06 July 2018

The Digital Library

I have a wonderful local library, the McCracken County Public Library.  If you live anywhere around Paducah, KY and you don't have a library card at Mclib..... well you are missing out and, if eligible, you should remedy that IMMEDIATELY.  Here is a link on who is eligible for a McCracken County Public Library card (note that a non-resident card is available.  I will talk about these cards in the following paragraphs)

Today I am going to cover digital reads.  Digital services may cover ebooks/audiobooks/magazines/comics/music titles and others, but I read a lot of digital books so I am mainly referencing ebooks. The McCracken County Public Library uses Overdrive and Hoopla for ebooks and those will be the services I am primarily referencing, but please notice that those aren't the only digital services offered by my local library.

OVERDRIVE is a wonderful service that allows you to use your library card to check out digital reads and audiobooks.  I am most familiar with Overdrive that if you need some help, inbox me and I will try to help you.  I have been using this service since my library introduced it and will continue.  This is my favorite service that my library offers.  Basically, you search for titles you like and check them out, quite like your physical library.   If the books are not available you can put the book on hold and adjust your settings so that when the book is available, it will be automatically checked out to your card.  With Overdrive you can check out (if available) either an epub or Kindle book. I am primarily a Kindle reader so I adjusted my settings to only show me the Kindle books, but I can still check out for either.  There are two apps you can use Libby and Overdrive. I believe (strictly my thinking) that the Overdrive app will be phased out, so I have tried to use Libby more, but I do prefer the Overdrive app. With the apps you can read/listen to your books or you can download to use on the Kindle or bookshelf that Overdrive gives you.  The best part about Overdrive is there are NO LATE FEES.  Once the book expires it disappears from your bookshelf/device so you have no need to worry about it.  Here is the link to our main Overdrive/kyunbound page.  Look it over and then refer to my first paragraph about getting a McLib library card.

HOOPLA is new to my local library.... I had used it with my non-resident card (more on this below), but once my library got it I ditched the non-resident Hoopla and started using my local library's.   Hoopla is so cool!  You can check out books/music/movies/audiobooks/movies/comics and there is NO waiting!!!  I mainly use the ebooks/audiobooks features so again, I will be referencing those.  You cannot read the books on a Kindle device, but if you have a tablet or a smartphone, you can read the books there in the Hoopla app (you can also read them on a computer). You get 6 checkouts a month at McLib, and the shortest check out time I have had is 7 days.  The selection is outstanding and the ease to download an item is incredible. As with Overdrive, you will have no late fees, when your turn expires the title will disappear from your Hoopla box. Here is a link to my local library Hoopla home page so you can see what it is about.

Non-Resident cards------ A non-resident card is one that you obtain when you don't live in the area that the library serves.  If you don't have a local library, this service may be EXACTLY what you need. If you have a grand library or don't read a ton of books in addition to your library limits, this may not be a service may not interest you so skip ahead.  ***Don't forget that my local library offers a non-resident card***

 My McLib library card can have 10 holds and 12 checkouts.  The checkouts are not a problem for me because I read my book and go (to Amazon>content/devices) to return it, but the holds are an issue for me.  Often a new book comes out and I can't put it on hold because I am capped at my holds.  I had to do something about it so I searched for non-resident library cards.  The internet was a wealth of knowledge on libraries that offered this service for a fee and didn't require me to go to the library.

I searched for some titles that I wanted to read and found a library that had some of my "to be read" books in their catalog.  I chose The Free Library of Philadelphia because we seemed to be a perfect match.  There is a yearly fee involved but I have saved more than double what I would have spent to purchase the books I have checked out from the catalog.  I use one or both of my library cards every day.   As I said earlier, if you have a good local library and don't read much, this service may not be for you, but if you have no local library or need more limits...check this out.  My tip is to look for a digital services card where you do NOT have to show up at a local branch to activate the card.  I have found one library in my home state that offers a card for free to Kentucky residents, so you may be eligible for a free one and not know it; do a little research on the libraries in your state.

