, Goggles and Great Adventure. Cecil County Public Library carries all the titles mentioned here, plus lots more!

Steampunk has even influenced fashion, decor and movies in recent years.  To see interesting pics of Steampunk styles and read more about the trend, check out this New York Times article.

What do you think of the Steampunk movement? Are you a fan?

This article is an excerpt from a recent “People Are Asking” column, published each Tuesday in the Cecil Whig.


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