Dog Days of Summer

How our four-legged friends amuse, instruct, and inspire us! Many dog owners have been sufficiently inspired to write books dedicated to their canine companions, and their stories appeal to dog-people and non-dog-people alike. The bond between humans and their dogs is complex and unique, the power of an animal’s ability to change lives is uplifting and hopeful – a perfect combination for summer reading.

Keeping a Reading Log

Do you keep a reading log? People who read a lot inevitably find themselves at the point where they pick up a book and wonder, “Did I already read this?” I know I do! If I had to rely on my memory, I’d be in trouble.

What are the best ways to keep track of your reading? Some write down titles in a notebook, others use index cards. The trouble with those is that it can be cumbersome carrying a big notebook or box or cards around the library or bookstore. That’s why I prefer a digital log.

There are several good ones to try. The following are available as mobile apps as well as desktop sites. That way you can always have your reading log with you!

GoodReads [mobile apps available for Apple & Android devices]. This is the one everyone knows. A free “social cataloging” site where you can search people’s shelves, participate in book discussions, etc.

LibraryThing [mobile app available for Apple devices]. LibraryThing is a little more serious than GoodReads. The social aspect takes a back seat to your bookshelves. Free for up to 200 books, then there is a fee.

aNobii [mobile apps available for Apple & Android devices]. A community for readers allowing you to catalog your books, share reviews, and connect with other book lovers.

Libib [mobile apps available for Apple & Android devices].  A free cloud service that will let you store up to 100,000 titles for free. If you have more than 100,000 books in your home library, better get the paid version.

You can also keep an automatic log of the books you check out from Cheshire Library. Sign in to your account from our website, then select Reading History, then “Save Reading History” from the options in your account. You can sort the list by title or author, even export or print it out.

My BEA Wishlist – New Books I Can’t Wait to Read

I recently attended Book Expo America, an annual conference for booksellers, librarians, and others in the book industry. Held in New York City at a giant convention center, it’s a book lovers’ wonderland of authors and publishers showcasing their upcoming books. For someone like myself who rates authors right up their with rock stars, it’s an intense couple of days of fangirling and serious listmaking of new books that I simple MUST READ! Some of these just came out recently, some are due out later in the year, all look awesome. Let me spread the wealth by sharing a few so you can put them on your list:

Children’s Books:

YA Books:

Adult Books:

Many of these books are listed in our catalog and can be placed on hold right away, some of them are too new to be in our catalog yet, but will be soon!

Audiobooks for a Family Roadtrip

Audiobooks can be a great way to pass the miles on a road trip, but finding something that everyone can enjoy together can be challenging. Too complex and you’ll lose the younger listeners, too childish and older listeners will quickly tune out. Here’s my attempt at finding that happy medium that everyone can get something out of. Some are on CD, some are downloadable, many are both. Start your engines!

A Series Of Unfortunate Events by Lemony Snicket, read by Tim Curry.  Holy Cow, are these books entertaining. While ostensibly written for children, I devoured them as an adult. Tim Curry’s narration will keep everyone rapt for miles. And there are 13 books in the series!

The Harry Potter series by J.K. Rowling, read by Jim Dale. Some of these might be too lengthy for the very youngest listeners, but school-age and up will be swiftly caught up in the adventures of Harry and friends. Jim Dale’s award-winning narration is amazing.

The Spiderwick Chronicles by Tony DiTerlizzi and Holly Black, read by Mark Hamill. Yes, that Mark Hamill. Turns out he’s an excellent narrator in addition as well as the greatest Jedi the galaxy has ever known. The series tells the story of the Grace children, who move into the dilapidated Spiderwick Estate with their mother, only to find it full of faerie problems.

How to Train Your Dragon series by Cressida Cowell, read by David Tennant. Another narrator that parents will know more than kids, Tennant’s narration of this fictional Viking world and the experiences of Hiccup Horrendous Haddock III on his journey to Becoming a Hero the Hard Way will entertain one and all.

For a slightly older crowd (middle school & up):

The Hobbit and The Lord of the Rings, BBC Radio plays, from the books by J.R.R. Tolkien, performed by a full cast. Bilbo, Frodo, and friends keep the action going for 13+ hours, and the full cast keeps things lively.

Hatchet and Brian’s Return by Gary Paulsen, read by Peter Coyote. This wilderness survival story about a 13-year-old boy who’s the sole survivor of a plane crash in the wilds of Canada is a longtime favorite with boys and reluctant readers. A fast moving story with plenty of drama.

The Hitchhiker’s Guide to the Galaxy by Douglas Adams, read by Stephen Fry. A perfect marriage of material and narrator. Arthur Dent is plucked off the planet by his friend Ford Prefect, a researcher for the revised edition of “The Hitchhiker’s Guide to the Galaxy” who, for the last fifteen years, has been posing as an out-of-work actor. Hilarity ensues.

Ready Player One by Ernest Cline, read by Wil Wheaton. Futuristic gaming, 80’s nostalgia, and codes to crack – there is something to appeal to a broad age range here and a terrific fast-paced story to boot.

 

What are some audiobooks you’ve enjoyed as a family? Let us know in the comments!

Vacation Reading

I don’t know about you, but I like to read on vacation. Considering I work in a library, it’s probably not surprising that I like to bring a book with me wherever I go, but vacation reading is special. Laying about, maybe on a beach or by a pool, with nothing on my schedule but relaxing with a book is my idea of a perfect vacation.

 

One wrinkle in this perfect plan, though,  is getting the books from here to there. How many to pack? (don’t want to run out…) How much book-space is in the suitcase? Are these books going to put me over the baggage weight limit?

 

This is where eBooks become the vacationing bibliophile’s best friend. You can bring 10 (or 20, or 30!) books with you in less space than 1 book would take in your luggage.  Rapture!

As I write this I am preparing to head out on a vacation myself, and believe me, I have loaded my ereader with plenty of reading material for my trip, downloaded for FREE from the library.  I use an e-ink reader (the kind with a monochrome screen, like Nook GlowLight and Kindle Paperwhite), so OverDrive is my go-to for downloading eBooks from the library.  I can borrow up to 10 titles at once, and keep them on my ereader for up to 21 days, after which they will return themselves. No worries about overdue books on my vacation.

If you prefer to read on a tablet (color screen, like an iPad), there are even more options for downloading eBooks. You can use the OverDrive App for iPad & Android to download & read eBooks. You can also use the hoopla app to download 5 books a month for up to 21 days, and they’ll return themselves at the end of the lending period. Super simple, and best of all free, with a Cheshire Library card.

I’ll be by the pool…