My reading habits, for those that are curious......I read 3 or so books a week, sometimes more.  I play an audiobook every day at work.  I only check out 1 or 2 titles at a time on each card, but I am almost capped at holds on both cards (I save a spot on each card for new releases or newly purchased titles at that library). On my shelves you will find mostly historical fiction, biographies and American history books.  I will read just about anything by Susan Meissner, Jennifer Robson, Beatriz Williams, John McCain, Ron Chernow, Bill O'Reilly, Gill Paul, Jamie Ford, Harper Lin and John Grisham.

For friends that have the McCracken County Public Library card:  Here is a helpful guide on all the digital services (Overdrive/Hoopla/Freegal/Flipster that McLib offers to us.  You can learn how to get each app and get some help if needed.  

03 July 2018

Michelle's Book Choices

I am an avid reader of many a great books and folks are always asking, "What do you recommend that I read?"  Well, I decided to try and get back into this little blog thingy by posting the books that I am currently passionate about.

I try to read brand new books along with classic books and I have some rules that I hold myself to when reading.

1.  If it doesn't grab my attention in the first hour or so, ditch it.  There are too many good books out there to waste on something that is mediocre or difficult to read.
2.  Reading Challenges are fun and I try to participate, but if a category is something I hate or don't care to read, I will ditch the challenge and make my own.  I find Goodreads Reading Challenge is a better way to go for me because I can say, "I want to read ___ books" and be done with it instead of trying to find a book to fit into a category so obscure that it makes me nuts.
3.  Put up my phone!  I don't sit it anywhere where I am reading. I have wasted entirely too much time answering an email, checking facebook or looking up a city on Google that I had lost too MUCH reading time, so I put that stupid thing away.
4.  I always have a book on me.  I read in lines at the store, waiting in traffic, while waiting on a friend....etc.  My Kindle goes where ever I go.  My rule is the purse MUST be big enough for the Kindle or I don't carry it.
5.  I always know when my favorite authors have a book coming out and pre-purchase those books.  It gives me something to look forward to and makes sure the authors have at least one book sold.
6.  I utilize my library every single day!!!  I have 3 library cards, my local library, another KY library and I pay for a non resident card to a library out of state (I will try to do a post on this later).  I have close to the maximum amount of books on hold on each card.  I primarily read via Overdrive so I loaded all my cards on there and click back and forth looking for books at each one.  It is very easy on Overdrive to go back and forth between the libraries and I can read just about everything that I want to read. If you don't know Overdrive I would LOVE to talk about it.
7.  I am not afraid to listen to an audiobook in the car or at work, that counts.
8.  I never forget the classics.  I go back to them whenever I can. I can't count how many times I have read "The Great Gatsby", but I can tell you I have read "Gone with the Wind" 41 times.  As a teen it was one of the only books I owned so I read over and over and over.
9.  I keep a journal.  I started in 1996 on paper and still keep it that way, but I also keep an excel spread sheet that calculates how many books I have read, were they paper, audio or ebook and other stats.  My reading journal just logs the author, dates read, whether I liked it and a few lines for notes (I may share this at some point too).
10.  Read around 100 pages every day. It is easier than I thought it would be when I started.

Now as I type this July has started....the year is half over. I have read 40 books of varying types....here are my favorites of the first 6 months of 2018.

1.  The Great Alone-Kristin Hannah.....WOW!!!
2.  As Bright As Heaven-Susan Meissner ......She is one of my faves!!
3.  My Dear Hamilton-Stephanie Dray and Laura Kamoie....just as good as America's First Daughter
4.  Margot-Jullian Cantor
5.  The President is Missing-Bill Clinton and James Patterson
6.  Magnolia Table-Joanna Gaines
7.  The Day the World Came to Town 9/11 Gander-James DeFede
8.  City of Myths -Martin Turnbull...this is a series that I highly recommend for old movie buffs
9.  Failing Up-Leslie Odom Jr and This Is Me-Chrissy Metz
10.  Island of Sweet Pies and Soldiers-Sara Ackerman