I was looking back at the posts I've written over the past year, and came across one from almost exactly a year ago, written after Irene came through the area. THIS year brought Hurricane Sandy, and with her came much destruction to some areas.
For me, it meant being evacuated from the marshy area I live in (luckily, no house damage) and a loss of power for four days. In that time, I had a chance to test out my new iPhone 5 and a borrowed first-generation iPad. My i5 was really reliable in terms of connection and, ooh, the battery life! I was able to charge it in a short car drive, and then it'd last until the next day! That's a far cry from my old HTC Evo. In between checking CL&P outage maps on my iPhone and playing with my daughter (no school for 5 days!!), I was also able to get some reading done... all on the iPad.
Just before the storm, I checked out a book from the library's eBook download page - Timeline by Michael Crichton. I am a big Michael Crichton fan (Andromeda Strain is one of my all-time favorites). I charged the iPad up and kept it charged until Monday, when we lost power. From then until Thursday, the iPad retained enough of a charge for me to finish the entire book over the course of those powerless days.
Downloading ebooks and audiobooks to iPads and iPhones is really simple - browsing onscreen for books is a bit tricky, but if you know what you're looking for and find it, checking out/downloading is a breeze.
I also recently read the whole of Catherine the Great: Portrait of a Woman by Robert K. Massie on my smartphone. The reward of downloading a book the moment I think of having it is huge - it's a heady power we can enjoy at our fingertips!
I thought perhaps this long biography (625 pages!) would be too much for a phone. My plan was to start it on the phone, then find a print copy to do my 'real reading.' But ... the phone is so much lighter than the book.
I was able to turn out the lights, and read the book on my phone in bed, set for white text on a black background, and with little taps of my finger, turn the page as I read. It was so simple and so convenient, and actually really enjoyable.
Format aside, this book was SOO good. Catherine the Great was a really interesting person who led a remarkable life. How she came to power and how she led reads in this book like a well-researched, well-written soap opera.
Despite all the digital reading I'm doing lately, I still love my paper books, and just finished a 545 page historical novel about Marie Antoinette (Abundance by Sena Jeter Naslund). It's another long book (despite her short life), but it must be - it covers the time from when Marie Antoinette was preparing to marry Louis XVI, and goes right up to her unfortunate end. This book is engaging and seems as well-researched as a work of fiction can be.
The novel's voice of Marie feels real when compared with the actual letters she wrote (the letters, to her mother, are a regular feature of the novel). It could easily have been a frivolous novel, to match the lightweight charm of the subject, but takes Marie and her concerns seriously. The time in which Marie lived was amazing. The world revolted, discovered, changed, all while Marie Antoinette was growing into a woman. This fascinating story is told through her eyes, with clarity and sympathy.
However you're into getting your reading done - online or digital device or in print, go for it. The library has stepped up to give you more of what you want, when you want it.
And we librarians can help you with the downloading ebooks and audiobooks to your reading device - be it an Apple device, an Kindle, a Nook, or even your computer. We've created handouts with simple step-by-step directions for a variety of devices. They're accessible online or at the library, and we're happy to help too. You can call us with questions or if you're stuck on any of the steps. If you don't have a device of your own, we lend Kindles and Nooks that are preloaded with book titles. You can play around with it, read a book, see how you like the feel, etc. Enjoy!