by Marion Wells p ’13, George School Library Director
Everyone seems to be reading these days. Well, at least that is the perception when you look around and see everyone looking at screens. Walk through a park, stroll through a store, navigate a busy sidewalk in a city and you will see that everyone is reading!
Do you ever wonder what everyone is reading? It used to be you could see book covers. Fewer and fewer book covers can be seen these days, so one is left to wonder. What about the jogger I saw who was actually running while holding a tablet in front of his face? What was he reading that was so compelling that he had to read it during his run?
I still subscribe to reading print books and enjoy the many conversations I have with people who are interested in what I am reading. They see the book cover and feel compelled to ask me about the book, or let me know that they have read the book. We compare criticisms of the work without spoiling the ending. The reverse is true, too, where I will chat with a perfect stranger about a book they are reading. There suddenly is no divide. We are on a friendly playing field having a good conversation about literature. The print book is somewhat of a peace offering, a cup of tea, a handshake. It can bring people together.
For those that read books digitally, how do you find your next book? Do you have a list of books that you want to read? If so, how did those titles make the list? Do you stick to the list, or do you stray, go rogue and find a book that you did not expect to read? Perhaps you are a devotee of the New York Times Book Review and follow the review paths. Or, maybe you feel obligated to read a book that someone recommends.
Have you used your local, public library recently? Public libraries have evolved over the years to become places where one finds reading materials and research resources that cover a wide range of interests. If you want quick access to eBooks, search the online catalog of your local library and much like you would do with a print book, you can checkout the digital book for a loan period that is set by the library. Within minutes, you can have your next book downloaded and ready to go. Public libraries are also community hubs where you can take advantage of a wide range of programming, which can include lectures, presentations, musical and dance performances, technology classes, literacy training, and so much more. Consider visiting the website of your local library to find out about upcoming events and be sure to search the online catalog to locate your favorite print and digital books.
Other places to find digital books is on Google Play Books where you can often find books that are in the public domain, so they are freely available or can be purchased for as low as a few dollars. Goodreads is a popular site for book lovers where you can create your own reading lists, see what other people are reading, read reviews, get tips on running a book club, and more!
The important thing is that we keep reading. In my perfect world, everyone loves to read!